Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was more-than-convinced he’d win on Tuesday. As TheBlaze previously reported, the contender told reporters earlier that day that he had only prepared a victory speech and had not yet written concession remarks. While images published the morning after his loss show him content and drinking chocolate milk with his family, the situation just hours before was dire, as aides describe the former Massachusetts governor as “shell-shocked” in the wake of defeat.
“We went into the evening confident we had a good path to victory,” one senior adviser told CBS News, showcasing just how surprised the Romney team was by the stunning loss. “I don’t think there was one person who saw this coming.”
As the night progressed, though, fear created earlier in the day by reports that Obama was gaining ground turned to panic as key points in the map began turning blue. Once Ohio fell, the team knew that a path to victory was impossible, however processing this reality was difficult in the moment.
The New York Times captured part of the timeline that comprised the dramatic end to the campaign, as the Romney team monitored results from inside of a Boston hotel:
It was 11:30 p.m., and Romney field teams in Ohio, Virginia and Florida called in, saying the race was too close for the candidate to give up. At least four planes were ready to go, and aides had bags packed for recount battles in narrowly divided states. Bob White, a close Romney friend and adviser, was prepared to tell the waiting crowd that Mr. Romney would not yet concede.
But then, Mr. Romney quietly decided it was over. “It’s not going to happen,” he said.
As Ann Romney cried softly, he headed down to deliver his speech, ending his second, and presumably last, bid for the White House. Four decades earlier, his father and inspiration, George Romney, a former Michigan governor failed in his own such quest.
“There’s nothing worse than when you think you’re going to win, and you don’t,” another adviser said. “It was like a sucker punch.”
CBS News also noted that Romney purportedly “hastily composed” notes for a concession speech, adding corroboration to his claims earlier in the day that he was prepared for a decisive victory.
“He was shellshocked,” another adviser proclaimed. Despite dispair and surprise hitting him hard, the candidate stood before the American people, called for unity and admitted defeat.
“I ran for office because I am concerned for America … Like so many of you, Paul [Ryan] and I have left everything on the field,” Romney told the American public. This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray the president will be successful in guiding our nation.”