Republican Ed Martin talks with voters (file photo)

Republican Congressional candidate Ed Martin has conceded to Democrat Russ Carnahan in their race for the Third Congressional District in St. Louis.

“I gave Congressman Carnahan a phone call to congratulate him,” Martin tells the Missourinet. “He had ended up with more votes than I did and I thought it was important to move on.”

Martin says a review of the votes has led him to conclude that widespread voter fraud didn’t cost him the election.

“We had some significant concerns on election night and the day after about some things that we thought may have shifted the election or, at least, shifted votes in such a way that it could have been problematic,” Martin says. “But after spending a few days looking at them, we’re confident that although there were some errors and some concerns, it is not enough to shift the election and we think it’s important to congratulate Congressman Carnahan and encourage to represent the Third District well and move on.”

Martin says his campaign became alarmed about a surge of votes late on election night that swamped his slim lead, turning it into a narrow loss. Unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s office show Carnahan won 99,016 votes or 48.9% of the vote. Martin received 94,594 votes or 46.7% of the vote, losing by a margin of 4,422 votes.

In a statement e-mail to supporters, Martin said that the events of election night provided “ample reason to be concerned.” Martin said the campaign learned that the votes that came in late were unreported votes from the northwest precincts of St. Louis County.

“In light of this new information, the implausibility factor evaporates along with my concerns about voter fraud in that late surge. And, although I have concerns about other incidents and improper conduct on election day, I no longer believe these concerns are sufficient to continue our review of what has occurred or delay agreeing that this election is over,” Martin stated.

Martin signed off his e-mail, “P.S. There’s Always 2012…”

AUDIO: Brent Martin interviews 3rd District Republican Candidate Ed Martin [8 min MP3]