Attorney John Stephens on Friday conceded the Costa Mesa City Council race to longtime incumbent Gary Monahan.
Though not every ballot had been counted, Monahan held a 138-vote lead over Stephens in the race for one of three open seats, according to the Orange County Registrar of Voters.
"For me, it appears that the counting is over for all practical purposes, and that I narrowly didn't get on the City Council," Stephens said. "I congratulate Sandy Genis, Steve Mensinger and Gary Monahan and wish the city and the City Council the best."
Monahan could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
The election has not yet been certified.
Monahan had 13,809 votes to Stephens' 13,671, according to the registrar's office, which was still counting provisional ballots from the Nov. 6 election.
The council term will be Monahan's fifth. The restaurateur and Eastside resident campaigned alongside Mensinger, also an incumbent, and Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy as the "3Ms" slate, a reference to the first letter in each of their last names.
Stephens, who campaigned alongside former Mayor Genis — who earned the most votes at 15,807 — and businessman Harold Weitzberg as the "Top 3" slate, has said the afternoons since Nov. 6 are like the "5 o'clock flop," as in every day at that time eyes look to see the updated registrar data online.
Mensinger came in second place with 14,065 votes.
Registrar Neal Kelley said his team, which has been working nonstop, is hoping to have the votes certified by Nov. 21. But it could happen the weekend after Thanksgiving, he said.
He estimated there are about 50,000 ballots left to count countywide, with the number going down every day.