Speaking to a full house on Tuesday night, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum tearfully ended his pursuit to becomes Florida's first Black governor. The hotly contested race between him and President Donald Trump surrogate Ron DeSantis saw endorsements from Barack Obama and singer Rihanna.

Gillum, 39, delivered his concession speech shortly after 11 p.m. EST, three hours after polls closed in the state's panhandle region. 

"I still believe, I still trust the voters," Gillum said as he choked back tears. "We may not have all shown up in the way that we thought and hoped that we would. But I still believe that there are still more of us who believe in what is common and what is decent and what is right. And I believe that in the long run good always wins out over evil."

According to NBC News, exit polls revealed that 92 percent of Trump supporters and 85 percent of conservatives supported DeSantis in his gubernatorial bid. Gillum's loss on Tuesday means that for a sixth straight election, the top office in Florida is held by a Republican.

Even though polls leading up to Tuesday's election saw Gillum holding a narrow lead over his opponent, DeSantis' close relationship with Trump ultimately proved to be the decision-maker between the two. While Gillum took a more traditional approach to his campaign by holding town halls in smaller counties and attending dinners hosted by civic groups across the state, DeSantis shamelessly ran his campaign from the seats of Fox News, making regular appearances advocating for Trump's policies. 

From the beginning of the campaign, it was clear that Gillum's race would be the focal point of the election. In an August appearance on Fox News, DeSantis was quoted saying that "the last thing we need to do is to monkey this up." While a campaign spokesperson told MSNBC News the comment had nothing to do with Gillum's race, it was obvious that DeSantis' rhetoric would partly constitute hurling insults at Gillum.

In his conceding remarks, Gillum encouraged his supporters not to wallow in the agony of defeat but instead wake up the next morning and declare, "We still deserve a seat at the table."

"It’s not about me. It's about all of us. It's about the collective. It's about that if we all do good, we can do good," he closed. "Even in defeat, I believe that to be true."


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