September 7, 2003
I am glad you will be joining us in Robbins on September 16th. I recently completed the period I set aside for exploring whether to seek our party's nomination for President in 2004 and stand at the threshold of the next phase. Heartened by the response we have gotten and committed more than ever to the cause that motivated me to explore a candidacy in the first place, I am going to announce officially that I will pursue the Democratic nomination for President.
The campaign is going exceedingly well. After six months laying out my ideas for the country and making sure we could raise the money necessary to have a competitive campaign, we have begun meeting with voters in states with early caucuses and primaries. I just finished three weeks campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire with Elizabeth and our children. The response was overwhelmingly positive, as has been the response to the book of my major policy proposals. Our television advertising has just begun and we are excited about the response it is receiving. The poll this week showing us ahead in South Carolina is only the latest sign of the success we are having.
My family and I used some of our time together on the campaign trail and the Labor Day weekend to discuss the next step in this journey. Traveling throughout the country, I believe more than ever that the potential for greatness in this country is almost without limit. It is also clear that America works best when it works for all of us - a fact that is at the heart of this campaign. More than ever, regular North Carolinians and people all over the country need a voice in the White House representing them. The problems that drove me to explore a possible campaign are even more pressing today than they were in January. Given all of this, the decision to move forward decisively to seek the nomination was not a difficult one.
I also decided that I will not seek re-election to the United States Senate, in order to devote all of my energy to running for President. In your role as chair of our state party, I know you will encourage strong candidates to organize campaigns for what I always will think of as Terry Sanford's seat in the Senate. Be assured that I will help in any way I can to ensure a Democratic victory in the fall of 2004.
It is a great honor to serve the people of our state in the Senate. I would not have had that honor without the help of you and others in our party. I hope all of you know that I need your help and prayers even more as I move to the next phase of the effort. It is an affirming process for all of us that our North Carolina values and ideas are receiving such a strong response around the country, and I will be forever indebted to our Party and to the great people of this state.
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