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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After a hotly contested race, Charlie Crist conceded defeat to Governor Rick Scott in a brief speech to supporters in a nearly empty ballroom in a St. Petersburg resort shortly before midnight.
“I called Governor Scott and I congratulated him. I wish him the best,” Crist told those in attendance.
It’s was a speech Crist did not want to deliver. He was hoping to eek out a last minute victory in his race for the Governor’s mansion — but he fell short.
“When the gap got to 100,000 I figured I should do the right thing,” said Crist.
Initially, the Crist camp refused to concede saying there were more absentee ballots out in Miami-Dade and Broward. But it soon became evident that he just did not have the numbers.
“This was a tough election and I understand that and I wish Governor Scott the best and his family,” said Crist.
In the end it was a heartfelt thank you to supporters and a call for people to work together.
“I will never forget you, I will always be indebted to you. You are the most wonderful friends a person can ever hope for,” said Crist. “God bless you and God bless our beautiful Florida. Thank you.”
Scott defeated Crist by a margin of approximately 71,000 votes; Scott received 48.3 percent to Crist’s 47 percent.
Analysts say Crist lost because he was not able to turn Dade and Broward voters out in large enough numbers. In 2010 Alex Sink won Dade and Broward by 200,881 votes. In 2014 Charlie Crist won Dade and Broward by 275,217 votes.
While Crist did much better getting South Florida to vote, it wasn’t enough.
In order to win, Crist would have had to come closer to the level President Obama reached in 2012 when he won Dade and Broward by 472,670 votes.
In his victory speech, Scott made it clear that the next four years will be very much like the last four – his focus will be on jobs.
“Florida is on a mission and that mission is to keep growing and to become the very best place in the world to get a job, to raise a family and live the American dream,” Scott told supporters in Bonita Springs.
Scott said after such a nasty and negative campaign he was ready to put all that aside.
“Tomorrow, however, marks a new day. It’s time to put all the division behind us and come together. Forget about all the partisanship,” said Scott.
But in the end the governor with the mantra of “Let’s Get to Work” said he is ready to do so again.
“Texas likes to brag about being number one in job creation but we are on their heels and we will become number one,” said Scott.
Republican leaders said the victory for Scott was a validation of his efforts to create jobs and create a favorable climate for businesses. They said Scott’s re-election showed his policies were working for Floridians.
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