Florida Democrat Christine Jennings said today she won't try to block Republican Vern Buchanan from being sworn in to represent the state's 13th District, despite her efforts to have that election declared unconstitutional.
In November's elections, Buchanan beat out Jennings by fewer than 400 votes to win the seat, but Jennings has contested the election both in Florida courts and before Congress.
"Christine is not conceding," her deputy campaign manager Robert Kellar explained to me by phone. After consulting with constituents, her staff and Democratic leadership, she "decided it would be best for the district to allow [Buchanan] to be seated temporarily," until the election disputes are sorted out.
Kellar said Jennings had the option of filing an official challenge to seating Buchanan in the 110th Congress, but opted not to. "If a constituent has a problem with Social Security or something, they need someone to go to," Kellar explained. She has, however, "contested" the election with Congress, which is a different process.
Kellar said that staffers for the House Administration Committee have received Jennings' formal contest and are currently investigating the matter. More on that soon.
Update: An earlier version of this post reported that election results showed Buchanan beat Jennings by 18,000 votes. That was incorrect; results showed Buchanan won by 369 votes. At issue in the dispute are an estimated 18,000 votes that may not have been properly registered.