Republican Matt Doheny conceded the race for New York's new 21st Congressional District to Democratic incumbent Rep. Bill Owens shortly after midnight Tuesday.
Appearing before supporters in Watertown, Doheny said he had just phoned his opponent to congratulate him on a "hard-fought victory.
"We came up short; it's that simple," Doheny said. "We worked at this for quite some time; we put a lot of resources against Mr. Owens. ... It wasn't for lack of effort. ... Sometimes, I've learned in politics, things just don't go your way."
Rep. Bill Owens
(Enterprise file photo)
As of this morning, Owens led Doheny 107,645 to 104,452 with 94 percent of precincts reporting in the 21st District. Don Hassig, who ran on the Green Party line and endorsed Owens over the weekend, had received about 3,504 votes.
About 20,000 absentee ballots must be counted. In his concession speech, Doheny said he would need to win more than 60 percent of those votes to overcome Owens' lead.
With television cameras rolling, Owens declared victory before a raucous group of supporters at his election night headquarters in Plattsburgh. Owens thanked his supporters, saying a tremendous amount of work went into his re-election campaign.
"It's an honor to represent each and every one of you in Congress," he said.
Owens said he wants to keep working to better the middle class, "because ultimately, that is what will bring the country forward.
"My hope is that what this causes us to do is to come to rational compromise in the next few weeks, (and) we get through the lame-duck session with something plausible to show the American people."
Owens said he wants to continue reaching out to people across the aisle. He said in an emailed statement that he worked hard "to bring tonight's victory home.
"Now it's time to get back to work helping to create jobs, passing a bipartisan Farm Bill, and strengthening the middle class," Owens said.
Doheny said the presidential election made his race challenging. He said the 21st District isn't the Republican stronghold it once was.
"We could drag this out and do the recount and recanvassing," Doheny added, "but I think the country has been through enough."
In Essex County, with 100 percent of election districts reporting, Owens unofficially beat Doheny and Hassig 7,707-6,181-276. In Franklin County, with all districts in, Owens won 8,396-5,310-218.
Clinton County overwhelming favored Owens. Unofficial results there show him with 16,554 votes to Doheny's 9,979. Hassig won 369 votes there.