Too Close to Call in the Race for Erie County Clerk

November 9, 2011 Updated Nov 9, 2011 at 6:21 PM EDT

By WKBW News
By By Jaclyn Asztalos

November 9, 2011 Updated Nov 9, 2011 at 6:21 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - It could be a couple of hours to a couple of weeks to get all the absentee and military ballots counted, determining a winner in the Erie County Clerk race.

This has been a heated campaign between Buffalo Board of Education member Republican Chris Jacobs and Erie County Legislator Democrat Maria Whyte. Currently, Jacobs leads with 51 percent of the votes over Whytes 49 percent.

The race has also had its share of mudslinging. Whyte criticized Jacobs for his actions on the school board and for not mentioning his tenure on the board in his campaign ads for County Clerk. Her campaign also said that the non-profit scholarship organization, started by Jacobs, violates IRS regulations.

Jacobs campaign fired back, forcing Whyte to return donations from a labor union whose members got into legal trouble back in 2008.

Now, both candidates said the bottom line is the number of votes they received. At this time, it's simply awaiting game.

"From the numbers I have seen it's too close to call. We're not prepared to declare Chris Jacobs the leader quite yet but we're very optimistic that his lead will hold," Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy.

Candidate Whyte agrees.

"Naturally, I wish things would be more determined but I feel very proud about the campaign I ran and am very pleased with how hard I worked and with the message I brought to voters," Whyte said.

The county clerks position has been vacant since Kathy Hochul left the seat when she was elected to congress earlier this year. Stay tuned to Eyewitness News as we continue to follow this race.