David Norris had led polls early in the race to become Ireland's president, before he dropped out and then jumped back in amid a scandal. But the senator, who could have become the world's first openly gay president, has conceded defeat today.
Early poll results show him finishing a distant fourth, and so Norris became the first candidate to congratulate Labor Party candidate Michael Higgins on what appears to be his win.
Paul Allen from the Norris campaign criticized the media in reaction to the loss in an interview with the Irish Times. Allen said Norris had endured “severe pressure” but “he never crumbled.”
Norris was accused of favoring pedophilia based on an old newspaper interview that misquoted him, and then he quit the race when it was discovered he'd written a letter to authorities in Israel pleading for clemency for his then-partner Ezra Nawi in a statutory rape case. The letter was written on official stationary in 1997 but had not surfaced until the presidential campaign.
Norris later re-entered the race when polls indicated he could still win if he jumped back in. That hope didn't materialize after voters went to the polls on Thursday.
A message posted on the candidate's Facebook page from his campaign claimed Norris as an example to others of what's possible politically.
"For anyone who ever feels that something is ever too difficult they can look at David Norris as their inspiration, stand on the shoulders of this giant and reach for their dreams," wrote Norris staffers.