McCain concedes race to Giffords in historic upset
New York Times | November 3, 2010, 14:20 EST
Senator John McCain of Arizona has conceded to his opponent Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the race to keep hold of the senate seat which he first won in 1986, and which has been in Republican hands since 1968. This result effectively gives Democrats 51 seats in the senate (Senator Bernard Sanders sits as an independent but caucuses with the Democrats), however it is not the final undecided race to be called, as Missouri is currently being decided between Republican Sarah Steelman and Democrat Robin Carnahan.
Senator McCain, who was a presidential contender in 2000 and 2008, as well as a runner up pick for Secretary of State after Condoleeza Rice's resignation earlier this year, has declined his legal right to a recount. Mark Salter, McCain's Chief of Staff, told the NYT:
"The Senator does not want to subject the people of Arizona to a long and arduous recount process which would damage the integrity of the electoral process for the small chance of victory."
Senator McCain delivered his concession speech earlier this morning. "My friends, this state has given me over 30 years of trust in Congress and for that I am eternally grateful," he said, later thanking his opponent for "her brilliant networking campaign, which reached out to men and women all across our state. I may disagree with Mrs. Giffords on a good deal of issues, but I think she will be a wonderful senator and I hope she does the best job for Arizona that she possibly can."
It was noted by many analysts this morning that Senator McCain would be unlikely to close the 6,000 vote gap separating him and Congresswoman Giffords, especially with many votes coming in likely from Maricopa County, which voted overwhelmingly Democratic.
Mrs. Giffords addressed supporters in Pheonix, promising "not to let Arizona's forgotten men and women down."
Mrs. Giffords is a two-term congresswoman and has pledged to do more than simply oppose President Frist's policy agenda. "I am here today, humbled by the wonderful result we have received. I am going straight to Washington and my first priority is fixing the economic mess which has put millions of Arizonans in dire straits."