Democrat Dianne Feinstein's election to a full term in the U.S. Senate over Republican Rep. Mike Huffington was officially certified Wednesday by California's top elections officer, who declared that she won the contest "fairly and squarely."
Huffington has yet to concede, saying he is investigating claims of massive voter fraud that may have tainted the election result.
Feinstein's victory was proclaimed by acting Secretary of State Tony Miller in formal documents to Gov. Pete Wilson and to the clerk of the U.S. Senate.
Feinstein won by 163,564 votes out of 8.5 million cast in the Senate race Nov. 8, Miller said. That is a margin of 1.9%--slightly larger than at the end of the unofficial ballot counting in November.
Although Huffington has questioned the election results, Miller said Wednesday: "Feinstein clearly won this fairly and squarely. There is nothing to indicate anything to the contrary."
Neither Huffington nor any official of his campaign could be reached for comment Wednesday.
Miller said the total count from the 58 counties gave Feinstein 3,977,065 votes to Huffington's 3,813,501. An additional 714,410 votes were cast for four minor party candidates or for unofficial write-in candidates.
Feinstein's margin after the unofficial tally of votes had been 156,671.
Miller, a Democrat who is leaving office, said no evidence of any voter fraud has been submitted by the Huffington campaign, by the proponents of Proposition 187 or by anyone else.
"We have not received anything that even suggests that this election was won because of voter fraud. There has been a lot of huffing, but nothing submitted," Miller said.
Although Miller has certified Feinstein as the winner, the results presumably could be challenged in court if there is evidence of fraud, some election experts said. Also, the U.S. Constitution makes the Senate the final arbiter of the qualifications of its members, but no valid state election outcome has been overturned by the Senate in modern times.
The bitter Feinstein-Huffington contest was the most expensive ever waged for any seat in Congress--costing more than $40 million, including $27.5 million of Huffington's personal fortune, which had been estimated at $70 million at the beginning of the campaign.
Also Wednesday, the San Francisco Examiner reported that Huffington and his wife, Arianna, have put their Santa Barbara-area mansion on the market for an undisclosed price. They bought the home in Montecito six years ago for $4.3 million.
The Examiner speculated that the Huffingtons would move to Newport Beach, where they lived during much the campaign, in part because it was near Huffington's campaign headquarters.
After moving from Texas several years ago, Huffington used his personal funds to finance a successful U.S. House campaign, unseating Republican incumbent Robert Lagomarsino in the 1992 primary. After nine months in the House, Huffington announced that he would run for the U.S. Senate.