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Fimian Concedes Close Election in 11th CD With Explanation and Thanks Voters

November 11, 2010

Good Evening Eugene,

The election in Virginia's 11th congressional district was one of the closest in the Nation. For that, I am grateful and I have you to thank. You made this run possible. You are the reason we performed as well as we did. And I am humbled and honored to have had your enormous support.

Over 220,000 votes were cast, and less than 1,000 votes separate the two candidates. In this situation, Virginia law says that there should be a recount if I request it. In fact, the election is so close that the General Assembly has determined that the Commonwealth should bear the costs of any recount -- that's how seriously our state legislature views elections like this, and how committed they are to getting them right.

The decision whether to seek a recount is not one that I have made lightly or in haste. On the one hand, it is fundamental to the very legitimacy of our government that every voter has full confidence that his or her vote was counted fully and fairly - a factor that is especially important in close contests like this.

On the other hand, recounts are expensive (as much as $100,000) and time-consuming (as late as mid-December), not only to the taxpayers who by law must bear the personnel and equipment costs incurred by the Commonwealth in conducting the recount, but also to the individual donors who very generously fund our campaigns using their hard-earned personal money. In fact, Federal law requires us to pay for our lawyers and staff costs in any canvass or recount the same way that we fund our campaigns - with individual donations in $2,400 increments.

Over the past several days, I have been reviewing the election returns closely, bearing in mind that a recount only seeks to arrive at an accurate tally of all votes cast in the election, and does not take into consideration any issues relating to the fair conduct of the election. Here is what I have determined:

First, the votes were counted and tallied on Election Night, and double-checked again in the post-election canvass that followed it. Because of the legal counsel we have hired and the teams of people we have had monitoring the precinct-by-precinct canvass, at this point, we believe that the tallies are accurate - and that any additional inaccuracies will be scrubbed out by state officials, who are about to spend the next two weeks "triple-checking" the returns.

Second, we know that hundreds of absentee ballots were rejected in this election, but we have uncovered no evidence that those rejections were due to the use of an improper or unlawful standard. Similarly, thousands of military and other overseas absentee ballots have yet to be returned, but every indication is that our election officials sent those ballots out on time, so there is no legal basis for including them if they were returned late.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, we have determined that, in Fairfax and Prince William counties, voting machines failed to register votes on over 1,000 ballots that were cast in the congressional election. This year, when the congressional race was the only office on the ballot, it seems odd that so many voters would turn out to vote only to cast a blank ballot. So I believe that there are in fact as many as 1,000 votes that have not been counted in this election, and that a recount would uncover those votes. At the same time, I would have to win those votes by a 98-2 margin in order to close the gap that currently exists between the candidates. Under even the best of circumstances, that's quite a long shot, and one that does not justify the cost and expense it would take to see it through.

Beyond that, I spoke with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli yesterday who reminded me that Bob McDonnell's 2005 Attorney General state-wide recount netted only 37 votes. For these reasons, and as a consequence of the current 981 vote gap, Attorney General Cuccinelli advised me not to seek a recount.

Taking all this into account, I have concluded that a recount will not change the election outcome and, after much discussion with friends, family and supporters, I have decided not to seek one. This was a very close election, but even a difference of fewer than 1,000 votes is simply too great to overcome in a recount under Virginia law. That said, if the State Board of Elections certifies a closer result on November 22, then I will revisit my decision.

In closing, I want to thank everyone who participated in the election and especially, of course, those who voted for me. This past year has been a terrific experience and I am better off for having lived it. I thank my family, my friends and my supporters - old and new - for their untiring support and for standing with me throughout the campaign. I believe the Commonwealth of Virginia and our Nation are better off for the issues that were brought to the fore and discussed and debated.

From the start of my campaign to this day, I have maintained that the major issues currently facing America are our economy and job creation. I have also argued that the out-of-control spending and unparalleled debt that our government is leaving future generations is an unconscionable moral wrong that will only be solved by competent, principled leaders who know how to balance budgets and reduce the harmful spending that is now so menacing to our own children. While I fell short in the election result, it is clear that the people of northern Virginia - and all across America - share my concerns and want their elected representatives to address these issues right now!

I especially thank all of my supporters once again for everything they have done. I am deeply humbled and truly honored to have had the dedicated and unwavering support from so many over the course of the campaign. For this, I shall forever be grateful. And I shall never forget you.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America!


Keith Fimian

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