A hotly contested campaign for the Republican nomination in the 11th District congressional race came to an end last night, as Dan Eichenbaum conceded to Jeff Miller in an announcement to his supporters.
“Following the official ballot count, it is clear that there will not be a runoff,” Eichenbaum, a Murphy ophthamologist, wrote in the announcement on his Web site. “I am, therefore, conceding the race to Jeff Miller. The primary was very close do in large part to the small army of supporters and volunteers (many from the Asheville Tea Party and the Cherokee County 9-12) as well as the endorsement by the Asheville Tea PAC, Republican Liberty Caucus, and the Independence Caucus. To these activists for Liberty I send my sincere and heartfelt thanks.”
Miller, a Henderson County businessman, ended election night, on May 4, with 40.17 percent of the vote — barely over the 40 percent required to avoid a run-off election between him and Eichenbaum — and as provisional ballots were counted, that grew to 40.25 percent, compared to Eichenbaum’s 34.21.
The Asheville Tea Party, which fervently supported Eichenbaum’s campaign, called for a run-off on Monday between the two candidates, citing “significant number of claims of occurrences of irregularities” in the primary.
Eichenbaum took Buncombe and seven other counties in the district, but higher Republican turnout in Henderson County (Miller’s base) along with the other six counties he took, ended up being enough for victory. The primary saw a crowded field as well, with six candidates vying for the nomination. For more information, read Xpress correspondent Michael Muller‘s analysis of the race.
Thanking his supporters in the announcement, Eichenbaum professed his hope that Miller would support his platform as he faces Democratic incumbent Rep. Heath Shuler in the general election.
“Although our goal was to win the primary, I do believe that the message of our campaign – limited government, individual freedom, personal responsibility, fiscal restraint, and a free market economy – resonated across a broad spectrum of the voters of our district, including Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, and even some Democrats,” Eichenbaum wrote. “It is my hope that Jeff Miller will stand firm on these issues in his campaign for victory in November.”
— David Forbes, senior reporter