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DECISION 2000 / AMERICA WAITS

GOP Hopeful Concedes House Race

November 30, 2000|From Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. — Republican Dick Zimmer conceded his House race to Democratic Rep. Rush Holt on Wednesday, 22 days after the election and 12 days after Holt declared victory.

Zimmer's concession came after a recount that started Monday and that increased his opponent's lead to 755 votes out of 291,527 votes cast for the two men.

"I had hoped the recount would narrow the margin, but in fact the ball bounced in the other direction," Zimmer said.

Holt savored the end of the three-week dispute, although he had celebrated victory at a staff party early last week.

"It was a long election night, too, that has gone on for a couple of weeks now," he said. "I thanked him for conducting the recount in a way that didn't turn this into a circus. I knew this must be difficult for him."

Zimmer said he was conceding to avoid further legal entanglements, and he suggested that the Democratic presidential candidate do the same. "I do not intend to go down the path that [Vice President] Al Gore has taken," he said.

Some of the disputed votes included absentee ballots in Middlesex County that election workers had corrected in pencil because the voters had filled them out with pens. The counting machines cannot read ink.

Zimmer was a three-term congressman before deciding to run for the Senate in 1996.

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