A Republican lumber company executive is conceding defeat in a southern Illinois congressional race.
Jason Plummer made Wednesday's announcement a day after voters in the 12th Congressional District elected Democrat Bill Enyart, a Belleville lawyer who has headed the Illinois National Guard. The Green Party's Paula Bradshaw finished third.
Plummer says in a one-paragraph statement e-mailed to The Associated Press that he thanks the thousands of supporters, volunteers and friends who backed his campaign.
He noted that while Democrats have held the seat since World War II, he's proud of his bid to replace outgoing Democratic Rep. Jerry Costello and hopes "southern Illinoisans can work together the solve the serious problems facing the region."
The 12th District stretches from the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis to the state's southernmost tip.
Our earlier story:
Illinois’ 12th Congressional District will remain in Democratic hands, as Bill Enyart edged out Republican Jason Plummer and Green Party Candidate Paula Bradshaw on Tuesday.
Democrat Jerry Costello is retiring, leaving his seat open for this election. Enyart entered the race after primary winner Brad Harriman dropped out. Enyart says his experience is what won over voters in this targeted election and he already has his sights set on what he’d like to do in Washington.
"I’ll be looking very closely at serving on the house armed services committee, energy is another committee that I’ll be looking very closely at serving on with the coal industry and the other energy industries here in southern Illinois – I think that’s an important one. Transportation… Jerry Costello served on that and has brought us a new Mississippi River Bridge," Enyart told reporters Tuesday night.
Enyart says he plans to hit the ground running as the next congressman from southwestern Illinois.
For his part, Plummer told supporters last night he wasn't ready to concede.
That's despite the fact that the Associated Press had called the race in favor of Enyart.
Plummer did take the stage to briefly thank supporters and said he wanted to wait until every vote had been counted.
"We're going to stay here,” Plummer said. “We're going to keep counting. If you look at the issues this nation is facing. If you look at the issues this state is facing, we've got a lot of work to do."
A representative for Plummer's campaign said that he would hold a press conference later on Wednesday but said it had yet to be determined if he would take questions.
The campaign between Plummer and Enyart was often characterized by negative ads and sharp exchanges during debates.
As of midnight on Tuesday Enyart was ahead by almost 17,000 votes with 94 percent of precincts reporting.
Follow Tim Lloyd on Twitter: @TimSLloyd
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