Republican Clint Didier has formally conceded the race to Dan Newhouse for Washington’s 4th Congressional District seat.
Newhouse, also a Republican, was projected to win the race since Nov. 7, but Didier, a tea party ally, said early last week the campaign was still counting ballots and hoping for a recount. Since then, Newhouse has traveled to Washington, D.C., to begin orientation for freshman members of Congress and to start interviewing candidates for his staff.
But on Wednesday morning, Didier conceded.
“I want to express my sincere appreciation to all those who have championed my efforts during this endeavor,” Didier said in a prepared statement.
Didier blamed negative campaign advertising by Newhouse at least in part for his loss.
“My successes in life have always revolved around positive thinking with positive results so it is very disturbing that negativity can be such a successful tool in the political arena,” the statement said.
Didier also promised to remain active politically, repeating previous statements that he will create a political action committee to support similarly conservative candidates at the local, state and federal level. He said he will keep his campaign website and Facebook page active.
With the vast majority of ballots counted, Newhouse leads Didier 77,493 votes, or 50.82 percent, to 74,999 votes, or 49.18 percent. Election results will be certified Tuesday.
The race was the first in Washington state to pit two members of the same party against each other in the general election for a congressional seat.
Washington’s elections do not have partisan primaries but instead operate under a top-two system, in which candidates of all political affiliations compete in the primary.
Didier had hoped to ride the momentum of his first-place finish in the primary to a November victory, but he was outspent and outflanked by Newhouse in advertising. Newhouse raised $877,645 to Didier’s $496,511.
Newhouse is replacing retiring Congressman Doc Hastings, a Republican from Pasco who has held the seat since he was first elected in 1994.