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. Pete, you ran a good campaign. Your the only candidate that I sent money to this year, and your not even from my state! (Missouri). I hope you don’t give up and that you continue to work hard for the principles that you stand for – government accountability!

    Utahns have made a mistake in not voteing for you, however, I think there is still hope for them yet!

  2. Pete,

    You did the right thing. Just keep doing it, and we’ll all stand behind you. Focus on the issues. Represent us. Please run again.

    Greg.

  3. Pete, I’m so glad you ran. You put up the best damn fight I’ve ever seen in the most conservative state in the US, and for a little while, it looked like it really was neck and neck. I know that if only more people were reached that this can be done.

    My friends say to me “I don’t care about politics.” And I say, “I can’t get into them much, either. But there’s this guy in Utah…” and I tell them all about your campaign, with the brilliant wiki and the daily calendar and the absolute transparency of all the campaign funds. That impresses people.

    I didn’t vote in my own state. I don’t think the race should be limited to the lesser of two evils. It’s true, we need a Pete Ashdown in every state. It’s damn good to hear that you’ll be running again – you’ll always have my support. I mean it when I say you’ve been an incredible inspiration to me.

  4. Congratulations on a campaign run with class and integrity. Looking forward to what you’ll do next…

  5. Pete,

    You ran a great campaign. A clean campaign. A campaign free of special interest money. A campaign where you were outspent 30-to-1, and still managed to garner 31% of the vote! I was proud to contribute to your campaign. Keep fighting the good fight.

    Dave

  6. Pete – It was an honor to vote for you. I may have to wait out several more years with our current senator in Washington before you ARE elected to be our new senator. In the meantime I’m confident that there will be enough political letdowns from our senator and enough eyes opened that you can easily capture another 15% of the vote. We desperately need a technophile in Washington before we fall far enough behind faster developing countries that it looks like we’re in the dark ages again, all because of legislation that’s being passed by people who don’t understand the ramifications of what they do. I appreciate your tact, sensibility, and fiscal restraint in your campaign. You will be a great senator.

  7. Thanks for representing us and fighting the good fight. Don’t give up. Run for mayor! Salt Lake needs more intelligent progressives. We also need someone can pilot the city into the future in a sustainable and well thought out, non-partisan way.

  8. Pete, I don’t know what you’ll be running for next time, I sure hope you’re not going to wait 6 years, until Hatch is up for reelection or retirement. But, no matter what you do next, I’d like to echo Greg Van Dyke’s words… “Represent us. Please run again.” We want and need you to represent us. And I’m behind you again, only this time I’d like to do more than just run a booth at the fair or walk to a few houses on a Saturday morning. So, I’ll be keeping my eye out for what’s next, and I can’t wait to get involved again. Thanks for running this time.

  9. Pete,

    Your speech was amazing. I’ve never heard another candidate or politician give a speech that so moved me and motivated me – not even Howard Dean.

    I think there’s a lot of work to be done in the next few years to help lay an impenetrable foundation for your next run. And I honesty believe that it won’t take six years – Hatch is the dirtiest politician involved with Utah (I don’t consider him a Utahn anymore, because he lives in D.C. now.) I think that with the recent flood of netizens and bloggers working to expose the corruption revealing the skeletons or body-builder prostitutes or underage pages in so many closets, it’s only going to be a short matter of time before Utah sees how deep Hatch’s polution runs.

    Jodi said to me this morning “I want to follow Hatch full-time and get some truly blackmail worthy information – and then post it for all the world to see.” I think that if more people with the knowledge and connections take this stance – not only with Hatch, but with every dirty politico out there – it will only serve to strengthen our society and help to repair our governing body. Just look what happened to Kennard – once everyone finds out you spend all your time golfing, you get swept by your opponent…

    If the elected refuse to account for their time, perhaps we the people can take it out of their hands. Maybe some kind of wiki where aides or golf course managers or even caddies can anonymously post when and where someone was at a given time of day… Think Wikipedia with the calendars from Outlook… The only trick (as always) is keeping it honest and open, and free of litigation.

    That’s just one thought. I wish I could quit my job and follow Hatch around the world, blogging about every backroom deal or secret meeting or how many tens of thousands of his cd’s were bought by a lobbyist on Amazon.com (sans the sales tax he pushed for on internet sales, mind you.) Sadly, I’m not independently wealthy or backed by millionaires. But in this new age, maybe there can be a way for each of us along Hatch’s daily path to call him out when he does something dirty, to be prepared to share the info that he is afraid we’ll find out, then we can start to demand the transparency that is tantamount to a truly democratic society. And not just with Hatch, but with everyone from the county recorder to the president of these United States.

    Best wishes to you and Robin. You gave him a helluva fight, and I look forward to you carrying that fight on to the next level.

    Christopher Brock

  10. Pete,

    I have enjoyed watching you grow as a business and as a person. As you know, I am a republican. You were absolutely worth crossing political lines. I am, and will always be, proud of supporting you in your effort to become a U.S. Senator.

    I look forward to our continued friendship.

    Vasilios Priskos

  11. Pete, You campaigned harder, smarter, and better than anyone has ever campaigned for Orrin’s seat. The fact that Hatch won despite his many blunders makes me fear that Utah voters may never hold him accountable for his actions. Thankfully, you are more optimistic than I am. Thank you for a positive, professional, and powerful campaign. And thank you for not giving up!

  12. Thank you, Pete. We’re inspired and humbled by your integirty, dedication, and clarity of vision. I’m so glad our kids could be part of your amazing campaign–and that we’ll all have a chance to support you again. You rocked it!

  13. Ashdown-

    Thank you for a good, clean campaign that I could back without any hesitation. Thanks for the wiki, the amazing 31%, and the action-figure commercial.

    Our lawn sign lies in wait for your next move. Don’t let it get dusty. The young voters of SLC are dying to back you in another campaign. Please don’t disappoint us.

    -Lindsay Orlob

  14. Thank you, Pete, for speaking up for the little guy. Most of us don’t fight because we know the fight isn’t fair. But your courage and integrity are inspiring. Thank you for holding on to our faith and dreams and for showing that someone cares and that change is possible. That is your big win this year – you won our hope back.

    Behind you all the way,
    Jeff and Jodi Bingham

  15. Ya done REAL good, Pete. Thank you for running a good, clean and thoughtful campaign and bringing a new vitality to Utah. We need you!

  16. Game plan: 2008 bump out Chris Cannon’s seat and go for the house for the 3rd district… gain traction by proving your principles work at the house level, and then in 2010 ditch the house and remove Bob Bennet from his seat.

    (and this is a conservative independent speaking here…)

    I think you might have a stronger chance as an independent than as a democrat, unless the dems decide to give you a million or two in 2010 to run after Bennet I would think you could do better on your own. Especially with so many Utahns thinking that democrats are the horsemen of the apocalypse.

    PS: The local CBS channel showed you at 51% vs Hatch at 43% after 1% of the precincts had reported 🙂

  17. I wasn’t old enough to vote this time, but come next election, Pete, you’re getting my vote.

    Everything everyone else has said here so far pretty much sums it all up, so I’ll just leave it at that. You really did good, and it’s a damn shame we don’t have more people like you out there.

  18. Pete,

    Thank you for such an impassioned and heartfelt speech. I was truly moved.
    It is people like you who we need in government.

  19. So many thanks for renewing our hope in government. Your methods are encouraging and we feel like we can be better informed and participate! Our group jumped on board late in the campaign but we are anxious to support you in future endeavors.

  20. Pete,

    I was truly saddened that such an obvious champion of people’s rights didn’t win by a landslide. We need people like you in our government. People who are willing to fight for our rights, rather than sell them to the highest bidder. Please contact me when you decide which election you will run in next. I’ll be happy to put a poster up in my lawn.

  21. Pete,

    Thank you. I hope to see you run again. I did my best this time by emailing and calling family members and friends. Please contact me again the next time you run. I hope to be available to do much more. I will return your campaign sign – smart thinking! – but that has been the hallmark of your campaign. Try again – it will work, and I look forward to you being my representative in Washington.

    Thanks.

  22. Pete, I was happy to see your name on the ballot and make my own voice heard and vote for you. Although the prospects for a win may never have come through, the really important thing is WE sent a message. Your result was “not too shabby” at all and a clear message that Utahns CAN think, Utahns ARE changing and Utahns can win over the left-over political stagnation of their parent’s generation.

    Please do not stop. I look forward to seeing your name on a ballot again. In the meantime, you’ve been an inspiration to many, I think you should feel very proud.

    Well done that man!

    DM

  23. Pete,

    Thank you for running with such integrity. No slanderous campaigning, just simple, down-to-earth, clearly articulated goals and principles. I believe you gave Hatch a good run for his money. But I was disgusted to see that your campaign received 1/30th of the financial donations of your opponent, mainly for reasons that the Dems refused to support you because the race appeared to be David vs. Goliath. As a young person yourself, please know that the new generation of voters is ready to support advocates that believe in the Constitution and honest representation.

    Please run again. I think even Hatch realized this year that his despotic reign is vulnerable, and we need a champion of people rights.

    I am a NUTCAKE, too.

  24. Peter,
    Let me say that I’m proud of my son and grateful that he had such a wonderful Mother that instilled the ideals of which you express with such beauty and conviction.
    I am willing and anxious to climb under that motor home again if need be. I think you have what it takes to turn this country around.
    Much love, Dad

  25. The saddest thing of all is everyone I talked to that voted for Hatch didn’t even know why. I asked them what they thought of his policies, and they just said “I don’t know. But he seems like a good guy. He’s been there awhile and things are ok.”

    I wish you could have ran in state where the average person isn’t so stupid, and doesn’t assume that God just wants them to vote Republican because that’s what their Bishop said or because Hatch hangs around BYU right before the elections.

    Please go move to a different state and run again!

  26. Pete, you did a killer job. You got a large portion of the vote against a difficult opponent, and you did it with little prior political experience, without smear campaigns, without bundles of cash backing you up, and with a boatload of integrity.

    A lot of the time, when I vote for candidates in utah, I feel like I’m trying to elect the lesser of two evils. This was the first time that I actually felt really good about voting.

    I do hope you run again in Utah. We need decent candidates to represent us. Stick to your guns.

  27. Pete,

    Thank you for planting the seeds…they are most definitely taking root. I have friends as far away as Maine who heard about how you’ve handled your campaign. I, and many that I know, are thrilled to hear you are going to be around in the future! I’m excited to see what will be sown and reaped from this for years to come… Here’s to integrity!

  28. Pete, my husband and I were so happy to vote for someone in good conscience. You did an amazing job! We will vote for you again.

  29. Pete –

    Thank you for running, and thank you for being one of the very rare candidates I can honestly feel good about supporting. Your emphasis on openness and accountability is inspiring, I appreciate your willingness to discuss a variety of important issues, and the honesty and integrity of your campaign has been a rare breath of fresh air in the world of politics as usual.

    When you run again, we’ll be here to support you!

  30. I had such high hopes for this election, and even with the disappointment of this loss, I still feel good. I’m happy that I did my part to spread the word. I’m happy that I took the time to research canidates. I’m happy that I got to vote. I’m happy with how it felt to vote for someone that really is my canidate of choice. I’ve never seen someone that represents so well what I believe and hope for. It truly was a pleasure to see you run and give it your all. Thanks.

  31. I wish I could have felt 1/10th as good about my senatorial vote in NYC as I would have in SLC.
    31%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Honestly? That’s incredible.

  32. Even your campaign got Utah headed in the right direction. Thank you – from the young adults of Utah for inspiring us to be part in making our community better. For many of us who could not yet vote this time around, you have my and many other young peoples’ votes next time.
    Sincerely, Jennie Wilson

  33. Dear Pete, You are a HERO!!! America needs more citizens like you. You have my greatest admiration and respect. Get some rest and a vacation….

  34. Thank you Pete, for running a race that inspired me to take action and get the vote out! For every conversation begun, for every sign given away, for every referral to your website…I felt honored to know you and confident in my vote for you. Congratulations on an outstanding campaign and for continuing to be the Pete we know and love!
    Christina the teacher

  35. Mr. Ashdown,

    My name is Zack Shutt, a Junior at Viewmont High in Bountiful. My father grew up in your neighborhood (Dale Shutt) and knew your family as a fantastic group of people.

    I’ve followed this campaign even as most people my age simply don’t care. You get people excited. You keep them motivated. But most of all, you have shared an important message and ran a great campaign.

    I was up late last night refreshing the poll numbers on KSL’s website, just hoping that you would win. After reading everything you stand for I know that you are the man to represent a changing America.

    You’ve enstilled a lot of enthusiasm in myself, I’m a computer “geek” as well… I think that this country needs someone who embraces technology, rather than trying to blow it up 🙂

    Thank you for running Mr. Ashdown,

    Zack D. Shutt
    Farmington, Utah

  36. Pete,

    This was the first campaign that I have volunteered for because you are the first person I truly believed could help this country from continuing to spirel downward. We desperatly need change in this country and I’m positive that you would have done that. It’s sad, almost appalling that this state will dismiss the actions of our senators and congressmen. Anyone that would re-elect Chris Cannon after his statements reguarding kids egging on senator Foley for one example is absolutely pathetic. I admire your values and ideas and even got my wife to vote for the first time because she was also impressed with what you stand for. It was an honor and privilege to help out with your campaign at hte Greek festival and delivering yard signs. Please do this state and it’s residents a favor and run again, for any office. I will keep the yard signs for next time. Good Luck Pete with your business and future endeavors and Thank you!!!!!

  37. Pete,
    I am honored to have contributed to your campaign. Even though I no longer live in Utah, it is a place that is extremely dear to me. You ran an amazing campaign, and have shown us all an ambitious new direction for elections to come. But beyond the inevitable disappointment that today brings, I am thrilled by your words above, and extremely excited for your future prospects. Perhaps Mr. Hatch and his cronies are going to look a little more carefully over their shoulders from now on. Thank you so much for your efforts. Count on me to be there when you continue!
    Mark Lowrie

  38. Pete-
    Awesome campaign. I am really disappointed that the results weren’t different– different meaning an Ashdown victory. My wife and I really were impressed with your ideas and desire to provide meaningful representation.

    I hope you will seriously consider running again. Utah and this country are in desperate need of some balance and some brains in government.

  39. Pete,
    We have been friends for many years, and I hope that you don’t let this set back stop you from the next campaign. You have many good qualities that I wish more people had.
    You have time to think of ways to accomplish your goals for next time.
    Keep up the good work!

  40. you know i really thought that you did a good job and stood for something and i in utah voted for you even though i know most people just voted straight republican because utah ids a republican state but i belive in you and i also told my mother about you and she changed her vote too… i hope you dont stop because we need someone like you … thanks again!

  41. I was a customer of yours for four years (wish I still could be). I participated in one of your company’s Linux Install Fests. I have read about you preaching the good word of technology to the leaders at our state’s capital. I appreciate your desire to take down the shroud of secrecy that surrounds the representatives of this country that we gave jobs to. I appreciate your courage in running against a man who cares not and works not for this state, a man who gets votes from those who cannot explain why they vote for him.

    Tuesday afternoon I saw you on 4th south. I walked up to you and shook your hand telling you I was voting for you and wished you luck. I know you are good for government, I know you are good for technology and I know you are good for those I care about in my community. I appreciate your efforts and hope you continue, as I hope to make similar efforts bettering this world. I was honored to know I was shaking the hand of a man who was bettering this world.

    And besides, there are other very admirable ways to change the world. Who likes a politician anyway? 😉

  42. Pete, thanks for the good run. Oh, and you’re not getting back my lawn sign. It’s being added to my Utah Politics Wall of Fame.

    All my best,

    Matt

  43. Next time, Pete. You got my attention this time around and that isn’t easy to do. I’m a cynic who hates politics… but I do vote. I’d marked you down for a potential and watching you debate Orrin literally brought tears to my eyes. I’ve got myself a very short political A list and you’re on it. I’d love to be of assistance in a future campaign. 🙂

  44. Pete, you have won the hearts of many. Lawn signs will be saved and anxiously awaiting to be used down the line.

    Much love and admiration to you and Robin both.

    -Shelley Turley

  45. Pete,
    Thank you for running a good campaign. You debated Hatch very well. Considering Hatch’s long time in that seat, you did well in this state to get 31% of the vote. My husband and I were happy to put your sign in our yard and to vote for you. As I carried your fliers around to different places I went, my friends were happy to read about you or they said “I’m voting for him too.” I am so glad you said you will run again. We are anxious to support you next time. Thank you for giving us hope for change.

  46. Dear Pete,
    You’ve inspired so many of us.
    You had our support this election, and we’re all even more excited about next one!
    Can’t wait until I get to post my Pete Ashdown signs once again!
    Kevin Engberson

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