The vote tally released late Friday from Placer County "mathematically ensures McClintock victory" in the 4th District, the campaign of Republican congressional candidate Tom McClintock said Friday.
But supporters of Democrat Charlie Brown point to thousands of ballots that remain to be counted districtwide and said their fight is "far from over."
"The final Placer County tally gives McClintock a lead of 1,793 votes (districtwide) over Charlie Brown," McClintock campaigners said. "There is no mathematical way Charlie Brown can overtake McClintock's lead in the 4th Congressional District election."
In an e-mail sent to his supporters, McClintock cited 4,100 ballots districtwide that remain to be counted " all from counties where he is leading. He considered it unlikely Brown could get enough votes from that pool to overcome McClintock's lead, but added those tallies are expected "early next week."
"I expect to be making a formal statement then. For now, I think we can safely say that the fat lady is singing " and she's singing our song," McClintock wrote.
More than 40,000 mail, provisional and other ballots districtwide prevented a rapid declaration after election day in the extremely tight race " one of the few across the country so hotly contested.
In Nevada County, Brown remained well ahead of McClintock " 31,072 to 22,797 " as the tedious process of counting continued Friday.
Districtwide, McClintock is leading with 183,489 votes, or 50.3 percent, to Brown's 181,696, or 49.7 percent.
The difference is almost slim enough to trigger a state-mandated recount. Ten percent of ballots will be recounted with a difference of .5 percent.
Brown supporters cited nearly 10,000 under votes districtwide " ballots in which the optical scanner couldn't discern a voter intention " that remain to be counted.
Brown also is leading in the count of provisional ballots, including in populous El Dorado County, spokesman Todd Stenhouse said.
"Those are breaking for Charlie throughout the district," he said.
Brown is not conceding the election, Stenhouse added.
"Our commitment was to ensure a fair and thorough process that counts every fair and legal vote," Stenhouse said. "This race is very much far from over."
Trip to Washington
With the outcome still in doubt before the Dec. 2 deadline to finish the count, both candidates went to Washington, D.C. this week for freshman orientation in the House of Representatives.
It was "a little unusual but not unprecedented" for two candidates in an undecided race to attend the orientation, McClintock spokesman Bill George said.
"Everyone's anxious to get this process wrapped up and concluded and move on to the transition phase," George said.
"I hope it's resolved as soon as possible," Stenhouse echoed.
Nevada County elections workers said the count is going smoothly.
"We're getting real close," assistant clerk recorder Gail Smith said. "We have real high hopes of having it done before Dec. 2."