If any supporters were holding out for a last-minute upset as election results trickled in, Democrat Bill White quickly defused that hope as he spoke to them at the Hilton Americas ballroom tonight.
“Throughout the night you will see the margin narrow … and it might narrow dramatically, but it looks as thought the early-vote margin may be too difficult to overcome,” he said.
Instead White, who trailed Gov. Rick Perry by almost a half million votes with less than 20 percent of the precincts reporting, challenged Texans to support Perry as he “worked to move Texas forward.”
In his 10-minute concession speech, White appeared most emotional when he acknowledged his supporters and family but did not stray from the no-nonsense demeanor he has reflected during the last year on the campaign trail. He asked for a grassroots effort to help move Texas past the bitter divide embraced by Democrats and Republicans this election year.
“To those Texans [who voted], I want to tell you that your work is not finished as citizens,” he said. “If we want to improve our schools, honor our veterans, make our communities safe and protect our borders then it is more than just the governor’s job, or the job of the Legislature or those writing laws. It’s part of each of our jobs and responsibility.”
White, after lambasting Perry last month for addressing President Barack Obama in common form and leaving out his title as president, made a plea for his supporters to respect the man who defeated him Tuesday — but not without one last reminder that leaders in Washington deserve the same.
“To those who supported me please recognize that every governor of our state deserves respect, and to those who supported Rick Perry in his campaign please understand that all of our elected leaders, including our national leaders, deserve respect.”
The former mayor of Houston, a city he said he would return to for work in the private sector, didn’t completely rule out another shot at public office. When asked if he could say without a doubt that he would leave politics, he only smiled and said, “It’s my last race for public office in 2010.”