Thank You America

This is the text of the speech I delivered late election night:

My deepest thanks to all of Utah and America for the friendship, the time, and the effort that thousands have put into my campaign. It has been a deeply humbling experience to have carried your hopes.

Thank you to my staff for the long hours and their creativity.

Thank you to my brothers and sisters for cheering me on.

Thank you to my 81-year-old father for his consistent boosterism and for having to crawl under that bucket of bolts 1976 motorhome repeatedly to keep it running.

Thank you to my kids and my wife.

I ran this race the best way I knew how. With honor. With integrity. Instead of pointing the finger at the numerous failures of my opponent and telling people to vote for me because I am not him, I told America what I could do. I gave clear plans, instead of muddled rhetoric.

  • Accountability
  • Communication
  • Representation
  • The Constitution
  • and Peace

Simple concepts, yet so rare.
These ideals are what I believe in.
These ideals will save America.
These ideals are timeless and worth fighting for.

I believe in America’s future.
Over the past 18 months, I have seen the heart of Utah.
I have seen the spirit of Democracy.
I have peered into the souls of the founders and drawn on their courage.

I have often reflected upon Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence. Imagine what that was like. Jefferson did not know his document would found a nation that would last much beyond his lifetime. He most likely believed he would be hanging from the highest tree before the end of the year. People have told me what I have done is courageous, but running for office holds no compare to what Jefferson and others did.

I merely wanted to make things better. I looked at our government and found nobody that I admired. No vision, no courage, no leadership. I ran because I knew I could do better.

People from all over this country and planet have written me telling of their support for my campaign. They lament that there is no Pete Ashdown in their state. No Pete Ashdown in their country. If there is one message I want everyone to remember in this campaign, it is we are all the change we wish to make. The only important requirement is your will.

Stand up.
Run for office.
And I will help you.

I want to thank all the Republicans and Independents who looked at what I stand for, crossed party lines, and realized I was a candidate worth voting for.


I am bruised, but I am not beaten.
I am down, but I am not defeated.
This election is over, BUT I AM NOT DONE.

This is not the end of money and politics.
This is not the end of lobbyist control of Washington.
This is not the end of the American people being shut out of government.
It is the beginning of the end.

This is the beginning of a return to protecting the Constitution.
This is the beginning of efficient government.
This is the beginning of citizen participation.
This is the beginning of making our representatives accountable.

This is the beginning of taking back America.

73 thoughts on “Thank You America

  1. Hey, how did my wife find out I voted for you? Must be those new fangled computer voting machines!

    Seriously, I was thinking that getting 10 percent of the vote would have been a worthy achievement for you. Doing as well as you did makes me think we really can bring back democracy to this country, and fight back against being goverend by the dollar for the dollar.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    mjb.

  2. Thank you Pete.

    I will keep my yard signs too and wore my shirt the day after the election to work, so everyone of my employees and customers would know how I voted.

    Run again… for anything.

    Chris and Shanna

  3. Mr. Ashdown:
    I didn’t expect to meet you election night but as I exited the Media Room there you were with your wife. I had met her the previous Saturday, picking up more signsd and making another contribution. As I told you over the noise of the croud, I am the Republican, delegate to the past County Convention, that cammpaigned for your election. Previously, twenty-seven years ago, I campaigned for Orrin Hatch, telling every one is a voting district why they should vote for him and not Frank Moss. A week before the election I wrote to Senator Hatch and told him why I could no longer support him. He was too much like Frank Moss. I also told the Tribune why they did a disservice to Utah endorsing the wrong man. Hopefully, in the next two years, or when ever the Senate seat is up for grabs, you will be endorsed by enough to take your seat in the Senate. Good luck and God’s speed.
    Carlyle F. Clarke

  4. You are my ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’!!! Run again and we’ll get you there. This state is slowly waking up and change is coming. Friends of mine who have been avid Republicans voted straight ticket Democrat this time around because they are so disgusted with the status quo. Thank you for getting me excited about politics and giving me hope that things can be better.

  5. Dear Pete,
    I want you and your family to know that I believe in you. Whatever you choose to do next, please let me know so I can be a part of achieving the goals you stated during your campaign.

    Thousands of people in this State were touched by you and your message. You are truly an ethical, kind and intelligent man. I feel blessed to have meet you and hope to keep a relationship with you and to be a part of spreading the success of your goals.

    There is a Jewish concept called “Tikun Olam” which roughly translated means “the repair of the world”. I believe that you are a part of this.

    with love and peace,

    Sheryl Ginsberg

  6. Now that Democrats will have control of the Senate, it makes Hatch’s argument of “clout” lose what little meaning it had, and makes the Trib’s endorsement of him even sadder. If anyone saw the article on the DesNews, they said “If Democrats take control of the Senate either in the Nov. 7 election or in the elections of 2008, Hatch will fall into the minority and he won’t chair any committees.”
    http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,650203423,00.html

    Utah just lost it’s chance to put someone in that could make a difference. I am really glad the Democrats are in control of the Senate, so that Hatch has less chance to do damage now.

  7. Pete,

    We were at a gathering at someone’s house to celebrate something when I first heard you say you were going to run against Orrin Hatch. I thought, “Wow. Cool. What a perfect guy to do this.” The most impressive thing to me about your campaign was how clear it was that you knew exactly who you were and knew what it meant to be doing what you were doing. Voting was fun for once, because you were on the ballot. It really meant something. Thanks. And I look forward to see what you’ll do next.

    Lynne Butler

  8. Pete Ashdown, I am only 17 years of age and was quite frankly infuriated that I couldn’t vote for you! I’ve watched C-SPAN a lot and have just seen the ugly miscarriages of those 5 things you wanted to achieve had you been voted for. There was no ACCOUNTABILITY, NO COMMUNICATION (except Dick Chaney or George Bush telling someone to shut up), NO REPRESENTATION (none for the middle class that makes America), and Peace, wow I haven’t heard that word since 2003!

    Pete, I campaigned for you all over my insanely Conservative Davis County neighborhood here in Kaysville, Utah. You made me feel as an American, at age 17, in a strict Conservative narrow minded town, that I could do something to change the direction of America. I put flyers all over town trying to spread the word, I told church officials in my ward about you and the values you’ve instilled. Pete, you losing was in fact a horrible reality that the American Dream really has died. But maybe with you running again it can be ressurected.

    But by far the biggest irony was that Orrin Hatch spent 2.4 million dollars on his campaign and you only 200,000. You put the value on the soul, the hard work, the love for your community, and not on the big business, the nice suit and tie, and the fake smile. You represent us Pete Ashdown! Someday I hope we can meet and next campaign I will be fighting for you whether by volunteering and being a true election grunt, or by being your official office Secretary. Either way, Pete, we love you and we hope you the best.

    Don’t forget you are AMERICA!

    love
    Lonn Phillips
    from Kaysville, Utah

  9. Dear Pete,

    It was my seventeen year old son who first brought your campaign to our attention. He will be able to vote next time as will many young americans like him. Educate them! Eduvate us! “They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand. People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.”

  10. t was my seventeen year old son who first brought your campaign to our attention. He will be able to vote next time as will many young americans like him. Educate them! Educate us! “They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand. People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.”

  11. For the first time in my 6 years of voting, I was able to vote for a candidate that I knew had all of the great makings of a statesman. Pete, you are someone we need involved, and I’m glad to hear that this is a beginning and not an end. We need more loud voices decrying non-responsive government. We need more loud voices calling for a “best solution wins” attitude regardless of which party came up with it. We need more loud voices calling for transparency and accountability from all of our elected officials at all levels. We need you, Pete Ashdown, and I’m looking forward to your future endeavors in cleaning house in our system of government.

    You won me over as a paleo-conservative and former member of the Constitution Party. I don’t have to agree with all of your stances to see that you are a good man looking for good government, willing to explore whatever options are necessary to find out what “good government” might mean. I’m expecting great things from you, and I’m yet to be let down.

    Keep up the good fight!

  12. Run again, run as an Independent. You’re already a very conservative Democrat, and too many Utahns refuse to vote for a Democrat on “principle.” The Democratic party did nothing to help you with your campaign anyway. I won’t be living in Utah when you run next, but I’ll be sure to send more of a donation than I could on my college budget. We need “new faces, new blood, new thinking” in Washington more than ever before.

  13. I agree with Jo-Pete. The Dems did nothing special for you and I think you would do better in Utah politics as an independant. It is funny to me to hear so many Utah voters talk about how “independent” they are and how they “vote for the politician, not the party” when the reality is they vote almost straight Republican and ignore Democrats for no other reason than their party affiliation.

    Go Pete Go!!!

  14. Hello, Pete.
    I, too have been accused of being an idealist. So Hold on, Bro!
    And thank you! You are now part of the best of human history.
    I see a very good thing coming out of your campaign: you have
    set standards and contributed some good rhetoric by which
    to judge and finally hold Hatch accountable. You are in a good
    position to keep hammering.
    He is the Old Utah. And Old Utah now has to answer some questions.
    Change is happening to “Old Utah”. It will die soon. And younger
    Utahns will have the potential of whatever good is left in their hearts.

  15. For someone residing in California, I say this to Pete Ashdown: continue to be a voice in the political world. We need more people like you!

  16. Pete
    I watched your Rotary debate broadcast on KUED (due to Orrin bailing out on the KUED debate)and I was so proud to know you. It was so obvious that you gave careful thought to each issue whereas Orrin did not have a single original idea. I wrote several letters to the SLTrib (non-published) questioning their endorsement of Orrin. I hope you will not be soured on politics. You gave a voice to thousands of Utahns who have been ignored by Republican machine politics.
    I wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving.

  17. Pete,

    It is early in the morning on the day following Thanksgiving Day. I just wanted to take a few moments to let you know that I am so thankful for your kind dedication to the people of Utah and to this great Nation. You are truly an inspiration in my life.

    It was my honor to spend many, many hours over the past year speaking with friends, associates and strangers about you, one of the most honest and honorable members of our community.

    I am also so very grateful to you and your family for the sacrifice that you made in your campaign. I know you were concerned about your father early on, especially when the motor home decided to give you more than just a little trouble. I also know that your family was more important to you that winning the election and that you would have sacrificed the campaign for your family. In my book this makes you a great American and your family a great American family.

    You should never look back at this election as a defeat because you contributed so much more than just a victory. You have touched the lives of many Americans and you remain a shining example of what we can all achieve. We will all walk away better for the experience.

    You will have the opportunity to serve Utah and this great Nation some day soon.

    Jonathon Montgomery

  18. Pete, when I first heard of your campaign, I was a Republican and I endorsed you and your candidacy due to your earnestness, principle and willingness to put the welfare of our country before any political interest, which unfortunately, is a rare quality these days.

    More than nine months later, let me state my gratitude and appreciation for the influence that you’ve had on my political outlook. You’ve shown leadership, courage and ran a campaign as good as the people of Utah, and as good as the people of America. After six years in the Republican Party – which has divided our nation terribly and forsaken the poor, I’ve returned to the Democrats and I sincerely hope that our party realizes what a valuable asset they have in you.

    The future does not belong to leaders who ignore the will of the people and who will hinder innovation, education and freedoms just to suit their career and legislative agenda. The future belongs to leaders who will stand up for America, stand up for their principles and will work to represent and help the people.

    Pete, I hope this is not the last we’ll hear of you in politics. I’m 21 and I’m going to start as a nurse soon, but perhaps one day, I’ll try to do for my state of California what you did in yours and I hope that more good people like you will stand up and run for office.

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you and God bless.

    John Adriatico

  19. Bravo, Pete! I think the first thing that Utah needs is an Air America affiliate. Up for it? How about “The Pete Ashdown Show!”.

    Keep up the fight, and keep the wiki alive and growing. It’s the future.

  20. Hey Pete –

    Well, it’s been a month since the election and I just wanted to write and tell you how proud I am of everything you did. You took on the monolith of all monoliths and did it with style and passion. I was proud to have you at the top of the ticket. I was moved beyond words to check your name when I voted, knowing how hard you worked and how you, more than anybody, deserve to be our next U.S. Senator.

    I hope you will keep going. A certain congressional candidate tried to convince everyone that America needs Utah – What America *really* needs is Pete Ashdown.

    God Speed, my friend.

    Emily

  21. Dear Pete,

    Thank you for being who you are. You are a person whom I look up to, with the same or similar ideals to my family and my neighbors. It was a great upset to me when you were not elected becasue I, like so many other volunteers for your campaign, really tried to spread the word about the integrity and ethic of Pete Ashdown. I look back to November with great appreciation for the what I learned from a man I never met. I have always been very enthusiastic for my party, as a democrat, but you were the person who represented such a spectrum of people in our community. Thank you for all that you stand for. I hope we see more of you in coming elections and locally working within our community. It would be a blessing.

    sincerely,
    Alison

  22. This is one of the strongest speeches with word that i have came across in the web; i personally dont know you but you must be a good speaker and i want to see you giving a speech live with the same type of passionate words; i live in Australia thats why lol

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