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John Koster Plans To Concede 1st District Congressional Race

1st District Republican candidate John Koster
Deborah Wang

The battle for Jay Inslee’s old seat in Congress now appears to be over.

Republican John Koster sent a letter to supporters Thursday night informing them that he plans to officially concede the race today.

That leaves Democrat Suzan DelBene the winner of the costliest and most hard-fought Congressional race in the state this year.

As of Thursday night, DelBene was leading Koster by more than 6 percentage points. She was winning in three of the four counties that make up the 1st Congressional District.

“We Were On Our Own”

In an email sent last night, Koster thanked his supporters and said he planned to call DelBene Friday  to congratulate her and officially concede the race.

He blamed his loss on DelBene’s “punishing multi-million dollar attack ads,” and he referred to his campaign as a people-powered grassroots effort that was outspent 5 to 1.  

Koster also blamed both the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee and the Washington State Republican Party for not adequately supporting his campaign. He said they failed to provide more than “token” support.

“To be frank, we were on our own, yet thanks to people like you, we nearly overcame the odds,” he wrote.

State Republican leaders have said the 1st District race was their best chance of picking up a Congressional seat. The formerly Democratic district’s boundaries were re-drawn this year to make it more of a swing district.

But throughout the campaign, Democrat DelBene pounded Koster for his conservative views on social issues, including his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

In recent weeks, Koster’s off-the-cuff comments about abortion went viral when he referred to rape as “the rape thing.”

DelBene also had the money advantage. She is a wealthy former Microsoft executive who put close to $3 million of her own money into her campaign.

“Continue The Battle For Truth”

This was Koster's third try for a seat in Congress. He ran twice before against Democrat Rick Larsen in the 2nd Congressional District.

Koster still holds his seat on the Snohomish County Council, where he is serving his third term.

In his email to supporters, Koster said he was stunned by Barack Obama’s re-election and by the legalization of same-sex marriage and marijuana possession in Washington state.

He warned that "society will suffer the consequences inherent with bad law and liberal representation."

He ended the message by asking his supporters to pray for leaders at all levels of government “as commanded in the Holy Scriptures” and to continue the battle for truth wherever possible.

In the meantime, it appears DelBene will be heading to Washington, DC, to take her seat in Congress as early as next week.

In addition to winning a four-year term, she also won a second race to serve the final month of Jay Inslee’s term of office.

Year started with KUOW: 2005