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NY Official Quits Election Dispute

December 15, 1998

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ Making no apologies for his ``well-intentioned″ challenge to the Nov. 3 election results, Attorney General Dennis Vacco has conceded defeat to Democrat Eliot Spitzer.

Vacco said Monday it was time to end the six-week battle that raised claims of widespread election fraud in order to provide a smooth transition.

The announcement came as a state judge threw out the incumbent’s lawsuit challenging the results.

``While the effort that we conducted over the last six weeks was well-intentioned,″ Vacco told a Buffalo news conference, ``after reviewing the facts and information that we have compiled to date, I believe it fell upon me as a leader in this state to put an end to it.″

Unofficial results have shown Spitzer, a millionaire attorney and former Manhattan prosecutor, with a 25,186 vote lead over Vacco out of the more than 4 million votes cast.

While conceding, Vacco, a Republican, said he was right to focus on alleged election fraud.

``I have a lot to say about that, but now is not the time or place,″ he said, adding that friends and colleagues ``know that I would not have pursued something frivolously.″

State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Keegan’s ruling cleared the way for the state Board of Elections to certify the election results today.

Vacco called Spitzer, who had already declared himself the victor, to offer congratulations.

``Right now, it tastes awfully sweet,″ the attorney general-elect said Monday.

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