One day after rival Republican Neel Kashkari dispatched him in the race for governor, Tim Donnelly said in a message to supporters Wednesday that he was proud of a low-budget campaign that "nearly matched the millions spent to defeat us."
"Our campaign may have failed to win the top spot, but we showed that grassroots and meeting people in person is a powerful way to build support," the tea party-backed candidate said in a message on his website.
Donnelly did not mention Kashkari, an establishment-backed candidate who came from behind to finish second on Tuesday and advance to a November runoff against Gov. Jerry Brown. Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury Department official, was hammered by conservatives for his vote for Barack Obama in 2008 and for his liberal social views, and is unclear how successful he will be in winning them over.
Kashkari praised Donnelly at a news conference in Corona del Mar earlier Wednesday, saying "he worked really hard, and if there's anything I respect, it's hard work."
He also made overtures to Donnelly's supporters, saying "they put themselves into this race, and I appreciate that."
"Too often we as Republicans spend time fighting with one another," Kashkari said. "If we are united, supporting each other and focusing our energy on changing Sacramento, we will be much more successful."
Donnelly said his campaign had "united a small, but hardy band of Californians who refuse to be controlled by their government, and our numbers are growing."
He said, "This part of the journey may have ended, but one thing became clear: the political establishment remains the greatest threat to California's future, and last nights result showed that without spending a penny on traditional advertising, we nearly matched the millions spent to defeat us."
PHOTO: Tim Donnelly campaigns at the Punjabi American Festival in Yuba City on May 25, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders