Bernard A. Tolbert called Sheriff Timothy B. Howard today to congratulate him on his "apparent win" but Tolbert did not concede the election between the two.
"I placed a call to Sheriff Howard earlier this morning to congratulate him on his apparent win and also to tell him that, given the extraordinary closeness of the race, I believe it is prudent and sensible to await the official vote certification by the Erie County Board of Elections, which includes the tally of all absentee ballots," Tolbert said in a release.
Roughly 3,850 votes seprate the two but there are still about 12,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted.
"Not only was it a close race, it was a tough, hard fought contest," Tolbert said. "Strong words were used and sharp elbows thrown on both sides. However, it is now time to put all of that behind us and work together for our community."
Earlier in the day, Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner said he talked with representatives of the Tolbert campaign early Wednesday morning and that an official concession never occurred on Election Night because of the late hour and “confusion” surrounding an extremely close contest, along with the possibility that counting absentee ballots might make a difference.
“The campaign called, and he’s planning to concede some time this morning,” Zellner said. “There’s just not enough there with the absentees to make a difference.”
Howard already claimed victory early Wednesday morning after race results see-sawed back and forth throughout the Tuesday night count.