Congressional candidate Nate McMurray conceded defeat to Rep. Chris Collins in the race for New York's 27th Congressional District Monday, nearly three weeks after the election.
Despite losing, McMurray said he would run again when the timing is right.
"It was a hard decision," said McMurray, surrounded by his campaign team and other supporters at his Democratic election headquarters on South Park Avenue in Hamburg.
"A huge part of me wants to continue to fight. I can't just fake it. I can't smile and pretend that everything that went down for the last year was OK. So my concession comes with a warning: Mr. Collins, you won by the slimmest of margins, less than half a percent in a district that was designed to ensure that anyone with an 'R' next to his name, even an indicted criminal, would win a decisive victory," McMurray added.
McMurray's announcement Monday came after election commissioners in Erie County last week said the latest tally of votes – including absentee ballots – made it "mathematically impossible" for McMurray to win.
Collins narrowly won a fourth term despite a federal indictment on insider trading charges.
The congressman's campaign spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre released a statement through Twitter on Monday.
"This was a hard fought race and Congressman Collins is already back to work. He appreciates the support of voters across the 27th Congressional District and looks forward to ensuring our region's voice is heard in Congress," the statement read.
McMurray said he has been inspired by the thousands who supported him. He said he will continue his fight for the people of the 27th Congressional District by launching an effort called "Fight Like Hell" to support candidates.
"We're going to use this organization to organize. I'm going to take the thousands of people we've met, the hundreds of people we've worked together with, and we're going to pay it forward," McMurray said. "We're going to find ways to work to give people who feel disenfranchised and apathetic about politics a way to get involved."
"I want more people to run for office, regular people, not millionaires, not people who cheat the system, but decent and kind people," he said.
McMurray, 43, the Grand Island town supervisor, said he wants to encourage a better system of accountability for people in the district.
"So we're going to do things like hold town halls. And whether Mr. Collins wants to do that, or not, we don't care. He can show up to our town halls, if he wants. Beyond that, Mr. Collins' future in Washington remains murky. He says that he will finish his term but, as we know, he's not the best at keeping promises," McMurray said.
Alluding to Collins' current legal situation, McMurray suggested there might be another opportunity for him to run in a 27th Congressional District race before Collins' term is over.
"When the time is right, I will run for office again," McMurray said.