Kathleen Ford's concession speech
ST. PETERSBURG -- Kathleen Ford conceded the mayoral race to Bill Foster about 8 p.m. Here's her concession speech to about 200 supporters at the Garden Club of St. Petersburg:
“Well, first of all let me inform you all that I’ve called Mr. Bill Foster and I congratulated him," said Ford, her family lined up behind her in support. "He is now our new mayor of St. Petersburg.”
The crowd responded with some "awwws" and more "boos."
“Well that’s okay, though. We know Bill, and Bill and I have gotten along just fine, contrary to his (campaign) pieces.”
The crowd chuckled a bit at the jab.
“What I’m so very, very proud of is our campaign. (Applause.) I’m so proud of our campaign because we focused on the very important issues facing the city of St. Petersburg, and during our campaign we made a difference."
Then Ford thanked her union supporters, especially the city's firefighters' union: "Where are our wonderful firefighters and union folks? (Applause.)
“During this campaign, we made the issues count and we made that a part of this campaign, and so I’m very, very pleased with our effort. I’m sad, and a little disappointed with the outcome, but extremely thrilled with the amount of volunteer support and the amount of financial support, especially in these tough economic times.
“Of course, none of us are going away. We’re right here, and we are going to continue to keep an eye on our government to make sure that it’s open, accessible, accountable and certainly affordable, and I know that I can count on you to help me make sure that we really are heading this ship in the right direction.
"It was an enormous, enormous pleasure working with all of you to really put this campaign forward. And so I’m extremely proud of your efforts and grateful -- very, very grateful for all of your support. Thank you and enjoy, you really worked hard for it.”
That was followed by one last standing ovation for the candidate.
Jamal Thalji, Times Staff Writer