SPRINGFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Republican Ed Gillespie conceded his nail-biter U.S. Senate bid to unseat Mark Warner on Friday.
Gillespie said after a close analysis he found the "numbers just weren't there" and it was time to accept the results of the election. He trailed Warner by 16,301 votes, but as the canvass continued the gap grew and Gillespie saw little hope for victory.
The distance between the two candidates remains less than one percent, which would allow Gillespie to ask for a recount under Virginia law, but he ruled out the possibility at the event in Springfield.
"It would be wrong to put my fellow Virginians through a recount," said Gillespie, "when in my head and in my heart I know it would not change the outcome."
Instead Gillespie called Warner and offered his congratulations Friday. Warner tanked his contender for the phone call and his work on the campaign trail in a statement.
"Earlier today, Ed Gillespie called to inform me that he would be conceding the election, and I commended him on a hard-fought campaign and wish him and his family well. I am sure Ed Gillespie will continue to contribute to the debate in Virginia and the nation," Warner said. "Representing Virginia has been the honor of my life, and I am gratified that the people of the Commonwealth have rehired me for a new term. On Tuesday, Virginians sent an unmistakable message both to me and Congress as a whole: end the gridlock and get to work."
Gillespie supporters say they know the campaign fought well. "We're not unhappy because it was so close, so close," says Sally Linderman. Others hope to see Gillespie on the ballot again. "For governor," says Andrea Delvecchio. "That's what we're hoping for."
For now, no official word if Gillespie will go after that seat. He says it's time to focus on family. "It would have been nice to be called senator but the best thing I have ever been called is dad," he said.
Click here for Decision Virginia article and U.S. Senate Race analysis.