Matthew A. Doheny has won the Republican primary in the 23rd Congressional District.
Mr. Doheny, Watertown, has a 743-vote lead over Douglas L. Hoffman, Saranac Lake, with just 394 absentee ballots left to be counted.
"Obviously, we're very, very pleased with the count so far," said Alison M. Power, Mr. Doheny's spokeswoman. "But we want to wait until every vote has been counted before we get too excited."
Mr. Doheny won the absentee ballots in St. Lawrence County 176-100, in Lewis County 43-31 and in Jefferson County 192-134. Mr. Hoffman won the absentee ballots in Essex County 66-46. The results are uncertified.
Clinton, Franklin and Oneida counties did not have results available on Wednesday. Mr. Doheny leads 16,169 to 15,426.
Officials must send in certified results today to the state Board of Elections.
Mr. Doheny will challenge Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, on the Republican and Independence Party lines Nov. 2. Mr. Hoffman has said he will continue to run on the Conservative Party line, but his spokesman did not return a call for comment Wednesday.
Assemblyman William A. Barclay, R-Pulaski, has called on Mr. Hoffman to drop his candidacy and support the Republican candidate.
"Now that it is incontestable that Republican voters have given their nomination for Congress to Matt Doheny, it is time for Doug Hoffman and his supporters to rally behind Doheny to help defeat liberal Democrat Bill Owens in November," Mr. Barclay said in a Wednesday night release.
"And it is not enough to just say that we support Matt," Mr. Barclay said, "we need to actively campaign for his election."
On Tuesday, Mr. Doheny extended leads in Hamilton, Madison and Oswego counties, winning absentee votes by six, four and nine, respectively. He countered an election night trend in Fulton County by outpolling Mr. Hoffman by 16 absentee votes, where Mr. Hoffman had won the county by 34 votes Sept. 14.
Mr. Doheny had even stronger showings in absentee ballots so far than he did on Primary Day results. He has received 55 percent of the absentee ballots, compared with 51 percent on primary day.