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UPDATE: Finkenauer concedes, Hinson notes she'll work with her on transition

U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer conceded her seat to Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson on Wednesday afternoon in a close race in Iowa's First District.

Finkenauer's campaign sent a statement just before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, noting she called Hinson to concede.

Despite a vote differential of more than 10,000 Tuesday night, according to the Iowa Secretary of State, Finkenauer's campaign noted late Tuesday they were waiting for more results to come in.

The Associated Press called the race in Hinson's favor Wednesday morning.

"While it's important to review all available election data and ensure every vote is counted, I respect our democratic process and the will of the voters," Finkenauer said in a prepared statement.

"I love our state and our country, and I still believe in the promise of a democracy that represents and serves the interests of its constituents," she continued. "We must never give up hope that we can be an Iowa and a country defined by compassion, empathy, grit and determination to get things done."

Hinson, the Republican challenger, won 211,573 votes to Finkenauer's 200,814 votes, with all 20 counties in the First District reporting, according to the secretary of state. That's a difference of 10,759 votes.

The three most populous counties in the district -- Black Hawk, Dubuque and Linn -- went for Finkenauer, but not by high enough margins to make up for lopsided Hinson wins in many of the smaller counties.

Finkenauer noted it had been "an honor and a privilege" to serve in the U.S. House for the last two years, and she planned to help Hinson with the transition.

She also said she wouldn't be cooling her heels in her final months in office, noting that "much work remains."

"I am committed to delivering for the people of the First District and the state of Iowa," she noted. "The pandemic continues. Derecho recovery goes on. We have work to do, and I intend to do it."

The Iowa Democratic Party praised Finkenauer in a statement after her concession Wednesday.

"Abby Finkenauer is a trailblazer and proven leader who fought tirelessly for Iowans in the First District," chairperson Mark Smith said in a statement. "Although the outcome of the election was not what we had hoped, I know that this is just the beginning of Abby's work for families across our state.

"The mission to create a brighter future for Iowans continues, and I am confident that Abby will be a crucial part of it."

Hinson thanked Finkenauer in remarks live on her Facebook page Wednesday afternoon, after Finkenauer conceded but before the presidential race was called.

"We had a good chat about what Congress is going to be like," Hinson said. "There are a lot of constituent challenges because of the derecho that are in process right now, so we're going to be working together -- my team and her team -- to make sure that Iowans are best served in this transition."

As her husband and two young sons stood beside her, Hinson noted she would begin a weekly press call, similar to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, and was potentially interested in the House committees of budget and transportation.

"I'm going to work hard every day to be an accessible representative who listens, who does their due diligence on all the issues and still plays Mom sometimes back here at home," Hinson said.

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Reporter covering Waterloo, Black Hawk Co. and politics

UNI political communications/journalism grad. Alum of The Calumet (MCC), The Northern Iowan (UNI), Fergus Falls (Minn.) Daily Journal and KWWL. 4-time award-winner while at The Courier. Interested in exposing wrongdoing and holding power to account.

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