Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie has formally conceded the Virginia U.S. Senate race to Democrat Mark Warner, saying in a Friday news conference that a recount, permissible under state law due to the race’s tight margin, would not make a difference.
“If I believed there were any conceivable way that we could find a viable way to win through a recount, I’d fight as hard as I have,” Gillespie said. “In my head and in my heart, I know that a change in outcome is not possible.”
Warner outpolled Gillespie by 16,540 votes, with the difference between the two at just 0.76 percent. Warner, a former governor running for a second term in the Senate, had led by as much as 25 points in early-summer polls, and was still assumed heading into Election Day to be a safe bet for re-election, with only one public poll having the margin in the single digits.
As returns trickled in on Election Night, though, it was Gillespie in the lead most of the night, with Warner only going over the top as returns started pouring in late from Democrat-vote-heavy areas in Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads.