My dear family, friends, supporters, and the great people of Northwest Ohio,
On Tuesday, November 7, we turned a tide. We garnered more support than had been done in decades. You and I together made history!
And yes, all this by a 20 year old college student from a small town in Williams County.
Official results show that I received 45.31% of the vote, with the confidence of over 18,500 people. We were able to achieve 43% in Defiance County, 44% in Fulton County, and 50% in my home of Williams County. Impressive and unprecedented as these numbers are, I must share the hard reality that we couldn't quite do it.
But only not in the traditional sense...
I see positives all over this race. No one even opposed it the previous 6 years. Before that, all candidates of my party couldn't even reach 40%. I'm so heartened by the fact that we had record turnout of young people across Defiance, Fulton, and Williams Counties. We also had countless Democrats, Republicans, and Independents uniting for change, not a letter next to someone's name. And in my home county, by time all votes are counted, I lost by less than 100 votes out of well over 12,000 cast. Never in most of my supporters' lifetimes did people ever hear Williams County was "too close to call" all night long on the radio. In all 3 counties, I won in precincts where my party never wins. I outpaced candidates for Ohio Senate, U.S. Congress - and almost even beat the vote totals for Governor - in many areas.
This shows me something, and should show you something, too. Tonight, by all accounts, was a Victory for Ohio: a Victory for YOU. Together, we turned the tide. No longer will Northwest Ohio be taken for granted by anyone - the attention and respect you deserve has been gained. I'm so grateful to the hundreds of volunteers, to the hundreds of people who wore buttons, made calls, passed out literature, and put up signs - and of course, to the over 18,500 people who entrusted me with their votes of confidence.
I want to thank my opponent for a spirited campaign as well. We made another goal: we raised the level of debate.
And we got the youth involved! I was so excited to give keynotes at colleges and other events. On Nov. 11, just 4 days after the election, I gave the keynote at the Junior Statesmen of America regional conference in Cleveland. Usually, Governors or U.S. Senators or Representatives are chosen to give this speech. It was such an honor to be America's youngest candidate this year. And although that title will not last, my work, especially on behalf of my generation, is not done.
We made such a huge impact. We came so incredibly close in one of the most at-glance unfavorable areas in the nation (less than 5%!!)... I know we gave people hope.
Let everyone know what a blessing you've given me. Your love and encouragement is beyond what words can say. I had the time of my life, and I enjoyed every moment, however hard it was at times. It proved to me the power of "What's Next." So to me, in every sense of the word, we've got nothing but Victory to be proud of today. In my heart, we've won!
We've learned so much, and have become so knowledgeable. Now, this is a new beginning. "What's Next" Starts Here. I'm going to keep working hard for all of us, regardless of party, and regardless of my title. My ideas, values, and principles stand firm. And don't worry... you haven't seen the last of Ben McCullough!
Best regards, blessings, and warm appreciation to you all,
~Ben McCullough for State Representative