Chris McDaniel

Chris McDaniel gets ready to talk to supporters on Tuesday night. (Photo by Sean Murphy)

Statement from state Sen. Chris McDaniel:

I love our country. I love Mississippi.  It's been the honor of my life to work for the betterment of both. Whether defending conservative values in the state senate or by traveling the state to spread the message of Constitutionalism, self-government, and liberty; I've never backed down from a fight.  And I'm not backing down now.  

But a decision has to be made; a path has to be chosen.  So I turn my attention to the best way forward.  

As part of my analysis, I factor in several goals I would like to help achieve: the re-election of President Trump, a stronger Republican Party, the election of true conservatives at every level of government, and the disempowerment of a corrupt political establishment in D.C. But the most crucial consideration revolves around two little boys in Jones County, my sons Cambridge and Chamberlain, who represent my most significant accomplishments and my primary source of contentment and happiness. 

It has been said that no candidate in the Southeastern United States has experienced the crushing amount of negative attack ads that we've had to endure during the past few years. And it's taken a toll. Consultants joke that no candidate in Mississippi has ever had more money spent against them. Untold millions have been allocated to defame my record and destroy my character. Millions more have been paid to ruin my political life — all because I dared to challenge the power of a corrupt political class in Washington.      

While I assumed the risk and recognized the dangers inherent to bruising campaigns, my children did not. I have gladly paid the price and would do it again one day. But not yet.  

Unfortunately, my sons have grown up in an era of change and political turmoil. Nastiness is commonplace. Political discourse has reached a new low. As much as Jill and I tried to insulate them, they absorbed every unfair attack made against me — sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. But perhaps more sadly, they were forced to experience loneliness unintentionally caused by a daddy who was prepared to sacrifice time and effort for their futures. Being on the campaign trail can be heartbreaking. My only consolation is that one day they'll understand and forgive me.

With those factors in mind, I will not be running for statewide office this year. I will instead focus on electing conservatives and restoring the conscience of the Republican Party. I still believe the GOP is the best hope to save our Republic. If our party embraces liberty, fiscal restraint and self-government, we can defeat the Democrats and relegate the reckless doctrine of Socialism to the ashbin of history. And I will do everything possible to assist in those efforts as I run for re-election to the state senate. 

To those who have stood with us, thank you. I have the best supporters in the world. You all have a special place in my heart, and I love you like family. Our fight is not over. 

But in the meantime, I will take a short break from statewide campaigns. I'll go fishing with my sons. We will play baseball, shoot hoops and imagine ourselves in distant, faraway lands. While we cheer for our beloved Chicago Cubs and lament the Boston Celtics' recent struggles, we will watch playoff hockey, eat popcorn, and play video games. We will go to museums and concerts. We will walk the streets of Disney World together and, if lucky, I'll get to read them Winnie the Pooh one last time before they lose the innocence of youth. 

I will teach my sons the importance of political discourse and debate. They will learn to understand the meaning and purpose of courage, the intrinsic value of all individuals, and the threat of unchecked political power. They will know to reject hate, embrace individual dignity and sacrifice for others. They will be kind. They will recognize the flawed nature of humankind, but love people anyway. I will teach them these lessons and more. 

Then I'll let them teach me all the Fortnite dances.    

We will laugh. We will love. We will recover.  

And we will forgive.  

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