Republican Scott Brown pulled off a stunning victory over Democrat Martha Coakley on Tuesday in the race to fill the former Senate seat of Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts.
After Coakley called to concede the race, Brown addressed his supporters, thanked those involved, and even had some fun at the expense of his thoroughly embarrassed (and evidently single) daughters.
FULL TEXT OF PREPARED REMARKS:
Thank you very much. I'll bet they can hear all this cheering down in Washington, D.C.
And I hope they're paying close attention, because tonight the independent voice of Massachusetts has spoken.
From the Berkshires to Boston, from Springfield to Cape Cod, the voters of this Commonwealth defied the odds and the experts. And tonight, the independent majority has delivered a great victory.
I thank the people of Massachusetts for electing me as your next United States senator.
Every day I hold this office, I will give all that is in me to serve you well and make you proud.
Most of all, I will remember that while the honor is mine, this Senate seat belongs to no one person and no political party - and as I have said before, and you said loud and clear today, it is the people's seat.
Interim Senator Paul Kirk has completed his work as a senator by appointment of the governor, and for the work he has done, I thank him. The people, by their votes, have now filled the office themselves, and I am ready to go to Washington without delay.
I also want to thank Martha Coakley for her call of congratulations. A hard contest is now behind us, and now we must come together as a Commonwealth.
This special election came about because we lost someone very dear to Massachusetts, and to America. Senator Ted Kennedy was a tireless and big-hearted public servant, and for most of my lifetime was a force like no other in this state. His name will always command the affection and respect by the people of Massachusetts, and the same goes for his wife Vicki. There's no replacing a man like that, but tonight I honor his memory, and I pledge my very best to be a worthy successor.
I said at the very beginning, when I sat down at the dinner table with my family, that win or lose we would run a race which would make us all proud. I kept my word and we ran a clean, issues oriented, upbeat campaign - and I wouldn't trade that for anything.
When I first started running, I asked for a lot of help, because I knew it was going to be me against the machine. I was wrong, it was all of us against the machine. And after tonight we have shown everyone that - now - you are the machine.
I'm glad my mom and dad, brothers, sisters, and so many family members are here tonight.
Once again, before I go any further, I want to introduce somebody very special... That is my wife, Gail.
And as you know, my wife Gail couldn't join me on the campaign trail because of her work as a Boston TV journalist. But I will let you in on a little secret. She didn't stay neutral today, and she voted for the winner. I rely as always, on Gail's love and support and that of our beautiful daughters.
Arianna will be returning a day or two late to her pre-med studies at Syracuse, because she's been giving her all to this campaign. As always, Arianna and her sister Ayla have been a joy to Gail and me, and we're so grateful to them both. Even before her campaign performances, millions of Americans had already heard Ayla's amazing voice on "American Idol." As Boston College basketball fans know, she's also pretty good on the court.
If the President thinks they've got basketball talent at the White House, I ask him to pick his best teammate and find some time to play two-on-two with Ayla and me.
I'm grateful to all those from across Massachusetts who came through for me even when I was a long shot. I especially thank a friend who was there with encouragement from the very beginning, and helped show us the way to victory - former Governor Mitt Romney.
I'll never forget the help of another man who took the time to meet with me months ago - who told me I could win, and gave me confidence for the fight. It was all so characteristic of a truly great and heroic American, and tonight I thank my new colleague, Senator John McCain.
On a night like this, when so many people mark your name on a statewide ballot, you think back to the first people who gave you a chance and believed. For the trust they placed in me, and for all they have taught me, I thank my neighbors and friends in my Senate district and especially my hometown of Wrentham. The cause and victory that all America has seen tonight started right there with all of you.
Let me tell you when I first got the feeling something big was happening in this campaign. It was when I was driving along and spotted a handmade, Scott Brown yard sign that I hadn't actually put there myself.
This little campaign of ours was destined for greater things than any of us knew, and the message went far beyond the name on the sign.
It all started with me, my truck, and a few dedicated volunteers. It ended with Air Force One making an emergency run to Logan. I didn't mind when President Obama came here and criticized me - that happens in campaigns. But when he criticized my truck, that's where I draw the line.
We had the machine scared and scrambling, and for them it is just the beginning of an election year filled with surprises. They will be challenged again and again across this country. When there's trouble in Massachusetts, there's trouble everywhere - and now they know it.
In every corner of our state, I met with people, looked them in the eye, shook their hand, and asked them for their vote. I didn't worry about their party affiliation, and they didn't worry about mine. It was simply shared conviction that brought us all together.
One thing is clear, voters do not want the trillion-dollar health care bill that is being forced on the American people.
This bill is not being debated openly and fairly. It will raise taxes, hurt Medicare, destroy jobs, and run our nation deeper into debt. It is not in the interest of our state or country - we can do better.
When in Washington, I will work in the Senate with Democrats and Republicans to reform health care in an open and honest way. No more closed-door meetings or back room deals by an out of touch party leadership. No more hiding costs, concealing taxes, collaborating with special interests, and leaving more trillions in debt for our children to pay.
In health care, we need to start fresh, work together, and do the job right. Once again, we can do better.
I will work in the Senate to put government back on the side of people who create jobs, and the millions of people who need jobs - and as President John F. Kennedy taught us, that starts with an across the board tax cut for individuals and businesses that will create jobs and stimulate the economy. It's that simple!
I will work in the Senate to defend our nation's interests and to keep our military second to none. As a lieutenant colonel and 30-year member of the Army National Guard, I will keep faith with all who serve, and get our veterans all the benefits they deserve.
And let me say this, with respect to those who wish to harm us, I believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation - they do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.
Raising taxes, taking over our health care, and giving new rights to terrorists is the wrong agenda for our country. What I've heard again and again on the campaign trail, is that our political leaders have grown aloof from the people, impatient with dissent, and comfortable in the back room making deals. And we can do better.
They thought you were on board with all of their ambitions. They thought they owned your vote. They thought they couldn't lose. But tonight, you and you and you have set them straight.
Across this country, we are united by basic convictions that need only to be clearly stated to win a majority. If anyone still doubts that, in the election season just beginning, let them look to Massachusetts.
Fellow citizens, what happened in this election can happen all over America. We are witnesses, you and I, to the truth that ideals, hard work, and strength of heart can overcome any political machine. We ran a campaign never to be forgotten, and led a cause that deserved and received all that we could give it.
And now, because of your independence, and your trust, I will hold for a time the seat once filled by patriots from John Quincy Adams to John F. Kennedy and his brother Ted. As I proudly take up the duty you have given me, I promise to do my best for Massachusetts and America every time the roll is called.
I go to Washington as the representative of no faction or interest, answering only to my conscience and to the people. I've got a lot to learn in the Senate, but I know who I am and I know who I serve.
I'm Scott Brown, I'm from Wrentham, I drive a truck, and I am nobody's senator but yours.
Thank you very much.