Virginia Republican Senate challenger Ed Gillespie conceded defeat to Democratic incumbent Mark Warner Friday after the latest vote totals showed a margin of more than 16,000 votes.
The vote margin put Warner’s victory close to the one percent mark and while that would have allowed Gillespie the right to request a recount, any margin of more than one-half of one percent would have required his campaign to foot the bill. Gillespie’s campaign is deep in debt and he personallyh loaned money to the race.
Gillespie’s concession ends a surprisingly tight race for Warner, one of Virginia’s most popular politicians and one who cruised to the governor’s mansion and his first campaign for Senate.
But Republican swings in the mid-term elections and a Democratic campaign tying Warner to the increasingly unpopular President Barack Obama put the race close than most expected.
Warner, in a statement issued after Gillespie’s announcement Friday, said he got the message Tuesday night:
On Tuesday, Virginians sent an unmistakable message both to me and Congress as a whole: End the gridlock and get to work. I will spend every day working to get the Senate back in the business of solving problems and not simply scoring political points. I will work with anyone, Republican or Democrat, to shake up this dysfunctional Congress and move us toward common ground.
Washington watchers, however, set long odds on seeing a workable coalition appearing in the divided and bitter Congress.