WASHINGTON - Democrat Charlie Brown conceded defeat to Republican State Sen. Tom McClintock yesterday in their hard-fought race for northeastern California's Fourth District congressional seat, leaving only four U.S. House races unsettled.
Brown acted a day after counties in the largely rural district turned in their final tallies to the secretary of state. The count gave McClintock a lead of nearly 1,800 votes of more than 370,000 cast. The longtime incumbent, GOP Rep. John Doolittle, retired while under investigation in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
With McClintock's victory, Democrats have a 255-176 edge in the incoming House. They held 236 seats through most of the current Congress.
Final ballot counts are still at issue in one race each in Ohio and Virginia, and two Louisiana seats will be decided in hurricane-delayed elections on Saturday.
The narrowness of McClintock's win was remarkable in one of California's most conservative districts, where Republicans enjoy a 15-percentage-point advantage over Democrats among registered voters.
The Fourth District stretches from Sacramento north to Oregon and east to Nevada.