Simmons concedes closest election this year

Hours after Connecticut’s Secretary of State announced the results of a recount for the state’s second congressional district on Wednesday, incumbent Republican Rob Simmons conceded to Democrat Joe Courtney and vowed to take no legal action to force further recounts.

Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz confirmed that Courtney had topped Simmons by only 91 votes of the nearly 250,000 votes cast in total, the closest tally in federal elections held this year. Courtney, who had declared himself the unofficial winner last week, received the news while in Washington, D.C., where he was caucusing with other congressional Democrats and electing House leadership.

“I will be a strong voice for changing the way business is done in Washington by demanding accountability from the White House on the war in Iraq and fighting for a real prescription drug benefit that helps seniors and not the special interests,” he said in a statement.

Though there was speculation on Wednesday morning that Simmons, who has served since 2001, would take Courtney to court by the Nov. 21 deadline and force another recount, he declared the race over during his concession speech.

“Here in Connecticut the people have made a choice, and so the question is, ‘Where do we go from here? Do we continue the effort as was the case in 1994?,’” Simmons said in a statement on his Web site. “Let’s not prolong the uncertainty. Let’s call it a day.”

In 1994, a prolonged recount in the second district resulted in the Democratic candidate prevailing by only 21 votes.

Simmons, who sat on the House Armed Services Committee, did not rule out the possibility of running again in 2008.

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