updated 11/24/2009 6:12:23 PM ET 2009-11-24T23:12:23

The Conservative Party candidate conceded a race in upstate New York for a U.S. House of Representatives seat for the second time Tuesday, saying he doesn't have enough votes.

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Last week, Doug Hoffman withdrew his election night concession to Democratic Rep. Bill Owens, saying the race was close enough that absentee ballots could change the outcome.

Now Hoffman says he has no hope of winning.

The final ballot count hasn't been tallied and certified, but Owens was leading Hoffman Tuesday by about 3,000 votes out of more than 136,000 cast.

Owens was sworn in Nov. 6.

Hoffman had started the race as a long-shot candidate labeled as a spoiler. With support from big-name Republicans including Sarah Palin, Hoffman built enough support to force the Republican Party's candidate out of the race.

Hoffman sent a letter to supporters last week seeking money for a legal challenge of the outcome. The Federal Election Commission said recount funds are legal, but the contributions would have to meet campaign finance limits, and if the money isn't used for a recount it would have to be refunded.

A spokesman for Hoffman said the campaign didn't know whether it had received any funds or would be returning any money.

The rural upstate region had been represented by Republicans for more than a century.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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