The Democratic challenger says he will announce plans Monday

Democratic challengerNate McMurray declined to concede in the 27th District Congressional race, after a count of absentee ballots following the Nov. 6 election.

Figures show Republican Rep. Chris Collins still leading the race.

"Right now, it appears that the difference is less than 0.5%, a margin that would, in many counties and states, trigger an automatic recount," McMurray said in a statement. "We will confer with our attorneys and review the numbers to determine our next course of action."

McMurray, the town supervisor of Grand Island in Erie County, said that he would announce his plans for the future on Monday, and thanked his supporters.

“I want to thank everyone who has been a part of this campaign — my family, our great campaign staff, and the countless volunteers and supporters from 8 counties and across the country, of every political persuasion, who stood with us to fight like hell for integrity and accountability in Western New York. From the start, people on both sides of the aisle doubted us; and the fact that we're even having this conversation proves that we are boldly challenging party politics and have already made tremendous headway," McMurray stated.

He added: "... We have seen extensive irregularities in the voting process, especially pertaining to absentee ballots, and there are issues that need to be addressed not only for this election but for all elections in the future to ensure voters are not disenfranchised and that every voice is heard. With this election, we are setting the stage for years to come."

In Collins' heavily Republican 27th Congressional District, which gave President Donald Trump his biggest margin of victory of any in the state in 2016, fewer than 3,000 votes separated the candidates on Election Day. After the last of more than 10,000 absentee ballots were tallied Tuesday, Erie County Republican Election Commissioner Ralph Mohr said it was "mathematically improbable" for McMurray to win. Collins' lead had shrunk to 1,384 with more than 900 affidavit ballots and an unknown number of military and federal ballots still to be counted.

Collins' campaign released this statement after the Erie County absentee vote on Tuesday:

"First and foremost, we want to thank the election teams from all eight counties — Democrat and Republican — for continuing to demonstrate how a fair and proper election should be conducted. Congressman Collins led and won on Election Night and maintained that lead during the entire recanvassing process. Congressman Collins has already returned to work and looks forward to continuing to do the work of the people of the 27th Congressional District." 

Collins, one of the first members of Congress to support Trump's presidential run, is scheduled for trial in early 2020 on charges he leaked information about a biopharmaceutical company that allowed his son and others to avoid nearly $800,000 in stock losses. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI.

Collins initially dropped out of the race after the August indictment, then restarted his campaign a month later as Republican leaders were deliberating who would replace him on the ballot.

New York's 27th Congressional District covers Orleans, Livingston, Genesee and Wyoming counties and parts of Monroe, Erie, Niagara and Ontario counties. It includes the western half of Ontario County, including Canandaigua, Farmington and Victor.

Includes reporting from The Associated Press