Originally created 11/17/06

Burns concedes to Barrow in close race



SAVANNAH, Ga. - Republican Max Burns conceded defeat Thursday to U.S. Rep. John Barrow, accepting his 864-vote loss without requesting a recount.

Mr. Burns, a former congressman who was narrowly ousted by Mr. Barrow two years ago, called the Democrat to offer his congratulations a day after the Georgia Secretary of State's Office released its official results from the Nov. 7 election. The tally showed Mr. Barrow won by less than 1 percent of the 142,438 votes cast.

"Unfortunately, we came up just a few votes short," Mr. Burns said in a prepared statement. "While the vote was extremely close, we accept the results as certified by the Secretary of State."

Because the margin was so close, Mr. Burns could have requested an automatic recount under Georgia law. His campaign manager, Tim Baker, said Mr. Burns decided it wouldn't have made enough difference to overturn the race in eastern Georgia's 12th District.

Mr. Barrow's campaign did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The certified results also showed that Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall of Macon defeated Republican Mac Collins of Jackson by 1,752 votes to keep his seat in middle Georgia's 8th District.

In that race, 159,568 votes were cast. Mr. Marshall's victory margin was just enough to avoid an automatic recount. Mr. Collins' campaign has not returned calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

In the 12th District, Mr. Burns, of Sylvania, sought to take back the seat he held for one term before losing the seat to Mr. Barrow in 2004 by a narrow 7,907 votes.

Last year, the Republican-led state Legislature redrew the district to exclude Mr. Barrow's hometown of Athens, a Democratic base, and replace it with 11 conservative-leaning, rural counties. The changes prompted Mr. Barrow to move to Savannah, and helped persuade Mr. Burns to seek a rematch.

Redistricting didn't change Mr. Barrow's sizable black constituency, which makes up 41 percent of registered voters in the district. So while Mr. Burns carried 14 of the district's 22 counties, Mr. Barrow picked up more than half his votes in Savannah and Augusta, the district's two largest cities.