LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ Secretary of State Bill McCuen refuses to concede defeat in his bid for Congress. And he's taking himself to court to keep the race open.

McCuen, a Democrat, is challenging his home county's results in last month's election. He has asked a judge to order his office not to certify the election results, one of the duties of the secretary of state.

His lawyer plans to ask the U.S. House of Representatives for a ruling.

''This is a bona fide election screwup,'' McCuen's lawyer, John Wesley Hall Jr., said Thursday. ''This is not just sour grapes.''

McCuen's Republican opponent, Jay Dickey, was in Washington on Thursday preparing to begin his first term as 4th District representative. He said he was confident any review of the vote would show that he won.

''The fact that Bill McCuen will not concede defeat is further evidence of how correct the voters were that he's not qualified to fill this position of high public trust,'' Dickey said.

McCuen had ample reason to believe he could win the race. In the Democratic primary, he beat Beryl Anthony, a long-time incumbent and member of the Ways and Means Committee. Then he faced political newcomer Dickey in a district that hadn't elected a Republican since Reconstruction.

In his lawsuit, filed last month, McCuen said voters in his home county, Garland County, were misled by the format of the ballots and defective machines registered more votes than were cast.

He says the 29,878 votes cast in Garland County are enough to change the race's outcome, in which Dickey defeating McCuen 113,315 to 102,337.

McCuen asked Circuit Judge Walter G. Wright to order him not to certify the county's election results, and order a new election in the county or district.

Wright has asked both sides to present arguments on whether the U.S. Constitution pre-empts the state court from deciding the case and places the matter before the House. He set a hearing for Dec. 14 to decide whether to forward the case to Congress.