RALEIGH, N.C. (AP, WNCN) — North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has conceded to Republican Paul Newby in their extremely close election after two rounds of recounts saw little change in the vote margin between them.

Beasley said she called Newby on Saturday to congratulate him. Newby had led Beasley by 401 votes from almost 5.4 million ballots cast after a statewide machine recount was completed last week. Beasley then requested a hand recount of ballots.

Newby is the senior associate justice. Beasley became the first Black female chief justice in North Carolina when Gov. Roy Cooper appointed her last year.

Beasley issued the following statement Saturday morning:

“Today, I called Justice Newby to congratulate him on winning the election for Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court,” Beasley said, in a statement shared on Twitter. “I offer my very best to him and his family as he moves into that new role.

My enduring gratitude belongs to the dedicated volunteers, staff, and supporters who allowed me to join them in helping to move North Carolina forward. Their impact will echo far beyond a single year, campaign, or election. For that, and so much more, I am grateful.

In an election of historic circumstances and unprecedented margins, I also offer my deepest thanks to the dedicated Board of Elections officials across the state who have worked tirelessly to protect and reaffirm the integrity of our most sacred democratic institution. Their professionalism and dedication are a credit to our state and set a standard for the nation.

I have tried my best as your Chief Justice to honor the opportunity set before me. I have tried not just to speak the truth, but to live it, to not simply be an expert in the law, but an advocate for equity, to apply the tools of justice to the cause of equality. My hope is that those values will continue to define North Carolina’s highest court as it meets the challenges of the future.

To serve this state and the people of North Carolina has been the greatest honor of my life.”