It is easy to be gracious in victory. The test is whether we are gracious in defeat.
Rob Astorino and I have disagreed on many issues, but throughout this campaign, I have respected his skills as a competitor. I know that he and his family have sacrificed for his service. And as citizens of this great county, all of us should wish him success as he governs Westchester for the next four years. Please join me in giving Rob Astorino a round of applause.
For my part, as the saying goes, I’m too old to cry, and it hurts too much to laugh. But despite my disappointment this evening, I am also filled with gratitude.
I could not have asked more from an incredible staff, who applied themselves to the campaign with intensity and drive, who supported each other as a true team, and who committed themselves to this cause for all the right reasons.
I could not have asked more from old friends and new friends who extended themselves beyond any reasonable claim or expectation, who gave of their time and energy and money and, above all, gave of their trust in remarkable ways.
And I could not have asked more from colleagues in government and politics and labor, who stood up to be counted, who took risks to be part of our effort. I do not take that for granted.
Running against a well-liked and well-financed incumbent is always a tough challenge. The fact that we came as close as we did is a tribute to the extraordinary effort and dedication of so many people here. This was your campaign.
The regret I feel tonight is not for myself, because this has been a remarkable experience, filled with moments that I will always remember and people whom I’ve come to admire. And I get to return to a job that I love, serving the people of New Rochelle.
My regret is that I wasn’t able to bring home the victory that each of you deserved – and that we won’t have an opportunity to make a difference for all the people in our county who need an advocate and a champion. There is so much I wanted to do, and that work will have to wait.
Lastly, I want to thank my family.
My brothers, who have been incredible sources of encouragement, making up for all those times they beat me up when we were younger.
My mother, who after every debate and television appearance could always be counted upon to declare, without any bias whatsoever, that her son was “absolutely magnificent.”
Jeremy and Owen, who were very patient with a dad who was hardly around, who were – mostly – helpful to mom, and who had the good sense to laugh about all those mean ads on television.
Most of all, my wife Catie. It’s not easy to be a candidate in a race of this scale, but it’s much, much harder to be a candidate’s spouse, particularly a spouse with a demanding career of her own. And Catie has borne the entirely unfair burdens of the past year with understanding and grace and only occasional assistance from a bottle of white wine. The best day of my life was the day Catie agreed to marry me, and I’m just lucky that she hasn’t figured out yet what a foolish decision that was.
It has been a long road, and I’ll admit that we’re ready to resume something resembling a normal state of affairs.
But I end this campaign more committed to public service than I have ever been.
And if I can leave you with just one request, it is not let the disappointment of a single evening discourage you from remaining engaged. For all the superficiality and theatrics of politics, there is also at its heart a majesty that is worth fighting for. Our values do not rise and fall on one victory or one defeat, they endure and take new form in every season and every debate. And the cause for which every one of us worked will be just as important tomorrow as it is today.
Thank you, and God bless you all.