SPARTANBURG, S.C. - State education superintendent candidate Karen Floyd said Tuesday she would not challenge the statewide recount that left her last week 455 votes short of Democrat Jim Rex.
"The campaign is over," the Spartanburg Republican said of the close race. "Once that election process is complete, everyone must respect the outcome."
The state Election Commission had declared Mr. Rex the winner Friday after more than 1 million votes had been recounted. Ms. Floyd's concession came just 24 hours before today's noon deadline for her to challenge the outcome.
Mr. Rex should now "be able to count on the support of all South Carolinians. He certainly has my support," Ms. Floyd said.
Ms. Floyd also said she didn't want the state to spend $2 million on the new election that would be held if she could prove problems, such as the miscounting of absentee ballots, did occur - something state GOP officials has talked about for days.
"In the final analysis, the decision was very clear to me," Ms. Floyd said at a conference after calling Mr. Rex to concede. "It was an extremely brief conversation," she said, describing it as "very professional" but without "a great deal of pleasantries."
In a statement, Mr. Rex said Ms. Floyd offered "a gracious concession" and that she ran a "fine race." The two had "areas of disagreement ... but I never questioned her dedication to her cause or the vigor with which she fought for it," Mr. Rex said.
Ms. Floyd said she had taken a small step in the direction of filing a legal challenge by setting up a bank account to use for that fight, for which she had received one check.
Mr. Rex had geared up, too, asking supporters to send cash to help him fend off a GOP-backed challenge.
On the stump this year, Mr. Rex would sometimes borrow a pump or high heel from outgoing superintendent Inez Tenenbaum and tell the crowd about his plans to fill the Democrat's shoes. On Monday, Mr. Rex announced a group of more than 70 people who will help him work through his transition and chart a course for public education and met Tuesday met with Ms. Tenenbaum's staff.
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