The official winner of New York’s 25th congressional district is still unknown but incumbent Democrat Louise Slaughter leads Republican challenger Mark Assini by 651 votes and has declared victory. Slaughter, a microbiologist who gives great weight to food safety issues and is an avid defender of medically important antibiotics, has served in the House of Representatives since 1987. Assini, unknown at the national level until now, has been the Town Supervisor for Gates, NY, since 2010. As of Wednesday evening, Slaughter had 95,289 votes and Assini 94,638. The results of the race have come as a surprise. Slaughter’s closest victory came back in 1986, WXXI News reports, when she won by 3,375 votes. Since then she has won by much higher margins. The race for the 114th Congress is still so tight that the official outcome will come down to the estimated 1,200 to 1,300 absentee ballots left to be counted on Wednesday, Nov. 12. Tuesday night’s initial ballot count put Slaughter ahead by 582. She declared victory about midnight Wednesday morning but Assini refused to concede the race. After the first set of absentee ballots was counted early Wednesday morning, Slaughter’s margin was bumped up to 605. With the updated numbers released Wednesday evening, Slaughter issued a statement again asserting her victory:

This is a win in what was a very tough environment for Democrats. It’s gratifying to be re-elected for another term so that I can continue fighting for the community I love and am honored to represent. Like I said during this campaign, Washington might not be working, but I sure am, and I’m glad to continue that work.

Assini insisted he was not conceding yet and called Slaughter’s announcement “unfair to voters.” According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the ballots tallied on Wednesday afternoon included those that had been impounded by a court order in the 55th state Senate District race where Republican Rich Funke unseated Democrat Ted O’Brien. The newspaper reports that the last batch of ballots to be counted next week will include absentee ballots that voters requested after the official voter rolls were printed for polling places, absentee ballots postmarked on time and accepted through Tuesday and affidavit ballots.