First of all, I want to thank James L of SwingStateProject and Markos for taking the time and effort to mention me, and also the great many who responded so positively to those posts. It's incredibly heartening to know that so many folks are paying attention to what goes on in Alabama - it's that kind of concern for every state that helped the Democrats take back control of the U.S. Congress last year.
The election in November showed the power the netroots have to deeply affect the way our government works. We have the ability to once again put the voices of common people right out front, just as our founding fathers intended. Ours are the voices of ordinary citizens, voices that are sometimes drowned out by folks with the money to buy influence - and that makes the 2006 Congressional wins all the more impressive.
Candidates like Jon Tester and Jim Webb didn't succeed because some shadowy billionaire or corporate CEO came down from on high and selected them to be victorious; they succeeded because people like you believed in their message and believed they could win. It's truly flattering to be compared to people like them, but it's also humbling - nobody knows better than a grassroots and netroots candidate that an elected official's first and foremost responsibility is to the people. As a lifelong progressive populist, I have to say that I'm just incredibly excited about being a part of this movement.
Should I decide to run for Senate, I assure you that it will be a battle we must fight on all fronts. I will continue to campaign on the ground as I always have – in the living rooms, and boardrooms, at the fish-fries and barbecues. The fundraising gap would be tough to overcome, but we have an advantage in the field. The people of Alabama have blessed me, and their support has allowed me to win 62 counties, we tied in two and lost only three, out of 67. The people of Alabama will be with us as long as we continue to work for them. I've always tried to keep that in mind as Alabama's Agriculture and Industries Commissioner. I've tried to stay away from petty "wedge issues" that only divide the people, instead sticking to those issues that truly affect their lives - security for our ports and food supply, the health of our children, rights for our workers, and farmers, and protecting consumers, as well as showing leadership on development of alternative fuels.
The decision to run for any public office, particularly one as high as that of a U.S. Senator, is not one to be taken lightly, and there's a long road of soul-searching and deliberation ahead before I make a definitive decision on 2008. But I do know that we will have a golden opportunity to build our influence in Washington and take even more meaningful steps toward taking our country back. It's a huge job, but our Democratic leaders in Washington are already proving that they're up to the task - and whether or not I eventually run for Senate, I will do everything I can to continue to help true champions of the people at both the local and national levels fight for what's right.
Thank you again for your kind words and your support!