Andrew Gillum, the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee running for governor of Florida, on Saturday conceded the contentious race to his Republican opponent Ron DeSantis.
Gillum appeared in a Facebook video with his wife, R. Jai Gillum, to acknowledge his loss ― by a margin of just 0.41 percentage points.
“We said that we would fight until the last vote is counted. We wanted to make sure that every single vote ― including those that were overvotes, undervotes ― as long as those were legally cast, we wanted those votes to be counted,” Gillum began.
“And now that we are rounding that process out, R. Jai and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Mr. DeSantis for becoming the next governor of the great state of Florida,” he said.
Gillum posted the video 11 days after the 2018 midterm elections, when tight margins between the two candidates triggered an automatic machine recount. Although the candidate conceded to DeSantis after the Nov. 6 election, he rescinded his words as it became apparent that a recount was necessary.
The state’s similarly close U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott remains officially undecided. A second, manual recount is underway in that contest, because the margin following the initial machine recount was still too narrow by state standards.
“Nobody wanted to be governor more than me, but this was not just about an election cycle,” Gillum said in the video posted Saturday. “This was about creating the kind of change in this state that really allows for the voices of everyday people to show up again in our government, in our state and in our communities.”
“More than 4 million of you decided that you wanted a different direction for the state of Florida,” he said, adding that he and his wife remain committed to the campaign’s values.
In a tweet following Gillum’s concession, DeSantis wrote, “Now it’s time to bring Florida together.”