U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge conceded this afternoon, saying the recount shows that Renee Ellmers is the next representative from the 2nd Congressional District.
“The numbers confirm that despite the incredible support we had - and neither candidate getting to 50 percent - in the end we came up just a little too short,” Etheridge said in his statement.
He congratulated Ellmers, but also slammed the style of his opponents.
“The combination of the national tide that swept the country, massive amounts of secret corporate cash funding a campaign of distortions, and dirty politics by Washington, D.C., partisan operatives was just too much to overcome,” Etheridge said. “But what’s done is done. I congratulate Mrs. Ellmers and wish her well as she prepares to serve the people of North Carolina’s 2nd District.”
Etheridge thanked his wife, Faye, and touted his record over seven terms. He said he was proud of his office’s constituent service, of his work on the Farm Bill, of his amendment to promote federally backed school construction bonds and of his bill to provide survivor benefits to family members of firefighters and other first responders killed in the line of duty.
“As I prepare to leave elected office, I do so with my head held high and my heart filled with gratitude for all the people who have helped me along life’s journey,” he said. “I know many of you are disappointed by the outcome of the election, as am I, but we move forward knowing that God still has work for us to do.”
The recount, which concluded today, showed Ellmers was 1,489 votes ahead of incumbent U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge.
The N.C. Board of Elections will certify the results Tuesday.
The final recount was 93,878 votes for Ellmers, a Republican, and 92,389 for Etheridge, a Democrat.
In the end, Etheridge gained just a six-vote difference.
The recount caps a contentious race that saw Ellmers, a nurse from Dunn, leap from long-shot activist to freshman lawmaker. She filed to run against Etheridge because of her frustration over health care reform, but few political observers thought her chances were good.
Then Republican operatives covertly released a video of Etheridge being questioned by two unidentified men on a Capitol Hill sidewalk. When they asked him about whether he supported President Barack Obama’s agenda, he grabbed one of the men and demanded to know, “Who are you?” It was a YouTube sensation.
Ellmers drew her own national attention with a video that declared a proposed Muslim community center near the Ground Zero site was a “victory mosque,” and seemed to compare Muslims to terrorists.
Ellmers raised far less than Etheridge, but enjoyed significant outside help from conservative political groups.
Etheridge, a former tobacco farmer and state schools superintendent from Lillington, has served seven terms in the House of Representatives. He was in Washington this week for the lame-duck session.
Ellmers was here too, going through the week-long orientation for incoming freshmen. She will be sworn in Jan. 3.