I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. This isn't the result we had hoped for, but I still want you to be proud of what we've accomplished together.

Since I launched this campaign, grassroots supporters have shown up in droves. Over 760,000 people like you have chipped in. We have outraised Marco Rubio every single fundraising quarter. And together, we have built an unprecedented people-powered movement to flip Florida blue. I'm astounded by your passion, drive and generosity.

So, even though we didn't come out on top this time, I want to say thank you. Thank you for sticking with me through all of the joys and pains of this race. Thank you for dreaming of a better future with me. And thank you for believing that a poor Black girl from Jacksonville can grow up to become a U.S. senator.

And let me tell you something: Having grown up in the segregated South, I'm no stranger to challenges. It wasn't easy to become the first in my family to graduate college or Orlando's first female chief of police. I never gave up then – and while I'm disappointed by the result of this race, I'm certainly not discouraged now. And you shouldn't be either, Ryan.

Across the country, ballots are still being counted to determine the size of our Democratic Senate caucus – and I have full faith that Senate Democrats will continue to deliver for the American people. While this Senate campaign has come to an end, the story of what's next has just begun. With people like you supporting Democratic ideals, I know this next chapter will be filled with greatness.

I'll leave you with a lesson my mother told me decades ago: No matter the obstacle ahead, never tire of doing what's right. That's how we'll build a better America together.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you again.

Val Demings