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Rutherford all but bows out, saying, 'I'll be back'

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford delivered what sounded like a concession speech to supporters 20 minutes after the polls closed Tuesday, defiantly vowing he would “be back” and would fend off sexual harassment allegations that doomed his gubernatorial candidacy.

“These last six weeks, truthfully, have been the most challenging in my entire life. There’s no question about it,” Rutherford said during his statement in Pontiac, with running mate Steve Kim at his side.

“It’s been horrible for my family. It’s been horrible for my staff. It’s been horrible for the family of my staff,” he said.

In last place and registering only single digits in recent polling, Rutherford faced questions about his sexual orientation after the lawsuit brought against him by a former male staffer, who alleged he had been groped by Rutherford during a visit to the treasurer’s home.

Rutherford also had to explain dozens of trips he took on state business and, in some case, on leisure in which a state aide accompanied him and shared a hotel room.

Rutherford sounded defiant in saying he would be cleared of the allegations.

“I’m looking forward to vindicating myself. I’m going to tell you upfront, that is going to happen,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford closed out his brief statement, thanking supporters and sounding as if he intends to stay active politically after Tuesday’s votes are tallied.

“Dan Rutherford is not going away. Real clear, Dan Rutherford is not going away,” He said. “I’m going to be back. There’s no question, I’m going to be back.”