Vital’s concession leaves Gardenhire facing Chattanooga City Councilman Andraé McGary, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 General Election.
Gardenhire could not be reached for comment at press time.
Vital said this morning in a written statement that, “Although it was a very close race, the election is over. The ballots are in and hopefully all the votes have been counted accurately. There is no need for a recount. It has come down to two-tenths of one percent difference out of 16,000 votes cast.”
Vital thanked his wife, Carlene, his family, staff, supporters and volunteers who he said tirelessly campaigned over the past four months.
“I decided to run for state Senate with the purest of intentions, which was to continue my track record of public service to my community,” he said. “We have met hundreds of incredible people along the way and that is a gift I will never forget. I am deeply humbled by the support of our shared vision for the future of Bradley and Hamilton counties. I have been a proud Republican and conservative since I started voting in the mid-1970s. I believe in good government and free enterprise. My reputation in this town has been honorable on all levels in the business community and statewide, as reflected by the broad-based financial support and bipartisan interest in my campaign.
“My goal in this race was to convince voters of my abilities with a positive campaign. Never did I attack my opponent nor the media. I don’t believe negative tactics, character assassination or violating journalistic ethics are respectable under any circumstances.”
Vital said he looks forward to getting back to his family and business in the private sector, creating jobs and volunteering with nonprofit organizations as he has done for almost 30 years.
“Thank you again to everyone who believed the truth about me,” he said. “My prayers are with the people of District 10.”