Dem Rep. Connolly Keeps Va. Congressional Seat

By Bob Lewis | November 9, 2010 | 3:50 PM EST

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., talks about winning the re-election, at his office in Annandale, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(AP) - Democrats will keep a congressional seat in Virginia after Republican Keith S. Fimian conceded Tuesday in a narrow loss to incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly.

The margin of victory was about 900 votes out of some 225,000 cast, which was narrow enough under Virginia law to qualify for a recount.

Fimian, a former collegiate and professional football player, left open the slight prospect he would contest the outcome before a Nov. 22 deadline.

"The Commonwealth of Virginia will conduct another canvass of the election results before that," Fimian said. "If the results change significantly, I hold open the option of revisiting my decision."

Connolly said the close race showed him "a lot of humility is in order" but he rejected the suggestion that his popularity was waning. Connolly easily beat Fimian in 2008.

"There were four competitive races in Virginia. Only one (incumbent) was left standing, and you're looking at him," Connolly said. "I prevailed, and that is a sign of strength, not of weakness."

Two other first-term Democrats - Reps. Tom Perriello and Glenn Nye - lost, as did Rep. Rick Boucher, a 14-term Democrat from southwestern Virginia.

Connolly's victory keeps the GOP's net gain at 60 seats, giving the party 239 of the 435 House seats and ending the majority the Democrats held since 2007.