Former Chester Mayor Wendell N. Butler, Jr. Tuesday night, exhibited the graciousness that has become his hallmark, in conceding defeat to sitting state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland in a hard fought mayoral election.
Butler was hoping to return as mayor of Chester to finish the many incentives he started.
“I gained so many more friends, so that in itself makes me a winner,” Butler said to a standing room only crowd at Republican headquarters. “It has been a fond run for me as I have been able to reconnect to so many people. We worked hard and I enjoyed every singe minute of it. We really gave it our all”
Butler thanked his campaign manager, Barbara Muhammad, as well as principal campaign staffers Clinton Johnson and Shep Garner. He also thanked the individuals who ran on the Republican ticket with him as well as the hundreds of volunteers who assisted with his campaign and at the polls.
At the end of his concession speech, Butler announced that he will never again seek elected office.
“I want to spend time with my wife and family,” he said. “I have spent many years in government service and I honestly want to be with my grandchildren. You need to keep the party in tact and keep on working hard.”
Johnson told those gathered to not be discouraged, adding that tomorrow is another day.
“We have to hold them accountable,” Johnson said of Kirkland and the Democrats. “They have all but destroyed this city. Vendors are not being paid and the city lost its ‘A’ rating. Not one of the people who won tonight can stand in one of Mayor Butler’s shoes… Chester is in bad shape and those people are making this city a ghetto. Hold them accountable. We tried our best to bring back good government. I am proud of everyone who worked on this campaign, especially because Chester has a 5-1 Democratic ratio advantage and we did very well.”
Garner said the candidates ran an excellent race.
“I am happy because we fought harder than we have in years,” said Garner. “And I appreciate everything Barbara (Muhammad) did under some very difficult personal circumstances”
At the Chester Fine Arts Center East, Kirkland and his supporters were singing and dancing what at times seemed to be non-stop, according to various facebook videos.
Published reports indicated Kirkland thanked his supporters.
“I want to thank my family who has put up with me through all this,” Kirkland said. “I could not have done it without them.”