Neil finally concedes in HD48

At long last, it’s finally over.

Republican Dan Neil dropped out of the race today for the Texas House seat in District 48.

Neil lost to Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, on Election Day by 16 votes. After a recount, Howard’s margin fell to 12 votes. Neil then exercised his right to contest the election, which sent the matter to the Texas House. There, Speaker Joe Straus appointed Rep. Will Hartnett, a Dallas Republican, to serve as a “master of discovery” and hold a trial-like hearing.

After four days of listening to voters whose votes were suspect, Hartnett eliminated several ballots, and Howard’s margin was reduced to just four votes.

But just like in any contest, a tight victory is still a victory. And Hartnett said in a recommendation that Howard should retain her seat.

That was followed by the unanimous vote of the special committee in favor of Howard. Hard to see a path to victory from there, I suppose. A statement from Rep. Howard is beneath the fold. The Trib has more.

Statement from Rep. Donna Howard on Dan Neil’s withdrawal from the HD 48 election contest

“I am grateful to be out from under the specter of the election contest. While it has not hindered my ability to carry out my legislative duties, it has definitely been a distraction at times. The process for deciding an election challenge creates a unique dynamic where legislators become the judge and jury.

However, it is clear the process works when you have a Master and select committee like those appointed to oversee this contest. Their thoughtful questions and careful consideration demonstrated their commitment to upholding the letter of the law. No fraud was found and no voters were unfairly disenfranchised.

With just over 51,500 votes cast in the House District 48 race – one of the highest turnout legislative races in the state – I am still amazed at the scrupulously clean election run by the Travis County Clerk. I feel fortunate to represent a county where the citizens are so engaged, and I would encourage anyone who has followed this process to share this story with others because it truly brought to life the old adage that every vote counts. Thank you to all those who supported me.”

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