UTICA — After the first count, Dennis Bova Jr. leads Frederick Nichols by 24 votes in the race for who will be on the Republican line in the general election for the 119th Assembly District.

The small margin makes the race too close to call — the Oneida County Board of Elections still has to count absentee ballots.

Then, after the absentee ballots are tallied, the county has to be recanvassed, which can’t start until Thursday, per election law. The same will happen throughout the state.

Republican Commissioner Rose Marie Grimaldi said the commissioners likely will recanvass that race first and they’ll do it themselves.

“It could take a whole day, could take a half of a day, you take your time at it,” she said.

The 119th Assembly District, which currently is represented by Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, includes Utica and Rome, and the towns of Floyd, Frankfort, Marcy and Whitestown.

Bova and Nichols are political newcomers. Bova never has run for public office and Nichols ran for Utica Common Council last year.

Nichols said even if the numbers don’t come out in his favor when the votes are fully tallied, he will continue on with his goal of tackling corruption and fighting for people. The experience has been a good way to get his story out there and to hopefully inspire change and better attitudes, he said.

“The whole point is that the Republican party needs new leadership,” Nichols said. “People need to be inspired to want to do better for their community and for their country, and the candidates are in a great position to inspire people. But they first have to be a person of integrity and be non-corrupt themselves. … I will continue to fight. It’s not a loss to me, it’s a positive.”

Bova isn't declaring victory yet and is waiting until the votes are certified next week.

Regardless of what happens, he said this isn’t a small seat, it’s the New York State Assembly, which makes him proud of how far he’s come and all of the endorsements he’s received.

“It makes me feel great," he said. "This is the first time I’ve ever run for public office, so to have that kind of support basically not having any name in the political field whatsoever, it feels great, it feels amazing. We worked hard, it’s been a great experience and hopefully it shakes out to where it’s still the same after recanvassing and absentee ballots and we move forward to November. It’s just been a great experience.”

Contact reporter Samantha Madison at 315-792-5015 or follow her on Twitter (@OD_Madison).