Bush wins again; Kerry concedes

President George W. Bush received 51 percent of the popular vote nationwide.

Kari Petrie

President George W. Bush won his bid for re-election Wednesday.

His Democratic presidential challenger, Sen. John Kerry, conceded Wednesday morning after a long night of waiting for Ohio’s poll results. Winning the state bumped Bush to 274 electoral votes, compared to Kerry’s 252. To win the presidency, a candidate must have 270 electoral votes.

In Minnesota, Kerry received 51.1 percent of the vote and Bush received 47.6 percent. Nationwide, Bush received 51 percent of the popular vote while Kerry received 48 percent.

Minnesota had the highest voter turnout in the country with 76.2 percent, according to CNN.

Bush told supporters in Washington that he would work hard to unify the country and spoke directly to those who voted for Kerry.

“To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it,” he said. “I will do all I can do to deserve your trust.”

Bush said there will be no limit to how great the country can be once it is united.

“I’m proud to lead such an amazing country and I’m proud to lead it forward,” he said.

Kerry echoed Bush’s sentiments about the danger of a divided nation when he spoke to a group of supporters in Massachusetts.

“Today, I hope that we can begin the healing,” he said.

Kerry said he conceded the election because he did not want a long legal process to decide a winner. It should be up to the voters, he said.

The fight for affordable health care, protecting the environment and restoring U.S. standing in the international community will continue, Kerry said.

“What we started in this campaign will not stop here,” he said.

At the Bush-Cheney campaign headquarters in St. Paul, there was a handful of staff celebrating the win. Others celebrated by sleeping, one staff member said.

Peter Hong, spokesman for the campaign, said that although Bush did not win Minnesota, the national win was not bittersweet.

“Actually, it is more sweet than bitter,” Hong said. “We would have liked to win the state, but at least we won the election.”

Hong said Bush will continue to build a safer nation and fight against terrorism.

“In the next four years, President Bush will build on the confidence he already has,” Hong said.

The mood at the Kerry-Edwards campaign headquarters in St. Paul was more subdued.

Roy Temple, the campaign’s state director, said that although Kerry’s loss disappointed him, he was happy the senator won Minnesota.

Temple said he is not worried that U.S. citizens will not be able to unify under Bush. He said there is one way people can come together.

“Turn off cable TV,” he said.

When it comes to people talking to their neighbors, they remain civil and open to other’s ideas, he said.

Temple said the issues attract people to campaigns. For those who supported Kerry, there are still ways to voice their concerns, he said.

“People need to keep fighting,” Temple said.

– Lacey Crisp contributed to this article.