Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly conceded defeat on Tuesday, as GOP rival Neel Kashkari won the right to challenge Gov. Jerry Brown in November.
"Unfortunately the numbers don't lie," Donnelly told supporters at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.
Shortly before midnight, the San Bernardino County assemblyman said he'd called Kashkari to concede.
"Rigged!" people yelled.
Donnelly said he was disappointed to see the numbers turning against him, but heartened by what a "rag-tag band of patriots" was able to pull off. He said the "political establishment" still represents the greatest threat to the people's liberties.
"I will not rest until we restore our Republic," he said. "I don't know what role I will play in that. Only God does."
"We're happy warriors, we are not going to cry in our milk or our beer or anything else," he added.
The 76-year-old Brown, a Democrat seeking his fourth term, is favored to win reelection in November.
Kashkari, a former assistant U.S. Treasury secretary, has never held elective office. He starts the general election campaign with almost no money in the bank, while Brown has collected more than $20 million.
In an interview Tuesday night in Corona del Mar, where he held his election night party, Kashkari said there were "a lot of Republican donors across the state who want to see change in Sacramento.
"And I think that this primary is the first step in introducing them to me and showing them we have a viable candidate," he said.
"Don't get me wrong," Kashkari added. "Jerry Brown is going to have more resources than we are. But as we have learned from recent elections, the most money doesn't necessarily win the election."
Early in the primary campaign, Kashkari said he would raise as much as $10 million, but wound up collecting only $2.1 million and donating $2 million from his personal fortune.
Kashkari is best known for his stint as head of the $700-billion taxpayer bailout of Wall Street -- the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP -- during the global economic crisis.
But most of Kashkari's experience has been in private-sector finance, where he amassed personal wealth he has estimated at approaching $5 million -- $2 million of which he spent on his primary campaign.