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The campaign ends and the waiting begins in the 24th Congressional District race

By By PAT BAILEY and JOLEEN FERRIS

DECISION 2010 (WKTV) - You need only to have watched television once or twice in the past few weeks to know just how high the stakes are in the race for the 24th Congressional District. Political adds dominated the airwaves.

Candidates and political parties spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in hopes of securing that 24th district congressional seat. Tonight, the campaign is over and the waiting begins.

The candidates are now powerless to affect the outcome of the race. There's no more knocking on doors, no debates and no more forums.

Democrat incumbent Congressman Michael Arcuri is asking local voters to send him back to Washington for a third term. Arcuri cast his vote at Jones Elementary School in south Utica.

Arcuri is no stranger to elections, he campaigned as Oneida County District Attorney before he was elected to Congress but election day is still a bit unnerving for this candidate, but he says on Election Day, you achieve a certain peace.

"You get this certain sort of peace on election day where you know it's over, you hope that you did everything that you could do and i feel we've done everything we could do," Arcuri said.

To make matters worse, the winner in this race might very well not be known at the end of the night. In 2008, Arcuri only beat Republican challenger Richard Hanna by roughly 2,500 votes.

There are about 12,700 absentee ballots out yet to be counted, so if the margin of victory is smaller than that, it could be weeks before the winner is known..

Absentee ballots had to be postmarked by Monday, but the boards of election are giving them until the 24th of the month to arrive.

Richard Hanna told NEWSChannel 2 after he voted, he was caught a bit off guard in 2008, when he first ran against Arcuri.

However, Hanna says he has learned from that experience and he thinks this time around things will be different. The challenger says he sees the news and knows there is a real opportunity for voters to change things in America and he wants to be a part of that change.

However he says he can only focus on the 24th district, and that is exactly what he has done this whole campaign, "I haven't spent 10 minutes thinking about whether or not the Republican party will get the majority back to tell you the truth," Hanna said. "I have thought about this race, this community, the people that are backing me and my own message and how to deliver it more thoughtfully every time I do."

Hanna said this he is not overly nervous about this election but joked he probably should be. He did however say he is feeling very confident that his message will resonate with voters when they fill out the ballots.

Hanna said last week if he loses this election he probably will not run again in two years. However, he is hoping to not have to make that decision after Election Day.

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