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Democrat Concedes To Metcalf Quigley Led On Election Day But Was Beaten By Absentees

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

One of Washington state’s two long-hanging contests for Congress ended quietly late Saturday when Democratic state Sen. Kevin Quigley reached 2nd District GOP Rep. Jack Metcalf to concede defeat.

“I gave him a call, congratulated him on his victory, and let him know that if there is anything I can do to help him over the next two years, to let me know,” Quigley said Monday.

Quigley, 35, said he will return to practicing law after his close race against Metcalf. He gave up his seat in the state Legislature to run for Congress.

The Associated Press had declared Quigley the winner based on final returns from election day. But absentee votes from Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties reversed the Democrat’s apparent victory.

One Washington race remains unresolved. In another comefrom-behind race for the Republicans, GOP Rep. Linda Smith holds a 1,000-vote lead over Democratic challenger Brian Baird in the 3rd Congressional District. An election canvassing board in Thurston County will meet today to consider Democrats’ demands for a recount in the county.

The Smith-Baird contest was a slugfest that did not end on election day. Each side has accused the other of dirty tricks and covering up use of soft money donations.

But the Metcalf-Quigley contest concluded with grace on both sides.

Metcalf, 68, praised the “energy and aggressiveness” of Quigley’s campaign, which erased a 22-point lead for the incumbent in poll taken at the beginning of October. Metcalf has pledged to reach out to all voters in his northwest Washington district.

Metcalf was elected in the Republicans’ 1994 sweep after losing three previous campaigns for the Senate and House. He has said he will seek reelection once more in 1998, observing a self-imposed term limit of six years in Congress.

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