Bobby Valentine loses close mayoral race to Caroline Simmons in Stamford, Conn.

Former big league manager Bobby Valentine fell short in his bid to become mayor of Stamford, Connecticut.

The 71-year-old Valentine conceded the election to Democratic state Rep. Caroline Simmons late Tuesday night in what ended up being a close race decided by absentee ballots.

"It's time for me to congratulate the new mayor of Stamford, Caroline Simmons," Valentine wrote on social media. "Thank you all for your support, it's been my honor."

It was the first political campaign for Valentine, a former Republican who ran as an unaffiliated candidate after submitting 188 signatures to get on the ballot. He previously managed the Texas Rangers, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and the Japanese Pacific League's Chiba Lotte Marines.

A Stamford native, he was a three-sport high school star in the city.

Simmons will be the first woman to serve as mayor of Stamford, the state's second-largest city and its fastest growing.

The race attracted national attention.

Former Republican President George W. Bush, who was a managing partner of the Rangers when the team fired Valentine as its manager, contributed $500 to the candidate's campaign.

Meanwhile, former Democratic President Barack Obama endorsed Simmons.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.