8 November 2002
Dear Democratic Colleague:
Nancy Pelosi and I have waged a quick and close race for Democratic Leader - one that has been hard fought on both sides. Over the past several days, I have talked extensively with virtually every Member of this Caucus. And I am gratified to have broad and deep support that reaches across ideological, regional and racial lines.
However, it is clear to me that Nancy Pelosi has the votes of a majority of the Caucus. In light of this fact, today I am releasing all of my commitments. I am deeply appreciative of all those who have supported me in this race, particularly those of you who have campaigned so strongly on my behalf.
Nancy Pelosi is a talented and capable party leader. I intend to support her for Democratic Leader in next week's election, and I will work with her to do everything I can to return Democrats to control of the House of Representatives. In doing so, I will continue to be an outspoken advocate for the mainstream, centrist views that will lead us to the Majority.
That is the goal that has driven me to work so hard and successfully to keep a Democratic Majority within reach. It is why I accepted the challenge of rebuilding the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee eight years ago after we lost the House. It is why I took on the task of ensuring a fair redistricting for Congressional Democrats after the 2000 Census. And it is why I entered this race for Democratic Leader.
As Democrats move forward to challenge the Republican leadership, it is critical that we bear in mind the unalterable political facts of life in the House of Representatives. No matter how eloquent our rhetoric or how sound our positions, we must have a realistic strategy to win a Majority. That is the only way Democrats will ever have the capacity to implement our ideas for helping the American people.
Given the extremist nature of the House Republican leadership, and their consistent refusal to compromise, we have no other choice. The Democratic principles that bind us together will never become a reality until we control the House of Representatives.
To do that, we must ensure that the public sees our party as the mainstream, aggressive advocate for the American people that it is. That requires maintaining centrist positions consistent with the majority view of the nation - and of the competitive battleground districts that determine the House Majority.
Otherwise, we will continue to fall just short of control of the House.
I look forward to working with each of you to carry on the fight for a Democratic Majority. Together, we will go head-to-head with the Republican leadership, and build a Democratic House of Representatives.