Smitherman responds in defeat

George Smitherman held his head high in defeat.

After finishing in second place to Rob Ford in Toronto’s mayoral election, Smitherman was gracious during his concession address to campaign supporters.

Speaking on stage at The Guvernment nightclub in Toronto, Smitherman said that Torontonians made a statement with their decision to elect Rob Ford.

“The people of Toronto have spoken, and tonight, my friends, they have sent a very clear message,” he said.

Smitherman had no harsh words for Ford during his speech. He said he had just spoken with the mayor-elect and offered him sincere congratulations.

“Like me, I’m sure that the City that (Ford) sought to change has, in fact , changed him… Differences aside, as a Torontonian who loves my city, I hope for your success, Rob,” Smitherman said.

When that remark elicited a smattering of jeers in the audience, Smitherman admonished the gathering.

“No, no, no. Toronto is too important. There are no boos tonight — We love our city,” he said.

At several points throughout his concession speech, Smitherman appeared visibly emotional, particularly when joined onstage by his husband and his young son.

“It’s been an incredibly long campaign that started way back on Jan. 8, when I walked into City Hall and registered to run for mayor. Since then, 290 days have passed – it feels like a lifetime,” Smitherman said, nearly breaking into tears.

“But I’ve loved every minute of it.”