Just reading those words again today wells those tears right up.
Shaun captured some video of the speech:
And, Pete posted the text of the speech on his blog, which I'm going to post here for you as well.
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.
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.
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.