Former Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley, a Democrat, conceded the race for Missouri Attorney General to her Republican opponent Josh Hawley late Tuesday night.
"We have a future that we know is not how we intended it to come out," Hensley told about 40 people at the at the Pipefitters Union Hall in south Kansas City. "But we can't stop working for what we believe in."
Hensley kept her message brief and positive, focusing on commending the willpower and strength of her supporters and volunteers for her campaign. But the friends, union workers and domestic violence victims, whose cases Hensley had prosecuted were clearly disappointed.
"I hope that [Hawley] will ... watch out for those who are the most vulnerable: the seniors, the women, and children," Hensley told KCUR after leaving the stage.
In their contentious race for Missouri Attorney General, the two candidates differed in their understanding of the role itself. Hensley argued that Hawley's background as a law professor and a constitutional attorney did not prepare him for the role.
But, voting in recent Missouri elections has convinced Hensley that the voters want an inexperienced candidate.
"We’re talking about voters choosing someone who's never been in office, right down the line, [over] folks who have dedicated their whole careers to public service," she said.
Hensley said she would not run for office of any kind again.
"If you dedicate your career to public service, [and] it comes down to [voting] Republican or Democrat instead of who’s qualified and what they stand for, it’s time to quit bothering," she said.
Andrea Tudhope is a freelance reporter and producer for KCUR 89.3. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.