UPDATED 1:51 p.m. CT
Two weeks after the midterm elections, Republicans have scored another win. Illinois Democrat Melissa Bean conceded to Tea Party favorite Joe Walsh Tuesday, in the very close race to represent Illinois' 8th Congressional District.
According to a statement from Bean spokeswoman Gabby Adler, Bean called Walsh to congratulate him on becoming the 8th's next representative Tuesday night after returning home from Washington.
Though Walsh led Bean by a small margin since Nov. 2, the incumbent wanted to wait until absentee and provisional ballots were counted before giving up. The ballots were finished this week, and Walsh led Bean by about 300 votes.
Walsh declared himself the winner on election night, but was happy about the concession.
"We're ecstatic," Walsh said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "The finality is wonderful and I'm humbled and we're excited to move on. It's been a good day."
In a press conference Wednesday morning, Bean said she never underestimated Walsh, who won despite being vastly outspent during the campaign.
She also said she did not regret her vote for President Obama's health care package, even though Walsh used the issue to slam her throughout the campaign, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Bean's loss likely came as a surprise to many. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not provide Bean with extra financial assistance as the campaign drew to a close since Walsh's campaign had been tarnished--and Republicans distanced themselves from him.
[Walsh's] campaign manager quit, then sued him for $20,000 in nonpayment. The national GOP considered his campaign a dead loss and refused to fund it; a former Eagles guitarist threatened to sue for copyright infringement over a song on Walsh's website.
Further, the 8th congressional candidate was criticized for not disclosing his Evanston condominium had gone into foreclosure, and two top-level staffers quit, claiming an exodus of volunteers went with them.
"Everybody would admit that it was a race that wasn't on anybody's radar," Illinois Republican Party chairman Pat Brady told the Sun-Times Wednesday. "We made a mistake."
Bean's reputation wasn't exactly stellar, either. She is considered by many to be too cozy with Wall Street, accepting hefty campaign contributions from the the finance, insurance and real estate industries. Also, Bean's district is traditionally Republican. Though she served three terms representing the suburban Chicago district, it was represented by Republicans for 35 years prior to that.
But, the job loss might not be too hard on Bean. The Huffington Post reported last week that she could become the first head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.WATCH Bean's concession speech here: