Early in the day Wednesday, former Philadelphia Controller Jonathan Saidel put out a statement saying he would insist on a recount in his race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

But as the day wore on, the 3,900 votes that had yet to be counted - out of 901,000 cast - continued dribbling in to Harrisburg. It gradually became apparent to Saidel, trailing by 3,800 votes or so, that he could not win.

So, eight days after the May 18 primary, the race was over. Saidel notified the Pennsylvania Department of State that he conceded and would waive his legal right to a recount - an undertaking that the state had estimated would cost $500,000.

"Earlier today, our campaign announced that we wanted the automatic recount to proceed, in accordance with state law," Saidel's campaign manager, Don Jones, said about 3:45 p.m. "Since that time, approximately half of the . . . uncounted ballots remaining from yesterday have been counted, with very little change in vote totals.

"While nearly 2,000 votes remain uncounted, it is clear to us that the final totals will find Jonathan trailing by more votes than we believe we can overcome in a recount, based on previous recount experience."

State law permits an automatic recount in a statewide election if the margin of victory is less than half a percentage point, as was the case in the lieutenant governor contest.

The uncounted ballots are mostly of two types: absentee ballots from members of the military and people living overseas, and provisional ballots set aside until the eligibility of the voters could be verified.

State Rep. H. Scott Conklin, a former Centre County commissioner, becomes the running mate of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato, the Allegheny County executive.

The pair will be opposed Nov. 2 by Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett, the state attorney general; and GOP lieutenant governor candidate Jim Cawley, a Bucks County commissioner.

Contact staff writer Tom Infield

at 610-313-8205 or tinfield@phillynews.com.