On January 11, 2017, I fired the shot heard round Illinois – I didn’t vote for Mike Madigan for House Speaker. At the time, I said I wanted to give “hope to the hopeless” and that I anticipated repercussions.
The repercussions were almost immediate. Petty at first, they ultimately transitioned to an all-out blitz to thwart our campaign. Indeed, no campaign had more hurdles thrown in its way than ours. That, more than anything, shows the power of our message.
We came up short yesterday. But we did not lose, and we should not hang our heads. The Berlin Wall did not fall in a day. It ultimately did fall, however. I am confident we have taken chunks out of that wall.
We have changed the conversation in Illinois. For the first time in decades, Democrats in Illinois feel empowered to speak out against wrongs – not just on the right – but within our own party. And that’s okay.
Yesterday’s final numbers don’t tell the whole story. While we have a lot of work to do in the Chicagoland area, everywhere else voters heard our message and voted for change. We must build from there.
I want to thank everyone who made this campaign possible – family, staff, volunteers, supporters and, yes, lawyers. You continually gave (and give) me hope.
I also want to congratulate all of the candidates in this race. Running for office is hard. As someone who passionately believes in the power of competitive elections, I got what I wished for.
While I don’t know what tomorrow may bring, I know that our journey has just begun.