Only an hour and 45 minutes after the polls closed, District 4 Hillsborough County Commission candidate Mark Nash, D-Lithia, knew he'd lost the race.
At a gathering with supporters at the Hilton Garden Inn in Riverview, Nash intently watched the computer as the Supervisor of Elections Office released the precinct totals.
Carrying just 38 percent of the vote, Nash conceded to incumbent County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, R-Plant City.
"I congratulate Al," said Nash. "It's obvious I don't have the votes."
However, Nash stopped short of calling his bid for office a failure.
"A lot of good things came out of it. I reconnected with a lot of friends and even relatives," said Nash.
Among those supporting Nash was a cousin he didn't know he had until he ran for office. Cindy Nash Richards recently moved back to Hillsborough County where her family had settled three generations ago.
"I saw Mark's campaign signs and wondered if we might be related, so I contacted him," she said.
When the two compared notes, they discovered that her grandfather and Nash's great-grandfather were brothers.
"He's been a wonderful addition to our lives," said Richards.
Nash added that the experience of running for office has only cemented his determination to serve.
"There's no question I will be a candidate again and I will be an elected official in this county," he said.
Meanwhile, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tampa, Higginbotham accepted congratulations from supporters.
"It was a hard battle, but I'm so honored that the people approve of what we're doing," said Higginbotham. "I'm looking forward to doing so many great things for Hillsborough County."