Christopher Shays conceded the U.S. Senate race to endorsed republican candidate Linda McMahon about 8:30 p.m. by phone from his campaign headquarters in Stratford.
“I congratulated her on her victory,” he told the news media and his staff. “I told her she has my vote and my support and I said, ‘This is your moment,’ and she should enjoy the moment. This is the pennant. It’s not the World Series, as we all know.”
“I did not respect how she conducted the race,” he added. “I think avoiding the press and not meeting with editorial boards and not being willing to debate is not something I can respect. But her positions and my positions are not that far apart, and that’s what I’ll focus on. As my dad said, you magnify the good.”
When asked whether he plans to retire from politics, Shays said: “No. No, I don’t plan to retire, but I don’t know what ‘no’ means.”
Excerpts from Shays’ concession speech:
On gratitude and cautious optimism: “I am so humbly grateful to my staff who worked morning, noon and night for this campaign over the last 10 months. I am so grateful to the volunteers who worked morning, noon and night. I can’t even begin to tell you. I’m grateful to the press for the interaction that we had and the respect that you showed me. I’m grateful to the public that encouraged me. In fact, over the last three weeks I began to feel the momentum turn upward and I said, ‘You know, we could win this thing,’ so I am a little surprised that the election was called so soon. So, obviously we weren’t as close as we were hoping. But I had so many people that were just … lifting my wings and just making me feel we could do it.”
On the November election: “What Betsi and I are going to do from now until the November election is we are going to get out and help these republicans win. We are gonna go door to door. We are gonna campaign with them at supermarkets. We’re gonna be on the phone calling, and I’ll worry about making a salary after the election. I am absolutely and totally committed to the Romney and Ryan team … I really believe that republicans can win this state.”