‘It Was a Fight Worth Having’: Lhota Concedes the Mayor’s Race to de Blasio

Joe Lhota gives his concession speech next to his family.

Joe Lhota gives his concession speech next to his family.

After one of the most tumultuous election cycles in New York City history, Joe Lhota took the stage tonight to concede the mayor’s race to Democrat Bill de Blasio, who will be the city’s next mayor after 12 years of Michael Bloomberg leading City Hall.

And, although his fight against Mr. de Blasio was at times bitter, speaking before supporters at the Gansevoort Park Hotel in Manhattan, Mr. Lhota offered a humble look forward.

“We’ve come to the end of a long journey,” he said. “My friends and our fellow New Yorkers have spoken and they have spoken clearly. A little while ago I called Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.” A handful of boos interrupted his speech, causing Mr. Lhota to shut them down: “No. He’s going to be the 109th mayor of the city of New York, a city that we all love–so we should congratulate him.”

“The contest has been long and it’s been difficult. His success alone, however, commands my respect. I urge all New Yorkers in support of me, to join–in not just in congratulating Mayor-elect de Blasio–but offering our next mayor our goodwill,” he continued.

Mr. Lhota’s speech wasn’t completely rosy, however, and he took a modest jab at Mr. de Blasio’s central “Tale of Two Cities” campaign theme, declaring to cheers: “Despite what you may have heard, we are one city.”

“We are five boroughs but we are one city,” Mr. Lhota said. “We are one people. And we want our city to move forward, not backwards. And I do hope our new mayor-elect understands it before it is too late. It is natural to feel some disappointment but tomorrow we must move beyond it. It was a good fight and it was a fight worth having.”

Mr. Lhota ended his speech by insisting he had no regrets about what was always a bit of a long-shot electoral endeavor in a heavily Democratic city; Mr. de Blasio dominated the exit polls, allowing networks to immediately call the race at 9 p.m.

“There will be Monday morning quarterbacking about this campaign,” assured Mr. Lhota. “I’ll leave the post-mortem analysis to others. But let it be known: I will not spend one moment of my future regretting what might have been.”

“Let’s move forward,” he concluded, walking off the stage the same way he walked on: to the tune of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.’”