First District Race Still Too Close to Call, Lange Refuses to Concede
WATERLOO, Iowa - U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo, and Republican challenger Ben Lange of Independence were still in a dogfight over who will represent Iowa's 1st Congressional District late Tuesday night.
Braley, 52, and Lange, 31, were within a point of each other as of midnight according to the Iowa Secretary of State's Office. Several media outlets called the race for Braley, but Lange refused to concede.
The prospect of a recount hung over the race. Braley gave a victory speech about the race early in the evening, before the race tightened. His campaign scheduled a late night press conference but cancelled. They said they wouldn't be commenting any further until Lange concedes.
However, they didn't rule out a recount.
"We're 100 percent in favor of counting all the votes," said Caitlin Legacki, a Braley spokesperson. "We are confident we will win."
Earlier in the evening, Braley thanked his supporters at the Waterloo Center for the Arts when he thought he had won a third term in Congress.
"I placed my trust in you and the values we share," he said. "I thank you for putting your trust in me."
Meanwhile, Lange was in his hometown of Quasqueton, where he said the race was still too close to call.
"I'm still waiting for the tally to come in here," Lange said in his hometown of Quasqueton.
His tracking methods showed less than a 2 percent deficit to Braley with what his campaign felt were strong GOP precincts yet to be counted. He also noted several news organizations had called the race in Braley's favor.
"That seems a little presumptuous to me," Lange said.
Lange and his camp watched as Braley made his acceptance speech on television, and Lange vowed to wait a bit longer.
"I'm going to continue to watch," he said.
Braley's campaign said they tried to call Lange three times, and none of the calls were taken.
Iowa's four other Congressman easily won their re-election bids amid a national tide of anti-incumbency.
Braley was first elected in 2006. He easily won re-election in 2008 against former State Sen. David Hartsuch of Bettendorf.
The race between Lange and Braley caught national attention after several groups began airing ads critical of Braley.
The most prominent was the American Future Fund, an Iowa conservative group started by Nick Ryan, a campaign director for former Republican Rep. Jim Nussle. The fund spent around $1.2 million in ads against Braley.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Republican consultant Dick Morris also spent money in the race.
Braley noted the ads.
"If you were within one mile of your TV sets within the past six months you would know they have been spending a lot of money to take me out," he said.