Republican Rep. Bill Cook can finally call himself senator-elect without looking over his shoulder.
After two rounds of recounts and nearly a month removed from Election Day, Democratic state Sen. Stan White, the incumbent in the 1st District, conceded his bid for re-election to Cook on Monday.
"Mr. Cook has won, and I wish him the best of luck and certainly hope he represents this huge district well," White said by phone.
Cook won by 21 votes. 87,449 ballots were cast.
The final straw was a limited hand-to-eye recount that yielded no gains.
Election officials in the district's eight counties had already performed a machine recount, which narrowed Cook's lead from 32 votes to 21. Officials then counted a sampling of ballots by hand to determine whether there were enough discrepancies to warrant the time- and labor-intensive process of reviewing each ballot by hand.
"Certainly some folks wanted me to take some other avenues," White said. "I don't know of another step to take unless it's a lawsuit challenge, and I'm not putting my family and the public through that."
Cook commended White for the hard-fought campaign and wished him well.
"II am deeply grateful for the tireless efforts of the staff and volunteers who made this win possible, and am eager to get to work for the constituents," Cook added.
The GOP had already established firm control of the General Assembly, but Cook's election widens the party's grasp on the Senate to 33-17.
Of the 17 Democrats in the Senate, African-Americans comprise a majority; the same is true of the House Democratic Caucus.