Whether one likes him or not the gold standard for candidate concession speeches was Al Gore following his gut-wrenching, Flordia vote counting loss in 2000. It was the epitome of class and decency.
Contrast his approach with two on Tuesday night in Arizona, Wendy Rogers and Fred Duval.
This was her statement.
“I want to thank my friends, family, and volunteers for standing by me in this race, and I want to thank the citizens of the 9th District for all of their kind words over the past several months. I ran for Congress because of my concern over the direction America is heading in, and I hope that, for the good of our country, Congress will work to turn our nation around and put a stop to the Obama agenda.”
No mention of her opponent, Kyrsten Sinema. No congratulations to her.
There is a time for the fight. And there is a time for kudos. Great boxers typically gather in the middle of the ring and hug after prolonged battle. Gladiators of the NFL shake hands after a game. The player acknowledgements after the Stanley Cup has been won are laudable.
Candidates should be likewise. But many aren’t. Thankfully, voters tend to get such deficiencies before Election Night. They clearly understood so with the anemic Rogers, who will not be mistaken for Ms. Manners any time soon.
And that brings us to Fred Duval. Long known for being a gentleman, even criticized for being too much of one in his battle with Governor-elect Ducey, his concession speech was a clunker.
Look, we can all agree being the recipient of millions of “dark money” attacks is no fun and leaves a mark. But it was nothing compared to Al Gore’s agony. Or John McCain’s in 2008 when he too was gracious after losing to Obama.
That’s why his potshots at Ducey during his concession displayed a surprising tone deafness. The rules were the same for both candidates. DuVal had been targeting this race for years. He is no neophyte. He simply got beat.
And then he abandoned the type of class his former boss showed . . . Al Gore