Unofficial Tuesday night poll results show the career nurse who became a Tea Party favorite in North Carolina has ousted the veteran Democratic lawmaker from Congress.
But Congressman Bob Etheridge isn't giving up. He said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon that the race for the US House of Representatives District 2 seat is too tight to call.
Congressman Ethridge says right now, the difference is fewer than 10 votes per precinct and that because of that, he's asking the State Board of Elections for a recount.
He said provisional and overseas ballots are still being counted.
"It is incumbent upon all of us that this procedure be allowed to work," he said. "Any declaration of victory is premature and a disservice to the people of the Second District who have yet to have their voices heard and counted. Procedures are in place to ensure accuracy, integrity, and that your right to one person one vote is properly exercised ... I am confident that when this process is over I will have the opportunity to continue to serve you in this role.
Etheridge says he doesn't know if his confrontation in Washington with two people who claimed to be students is to blame for such a tight race. But he says he's certain the wave of Republican support felt throughout the country helped fuel his challenger's campaign.
"A lot of money was spent in this race on her behalf, so I assumed that helped getting it out," Ethridge said. "Any declaration of victory is premature and really a disservice to the people of the Second District."
Ellmers has already declared herself the winner - saying Tuesday night that her win is a "victory for the people."
"The people are not supposed to work for Washington. Washington is supposed to work for the people," Ellmers said in claiming her victory.
Ellmers told ABC11 Eyewitness News Wednesday that she had been expecting Etheridge's recount request.
Ellmers says she's confident she'll still be able to claim a victory, if a recount is ordered.
"I'm glad Congressman Etheridge came out today and presented to us what his intentions are," she said. "We've been expecting it. If it were me, I would be doing the same thing."
Results are expected by next Friday.
Ellmers joined a GOP wave that swept the nation and put the party back in control of the U.S. House.
Republicans had eyed several Democratic incumbents in North Carolina as potential seats to flip in their favor. But outside groups mostly bypassed the Ellmers race to target three other Democrats: Reps. Heath Shuler, Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre. Each of those incumbents retained his seat.