Independent candidate and councillor Ian McGarvey said he expected at least double the vote that Saturday's tallies indicated he received.
At the same time, Cllr. McGarvey said he was not disappointed.
"With respect to everybody, I can't be disappointed because I had the privilege to be able to stand in a general election," he said, saying he was the first person from his own town to do so.
"My ambition has always been to work for the people and not to have any personal gain for myself," Cllr. McGarvey said.
Final tallies showed Cllr. McGarvey with 1 per cent of first-preference votes, for a total of 996. The great majority of his result came from his home electoral area of Letterkenny, where tallies showed the Ramelton man polling 877 votes.
Cllr. McGarvey was not at the count at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny on Saturday, but was receiving reports throughout the day. He said he plans to be at the count centre when the final declarations are made and the five Donegal seats are filled.
Cllr. McGarvey said he did not feel disappointed for himself, but "more for the people who would have supported me in any way".
He said the response he and his team received on the doorstep led them to believe his vote would have been at least double what the tallies indicated.
"It was totally different all together," Cllr. McGarvey said. "A lot of people would have been expressing a view that they were delighted I was running.
"But sure, listen to me," he said. "Isn't that life?"