SAN DIEGO – Republican Carl DeMaio on Sunday conceded defeat to incumbent Scott Peters in one of the nation’s most hotly contested congressional races to represent a large part of San Diego, ending a bitter campaign that was rocked by claims that he sexually harassed a former staffer.

DeMaio, who is openly gay, said he will work within his party to make it more inclusive, echoing a theme of his campaign. He was not more specific about his plans but said the campaign was “incredibly painful” and left him wary about electoral politics.

“It’s clear that we are falling short in the vote counts and I wish Mr. Peters the best because I care so much about the interests of San Diego,” he told The Associated Press. “I’m incredibly proud of the inclusive and diverse campaign coalition that we forged and I remain committed to challenging the Republican Party to become more inclusive and more positive in its efforts to build a governing majority.”

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