Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) formally conceded this afternoon after results from a completed recount were expected to show he didn't make up any significant ground in his race against Rep.-elect Renee Ellmers (R).
In his concession statement, an irritated Etheridge placed blame on a negative campaign that outside groups waged against him. Specifically, he pinpointed the GOP's role in recording him getting into a shoving incident with a student earlier this year - footage that was later used in a campaign ad against him.
"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, DC 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 Second District."
Officials certified Ellmers as the winner last week, but because her 1,489-vote lead over Etheridge was less than one percent of the total votes cast, the incumbent was legally permitted to ask for a recount.
The results of the recount will be announced this afternoon, but preliminary reports suggest they show no significant difference from the certified numbers.
The AP called the race on election night for Ellmers, and because of that, Etheridge's concession will not mean that the GOP has picked up another House seat; Republicans remain at a net gain of 61 seats for the cycle.
There are now five outstanding House contests, and Republicans lead in three
This post was updated at 3:40 p.m.
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