(Updated: 4:24 p.m.) The Republicans want more answers about voting irregularities in last week’s gubernatorial election, but their candidate, Tom Foley, won’t drag it out.

After a weekend of scrutinizing allegations of fraud, Foley announced at a press conference Monday in Hartford that he’s formally conceding the race.

“The election on Tuesday although very close was a conclusive victory for Dan Malloy. This result should not be questioned. I hope my supporters would accept my word on this,” Foley said. “This race would not have been affected … by what I have learned [took place] in Bridgeport.”

In gracious remarks, he even praised the press for treating him fairly and said that, following the press conference, he planned call and congratulate Malloy.

Democrat Dan Malloy defeated Republican Foley by 5,637 votes in last week’s gubernatorial election, according to the honest-to-goodness (maybe) “official” tally disclosed Friday by a spokesman for Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.

At a 4 p.m. press conference, Malloy called Foley a “tremendously reasonable individual,” and said he understood Foley needed time to analyze the election results. He said the two had a brief, “cordial” conversation.

Foley said that, despite his close loss, he had no regrets about running.

“I made the decision to run for office after concluding that, win or lose, I would be better off for having tried. That has held true,” he said. “It has been an honor to run for governor in Connecticut.”

He also implied that his work in Connecticut isn’t over yet.

“Even though I will not be serving as your governor, I hope to use what I’ve learned to help our great state,” he said.

Thomas MacMillan Photo
Oh yeah — those ballots! Amy Espinosa unsealing those forgotten 335 votes Thursday night. (Thomas MacMillan Photo)

The state Republican Party announced Monday that it has turned up widespread “irregularities and improprieties” in how the voting was conducted in Bridgeport. It has asked the U.S. Attorney and the state’s attorney to investigate. Click here to read the GOP release.

Speaking to reporters before the press conference, state Republican chairman Chris Healy stopped short of alleging that voter fraud had taken place on Nov. 2.

“We believe something occurred that wasn’t right and we’re asking the proper people, who have the tools we don’t have, to investigate it,” he said, adding that the party’s investigation request would stand regardless of what Foley announced.

At the press conference Foley said he will not pursue a legal challenge to exclude the photocopied ballots used in Bridgeport last Tuesday after several polling stations ran out of ballots.

“Despite their irregularity, I do believe [the photocopied ballots] represent legitimate votes of well-intended voters and must be included in Tuesday’s results,” he said.

Foley said that excluding those ballots risks disenfranchising the voters who used them. Nonetheless, he said that, while his team was confident that no voter fraud took place, it was important to conduct some sort of review to figure out what went wrong in Bridgeport.

“I think certainly what happened in Bridgeport should be looked into because, despite what I’ve said today, the spectacle of what happened in Bridgeport does call into question the integrity of voting results here in Connecticut,” he said. “This race, 5,600 votes apart, would not have been affected, in my opinion, based on what we have been able to learn by the results in Bridgeport but had it been closer, and it could have been, it might have called into question the result and that should not happen, particularly here in Connecticut.”

Malloy later said he hopes that people “learned a lesson” on how many ballots to provide on Election Day. That said, “I think if there was a loser in all of the ongoing difficulties” in Bridgeport, “it was probably me.”

Tom Carson, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney, said mid-Monday afternoon that his office had no comment yet.

Click here, here, here, and here for coverage of the mishaps and botched tallies in Bridgeport this past week.