SAVANNAH, Ga. — The losing Democrat in Georgia's runoff election for secretary of state says he wishes his Republican rival "every success" as the state's new elections chief.

Former congressman John Barrow conceded the race in a statement Wednesday. He was defeated in the Tuesday runoff by Republican state Rep. Brad Raffensperger, who'll take over as secretary of state in January.

Barrow had said earlier Wednesday he wasn't ready to concede because there were still outstanding absentee votes to be counted.

The Georgia race gained an unusual amount of attention this fall after as Democrats complained the previous secretary of state, GOP Gov.-elect Brian Kemp, used the office to suppress votes and improve his odds of victory.

Kemp strongly denies those allegations, pointing to big increases in voter registration during his tenure and record turnout in the midterm elections.