Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin announced Friday that his campaign is stopping the hand recount of ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race but is still considering appealing his federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Poliquin pointed out that he captured the most votes on Election Day – a fact that has never been in question – but said he is ending the recount. With more than 40 percent of the recount complete, Poliquin had yet to pick up a substantial number of votes in the ranked-choice runoff that would allow him to surpass Democratic Congressman-elect Jared Golden.

“Although we continue to evaluate the legal process and the need for an appeal on the constitutionality of rank voting, due to the impending holidays, I believe it is important to end the recount process,” Poliquin said. “There continue to be unanswered questions on the use of rank voting, including ballots which voters state appeared in the wrong congressional district. Maine people continue to write and approach me with grave concerns over rank voting. I understand their concerns and the need for our elections to be transparent and fair.”

Poliquin, a two-term Republican, trails Golden by more than 3,500 votes following the nation’s first use of ranked-choice voting to decide a congressional election.

On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker rejected Poliquin’s claims that the ranked-choice process – which has been approved twice at the ballot box by Maine voters – violated the equal protection, due process and First Amendment clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

This story will be updated.

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