Five years ago this week, on February 8, 2006, I announced my intention to run for the United States Senate. We had neither campaign funds nor a staff. We were challenged in a primary, and trailed the incumbent in the general election by more than 30 points in the polls.
Over the next nine months we focused relentlessly on the need to reorient our national security policy, to restore economic fairness and social justice, and to bring greater accountability in our government.
I will always be grateful for the spirit and energy that was brought into this campaign by thousands of loyal and committed volunteers like you. Your enthusiasm and support were truly the difference in that election, and I will be forever grateful.
It has been a great and continuing privilege to serve in the United States Senate, and one I have you to thank for. I am very proud of my talented and dedicated staff, which has worked tirelessly to resolve the issues on which I based my candidacy, and to protect the interests of all Virginians in this national forum.
Motivated by your unwavering support, we have given our Post- 9/11 veterans the best GI Bill since World War Two; we have taken the lead in reforming our criminal justice system; we have led the way toward stronger relations in East and Southeast Asia; and we have been a strong voice in calling on China to act more responsibly in the world community.
Together, we will continue to aggressively work on these and other issues affecting the well-being and the future of our country throughout the rest of my term. However, after much thought and consideration I will not seek re-election in 2012.
I wanted to reach out to you directly as this news breaks to express my deep gratitude for your support over the years, and I look forward to sharing with my plans for the future with you soon.
With sincere appreciation,