To an intimate group of key, close campaign workers, a few family members and a handful of reporters, City Council President Bill Pantele has conceded the race for mayor of the city of Richmond to Delegate Dwight Jones.
“Richmond is going through a lot of changes,” he says in his speech at the Holiday Inn on the Boulevard, “and we had a historic election this election season. It's the first time we've had a real contested mayoral election. It was a hard-fought race. It was a clean race. At the conclusion of this race, the outcome was very, very close.”
Even as Pantele gives his speech, election officials are still working to count and certify some 12,000 absentee ballots in the registrar's office of the city of Richmond. Regardless of what those ballots show, Pantele says, he made the decision to call Jones to concede.
“I simply can't put the city of Richmond through a protracted battle,” Pantele says. “I've given it all that I have because of my love for this city.”
In talking with Jones, Pantele says, “I committed to work with him ... to take this city forward. It's the right thing to do. Richmonders expect that of me.”
Lawyer Robert J. Grey Jr., who came in a strong third, conceded earlier in the night. Lawrence E. Williams Sr. won a sliver of votes; Paul Goldman had dropped out before Election Day.
Pantele, a lawyer, gave up his City Council seat to run for mayor, so he won't hold an elected citywide office for at least another four years. When asked, he says he isn't interested in holding a position in the Jones administration.
“My service to the city is not over,” he says. “We'll see what comes down the pike in the appropriate time.”