First, I wish to thank you for everything you have done for me since I announced I was running for Congress in late October. The outpouring of support has been humbling! Since October, I have been campaigning actively, talking and listening to constituents throughout the 2nd District, and in January, because of your generous support, we were able to announce that we had raised an historic amount of money for this Congressional race!
However, as many of you are aware, recording artist and celebrity Clay Aiken has announced his candidacy in this race and has built both national and local support for his campaign. Therefore, to help Democrats win the seat and move our country forward, I am ending my campaign and supporting Clay Aiken.
This decision has not been easy, nor has it been made without much thought or preparation. In recent weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet and get to know Clay, and as our friendship has developed, I have gained respect and admiration for him. I like him. I believe he has a deep desire to serve. I do not, however, believe it is in the best interests of the people of North Carolina, or of the Democratic Party, to have an expensive, contentious Democratic Primary, so I am confident in my decision to withdraw from the race and endorse Clay Aiken. I intend to support him in the primary race and cheer him on to victory in November as he fights to represent us in Congress the way we deserve to be represented.
As I stand with Clay, I believe it is important that we continue to move forward in unified support of a strong Democratic candidate. We need to stand together in order to take this seat back from the extremists who continue to stall our country though partisan gridlock and to hold the middle class hostage.
One thing that I have learned throughout this journey is that North Carolina wants, and is ready, to elect the next generation of leadership, leadership that will carry us into the future. I cannot thank you enough for all of your support. I will be forever grateful.