Republican Bruce Poliquin is ending the recount of the 2nd Congressional District race he lost to Democrat Jared Golden.
Poliquin announced on Twitter that he's ending his campaign's bid to hand count roughly 300,000 ballots cast in the election.
State election officials said Thursday that they were nearly halfway finished with the recount and that there had been no noticeable change in the results announced last month.
In his statement, Poliquin continued to assert that he had more votes than Golden on Election Day and said his decision to end the recount was because of the approaching holidays.
But one of Poliquin's lawyers, Josh Tardy, said it was clear Poliquin could not overtake Golden in the recount. “He looked at that practically and recognized, as far as the ranked-choice tabulation part of this saga, he wasn’t going to make up the difference.”
Tardy, who was in the Secretary of State's ballot-counting room Friday, said Poliquin is reviewing all legal avenues to challenge the vote, including appealing federal judge Lance Walker’s decision to reject Poliquin’s arguments that ranked-choice voting is unconstitutional.
Golden’s campaign manager, Jon Breed, said he is pleased Poliquin ended the recount and said Golden is confident he will win in court if Poliquin appeals. “I think after working for a week we see very little change, so I think both parties were aware that not much would change if this continued for another week.”
Poliquin's decision comes a day after a federal judge denied his request to either declare him the winner in the race or invalidate a runoff that was determined by ranked-choice voting.
The judge also dismissed Poliquin's claims that ranked choice is unconstitutional. Poliquin left open the possibility of appealing the judge's decision.
Originally published Dec. 14, 2018 at 11:17 a.m. ET.