Richards Blames Low Voter Turnout

Mayor Tom Richards went into Primary Day with a poll showing he had 63 percent of the support of likely city Democratic voters. When the votes came in, he did not muster even 50 percent. It turned out to be a stunning defeat for the Democratic Party-endorsed incumbent and a historical political upset in city politics.

Richards raised many tens of thousands of dollars more than his opponent, City Council President Lovely Warren. While Richards focused on television buys, Warren stuffed mailboxes with flyers. Her grassroots, low-budget strategy proved more effective in reaching primary voters, a notoriously small group.

Although primary turnout tends to be low, the 2013 mayoral primary will be remembered for shockingly low turnout. Fewer than 15,000 ballots were counted by the end of the night. That compares to more than 21,000 Democrats who voted in the 2005 Democratic mayoral primary. There are more than 66,000 registered Democrats in the city who were eligible to vote.

"One thing that clearly happened is turnout was very low, lower than anybody projected," Richards said. "And that obviously hurt me."

When asked if he thinks Warren would make a good mayor, Richards said, "Sure. I want anybody who's going to be elected mayor to be a good mayor...If somebody else gets elected mayor. I want them to do well."

Richards, 70, became mayor in a 2011 special election. He previously served as the city's corporation counsel and deputy mayor under Bob Duffy. He had also been president of RG&E.

Richards urged supporters to "not give up on the city."

His name will appear on third party lines in November. He has not decided if he will actively campaign.

Watch News 8's interview with Richards by clicking the video above.

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