DOWNTOWN — Ted Winterer, a candidate for City Council who came 56 votes short of winning a seat in November’s election, on Friday said he would not challenge the results by asking for a recount.

Winterer received 12,719 votes to place fourth in a contest for three four-year council seats. Incumbent Bob Holbrook came in third with 12,775 votes and will be sworn in for a sixth term on Dec. 7. The vote gap between the candidates amounted to just .08 percent of those cast in the contest.

Winterer said an analysis of the error rate in the machine-generated tally versus a hand count of ballots in five Santa Monica precincts completed this week indicated any discrepancies would be insufficient to overcome Holbrook’s lead.

“We looked long and hard at the county’s report of uncounted vote-by-mail and provisional ballots to see if a challenge of these ballots might yield a different election result and could not find enough potential new votes to affect the outcome,” he said in a statement.

“I congratulate Councilmember Holbrook on his victory and thank him for his graciousness and good cheer during what has been a difficult month for both of us,” Winterer said on Friday. “We ran a campaign of which we’re proud. We obtained just about every endorsement we sought, reached our fundraising goals, mailed campaign literature throughout the city and spoke personally with thousands of voters. I hope the City Council will pay heed to the issues I’ve raised and the concerns of my supporters.”

Winterer was also the runner-up in the 2008 council election. His name surfaced both times during the past two years when the council appointed new members to fill vacancies created by two council members’ deaths, but he was passed over both times.

He said he plans to continue his community involvement by serving on the Planning Commission, a role he said is “a great honor and a significant responsibility.”

While he said it’s too early to think about a possible third council bid in 2012, this year’s campaign, if nothing else, has given him a newfound appreciation for tough breaks.

A moment that crystallized the experience came while sitting in the stands at a recent playoff soccer match between his alma mater, Dartmouth, and UCLA. With the teams tied 1-1 in the second overtime period, he watched as UCLA scored the winning goal with 9 seconds remaining.

“I don’t think there was anyone in that stadium that had greater empathy for what Dartmouth was going through than I did,” he said.

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