Republican congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle stepped out of the federal office building in downtown Syracuse this afternoon, gave county party chair Tom Dadey a hug, and conceded the race for New York's 24th Congressional District to Democrat Dan Maffei.
The concession comes three days after the election.
Flanked by her staff, Buerkle thanked her central New York constituents and said serving them the past two years has been one of the highest honors of her life.
"I thank you for the privilege of being your voice in Washington," she said. "I remain more convinced now than ever, that the greatness in this nation lies within the American people."
Buerkle congratulated the Green Party candidate in the race, Ursula Rozum, for a positive campaign. She did not mention Maffei, who claimed victory Wednesday afternoon.
She called Maffei to concede shortly before giving her remarks.
Solving the country's problems will be done by its citizens, not the government, Buerkle said.
"I strongly encourage you to be vigilant and hold your representatives accountable. Remember, they work for you."
Buerkle began her three minute speech by saying it was tough to overcome the overwhelming support for President Barack Obama in Onondaga County.
Buerkle trails Maffei by more than 14,000 votes. With about 21,000 absentee and military ballots distributed, Buerkle would of had to gain four out every five of those to make up the deficit.
"This community was very lucky and fortunate to have Ann Marie Buerkle as their congressperson for the last two years," Dadey said this afternoon. "She is someone who went to Washington and fought for what she believed in for the future of this country."
Buerkle will finish out one term in Congress. She knocked Maffei out of the post in 2010 by 648 votes.
Buerkle's entire concession speech: