Full Concession Speech by Matt Bevin

by John Gregory | 05/21/14 11:30 AM

Businessman Matt Bevin addressed his supporters in Louisville last night following his loss to Sen. Mitch McConnell in the Republican primary for Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seat.

Matt Bevin, surrounded by his nine children, is speaking to supporters in Louisville. "Nine months ago, people thought we were crazy. Some have thought we were crazy the whole time. But I tell you what, here's the reality: we know why we're here. We know the significance of this… I'm just a guy who, frankly, nine months ago most of you wouldn't have known from a hole in the ground, and yet here I stand, as the votes are coming in, this was much closer than many people anticipated it would have any chance of being. We're not going to win this race, and that's all right."

Bevin says he has spoken to Sen. Mitch McConnell and conceded the race. "This was never about winning a single seat. This was never about becoming some new version of the same old thing. That was never what this race was about. This was about the very heartbeat of America… We've heard a lot of discussion about how somehow this is a schism of sorts, somehow a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. But every single one of us knows and some of you have heard me discuss how this is so much bigger than that. This a battle for the heart and soul of the entire political process…

"I will tell you this whole race has largely been about exercising our right to vote, exercising our right to have our voices heard. This is about choice, it's about competition…

"I poured my entire life into this over the last nine months…and I've been blessed by the fact that so many of you, including those behind me on this stage, have done the exact same thing. But I'm asking you tonight, take the high road, take the high road as we leave here. Be the bigger person, return the scorn and enmity of others with dignity. If we as voters, if we as a party, if we as citizens of this great nation, if we return fire for fire, then we will burn our great nation to the ground, and we deserve better than that…

"We know, and we're not going to soon forget, that we have been lied about. We know that we have been boxed out. We know that we've been ridiculed. We know that we've been mocked and scorned, often by people who've never even met us… You have held your heads high, and we have fought on. We fought on because we are fighting for a higher purpose than ourselves. We have fought on because this is bigger than one race, this is bigger than one Senate seat… because this is about the future of the United States of America. That's what this has been about. The attacks that we've received have made our opposition smaller people. It has cheapened their accomplishments, and it has weakened the foundation of their platform, and it has eroded our faith in the political process and in our political leaders..

"We must not succumb to being defined by the pettiness of others. We must be better than that. We must be bigger than that… We must model for our fellow citizens and for the generations to come what dignity and respect look like… We must do this because America is worth it…

"We have long been a beacon of light in a dark world and we continue to be. And may that beacon not flicker because of our response to the smallness of others. Rather, may that beacon burn brighter than ever because we choose to stoke that flame rather than extinguish it… Do not let history show that the torch went dark on our watch because we chose to repay lies with lies, to repay hatred with hatred, or pettiness with pettiness. Do not leave this place with a sense of defeat, go out boldly… with your faith in our great nation renewed, restored, encouraged, with a stronger appreciation for the exceptionalism of America, and a commitment to fight for its preservation…"

Bevin confirms he will not support the Democratic platform over the Republican platform. "There is much that ails us as a nation, as a state, as communities… the very fabric of this nation is being stretched and we know that, but it is not going to help that at all if we find ourselves contributing to the shredding of that fabric. And so my challenge to you is as we said earlier, rise up. Go out of here boldly, be part of the solutions for this great nation. We need solutions and it saddens me to say that there is zero chance that the solutions for what ails us is going to come from the Democrat Party… these solutions must come from within the Republican ranks… And to that end, be a part of the solution. Don't be discouraged by this. Be encouraged by this… Take this challenge and run with it… Support the solutions that this party needs, this state needs, and this nation needs."

See video of statements by Sen. McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Read a recap of election night speeches from KET’s Election Coverage.