Following a machine recount that failed to move him closer to becoming governor, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum conceded — for the second time — to Republican Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis’ 33,683-vote edge over Gillum was the closest general-election victory in a governor’s race in modern history in Florida.
In a Facebook video posted Saturday evening, Gillum, accompanied by his wife, R. Jai, thanked supporters and conceded, as he did on election night, the race to his opponent.
“We said that we would fight until the last vote is counted. Obviously, we are now closing out the hand recount phase in two of the statewide races,” Gillum said, adding that he wanted to make sure that “as long as it was a legally cast vote, we wanted those votes to be counted.”
Gillum’s announcement came hours before a 12 p.m. deadline for a manual recount in the races for U.S. Senate and agriculture commissioner.
“Now that we are rounding that process out, 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.
The contest between Desantis, who had the backing of President Donald Trump, and Gillum, who was trying to make history as the Florida’s first black governor, was one of the most closely watched governor’s races in the nation. Gillum drew the support of progressive billionaires, including George Soros and Tom Steyer, and former President Barack Obama joined him on the campaign trail days before the Nov. 6 election.
Trump, who had repeatedly blasted Gillum on Twitter prior to the election and who called the Tallahassee mayor a “stone-cold thief,” showed the Democrat some presidential love, at least by Trump standards, following the release of the video.
“This election may be beyond us,” Gillum said, pausing and looking at his wife.
“Although nobody wanted to be governor more than me, this was not just about an election cycle,” Gillum, wearing an orange FAMU jacket, said. “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, in our communities.”
Despite losing the election, the 39-year-old Democrat made it clear his political career isn’t over.
“We know that this fight continues,” Gillum said. “More than 4 million of you decided that you wanted a different direction for the state of Florida. We want you to know that we see you, that we hear you, and that your voices will continue to power us as we still stand on the front lines, right alongside you, to make this a state that works for all of us.”