BUFFALO, NY - The absentee ballot count continues in the 27th district Congressional race, which was hotly contested between republican incumbent Chris Collins and democrat Nate McMurray.

New totals as of Thursday afternoon show McMurray continuing to creep closer to Collins, with more votes to be counted. (The latest totals appear at the end of this story).

Inching Closer

When the smoke cleared after election night, Collins was ahead by almost 3,000 votes.

However, McMurray retracted what appeared to most as a concession speech on election night after learning how close the unofficial vote was.

He also insisted there were 18,000 outstanding votes, including absentee and affidavit ballots to be counted.

The affidavit ballots, which are given to voters when there is a discrepancy at the ballot box and reviewed later to see if they will be allowed, were secured on Election Day.

Tuesday was the last day for absentee ballots to arrive back in time for them to be included in the vote count.

On Wednesday we reached out to each of the boards of election in the eight counties which are either wholly or partially within the 27th.

From those conversations, it appeared the number of votes to be counted after election night was closer to 14,400.

The Latest Numbers

As of 4pm Thursday, slightly more than 5,000 - or about 35% of the votes outstanding had been counted.

From those, McMurray got 612 more votes more than Collins did, but still trails by about 2,400.

All Eyes on Erie County

Meanwhile the biggest prize at stake has yet to be claimed, and won't be until next week.

The Erie County Board of Elections is in possession of approximately 5,400 absentee and 1,400 affidavit ballots, which according to republican elections commissioner Ralph Mohr will be counted on Tuesday November 20, by which time any military, overseas, and foreign ballots must also be received.

The total of outstanding votes in Erie County represents nearly half the number of the absentee/affidavit votes filed in the entire 27th district.

McMurray unofficially won Erie County by 5,000 votes over Collins.

As the outcome of absentee votes generally mirrors those registered at voting machines on Election Day, McMurray may gain on Collins there as well.

It can also be stated, however, that McMurray has bucked that trend, by winning the absentee count in some of the counties he lost to Collins.

Despite that, McMurray is now in a position where he still needs to get roughly two-thirds of the remaining ballots, in order to change the unofficial outcome of the election.

Here are the outcomes of the outstanding vote count including absentee and affidavit votes as of 4pm Thursday. This excludes military, overseas, and foreign ballots which can be received up until November 19.

Monroe County: McMurray 147 - Collins 101

Ontario County: McMurray 1,050 – Collins 707

Wyoming County: Collins 339 - McMurray 288.

Genesee County: McMurray 556 – Collins 485

Niagara County: McMurray 1,456 – Collins 1,253

Orleans County: 561 absentee and 85 affidavit ballots. Counting began at 8am Thursday. Absentee count completed, but numbers won't be available, according to elections officials, until Friday.

Livingston County: 71 absentee and 136 affidavit ballots. To be counted on Monday, November 19.

Erie County: Approximately 5,400 absentee and approximately 1,400 affidavit ballots. To be counted on Tuesday, November 20.