Kevin Williams conceded the Republican nomination for Kane County sheriff Wednesday afternoon to Don Kramer, who was ahead by 371 votes, according to unofficial results.
Williams spent the day investigating how many absentee ballots still had to be counted and realized it was impossible to close the gap.
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"There wasn't enough absentee ballots. I called up Don up and conceded," said Williams, a lieutenant in the Kane County sheriff's office.
"It was a nice conversation between the two of us. I congratulated him and wished him well," said Williams, who earned the GOP nod in 2006 but lost the general election to Sheriff Pat Perez, who is not seeking a third term.
Kramer will face Democrat Willie Mayes Sr. on Nov. 4 for the 4-year post.
Both men have law enforcement experience; Kramer retired as a lieutenant from the Kane County sheriff's department in 2009 and lost the 2010 election to Perez, while Mayes is a sergeant in the sheriff's department.
At the end of Tuesday, unofficial vote totals had Kramer ahead by 337 votes.
That changed Wednesday morning after 353 Republican absentee ballots were counted and the Kane County clerk's office ran a second, different vote-tallying program.
With Kramer's lead up to 371 votes and fewer than 240 total outstanding absentee ballots in Kane County and the Aurora Election Commission, Williams realized a comeback was impossible.
Earlier in the day, Williams said he wanted to wait until all the absentee and provisional ballots were counted, a task that has an April 1 deadline.
"Never give up, We're still in the race," Williams said at the time.
Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham has until April 8 to certify the election results.
Because the race was close, Williams also could have asked for a partial recount of 25 percent of the 291 combined precincts in Kane County and Aurora, Cunningham said.
Instead, Williams thanked his supporters and said he hopes to work with Kramer going forward.
"There just wasn't the numbers. We didn't see how we could pull it off. It was best to concede and let (Kramer) work," Williams said. "It was a very close race. We ran a good campaign. I don't know what else we could have done. We knocked on 9,000 doors."