Andrew Gillum, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Florida—and the first African-American candidate to do so—announced his concession to his Republican opponent, former Rep. Ron DeSantis, on Saturday.
“R. Jai and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Mr. DeSantis on becoming the next governor of the great state of Florida,” Gillum said in a Facebook video, standing next to his wife. “This has been the journey of our lives. We’ve been so honored by the support that we received from people really all the way across the country. R. Jai and I know that we could not have done this by ourselves. We wouldn’t be here today were it were not for all who poured into us, who supported us, who encouraged us all along the way.”
According to Politico, Gillum had gained just one net vote following an automatic recount that ended on Thursday, making the margin against DeSantis a mere 0.41 percentage points.
Gillum faced scrutiny for conceding in such a close race on Election Night, but he withdrew his concession once late-counted ballots brought him to within 33,000 votes.
“I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote,” he said, after election officials in Florida ordered a recount in three statewide contests.
While Gillum clung to the hope that lawsuits filed by Sen. Bill Nelson in his own race would uncover more votes, they unfortunately failed to materialize.
Results for the 2018 Florida midterm election are scheduled to be certified Tuesday.
“We said we would fight until the last vote is counted.” Gillum said in his Facebook video. “We are now closing out the hand recount phase in two of the statewide races.” Gillum said in a Facebook video address, referencing both Nelson’s contest and Nikki Fried’s race for agriculture commissioner.
“We wanted to make sure that every single vote including those that were undervotes, overvotes, as long as it was a legally cast vote we wanted those votes to be counted,” Gillum said. “Now that we are rounding that process out, R. Jai and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Mr. DeSantis on becoming the governor of the great state of Florida.”
Of particular note, the 39-year-old Gillum had come closer to beating a Republican gubernatorial candidate than anyone else in the past 20 years.
So while he didn’t emerge victorious in this bid, hopefully we’ll see him running for office again in the near future.
“Congratulations to Andrew Gillum on having run a really tough and competitive race for Governor of the Great State of Florida,” President Trump tweeted. “He will be a strong Democrat warrior long into the future - a force to reckon with!”