U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt conceded the U.S. Senate race to Jerry Moran just after midnight, beginning with a slight quaver in his first words to his supporters: "I love you all." A few hundred of his supporters cheered him again and again at the Wichita Airport Hilton.
Tiahrt did not say what his plans might be now. But he told his supporters their work, including walking precincts and knocking on doors in recent days in 100- plus-degree heat was not done in vain.
"You've made this a stronger country," he said. “I'm sorry we didn't get it to the finish line quite as good as we had hoped.”
Moran gave his victory in the race at 11:55 p.m. Tuesday, shortly after the Associated Press declared him the winner.
About 14,500 votes separated the two at 12:30 a.m. with Moran leading 50 to 45 percent. By then more than 97 percent of the vote had been counted.
After his speech, Tiahrt told reporters that he would call Moran later in the night - he had tried to reach him earlier - and that he would congratulate him and tell him that he planned to endorse him and make sure he gets elected.
"I do not want a Democratic senator from Kansas," Tiarht said. He said he wants to make sure Republicans win the general election and that they work together to repeal "Obamacare."