Friends and neighbors,

On the night of the April 5th election, I called Jim Dunning to offer my congratulations on his exceptional victory, and offered my willingness to work with him to ensure our county continues the progress we have made over the last several years.

My friends, this is not what I wanted to write. The results of the election were deeply disappointing, and were very far from what we had expected, or had been working so, so hard to achieve for nearly 126 days. I am deeply regretful that I will not deliver on the many hopes, dreams, and desires that you, the people of this district had. The failure of this campaign, and to be able to deliver a victory for you, rests solely on me. And for that, I am so, so sorry.

Me and my opponent debated, fought, and participated in the most active and engaging election that this district has seen in 16 years. In the end, my neighbors and the people of this district chose another leader to represent them, and I accept that decision with grace and humility.

I’d like to thank everyone for the support and kind messages that I have received. I’m so thankful for the support of my family, who I miss and love so much. As well as the backing of so many friends, coaches and mentors through this challenging time. I am grateful to each and everyone of you, so thank you, so very much.

Friends, despite a disappointing finish in this election, I am so incredibly proud of the campaign we ran. Many people doubted that an 18 year old who was challenging a popular and well connected 16 year incumbent, who is new to our community, who had little money and little backing from the establishment, would even get this far. We shocked everyone, by not just winning the February primary, but by receiving first place finish. We knocked on nearly every door, showed up at every event we could, handed out hundreds of pieces of literature and placed yard signs in unlikely places. Our campaign turned out an improbably high number of students, to get out and register to vote in this election. Something that I am so proud of, because I believe we are the generation that must step up to the plate in our political discourse. Our campaign received the most votes out of any of the non-incumbent candidates that ran in this district, and we nearly doubled our voting numbers in Ward 57 from the primary. We received endorsements from organized Labor, sitting county supervisors, and support from near and far. It has been an amazing journey, and a journey I am grateful to have had the opportunity to take part in this early on in my life.

And to all of the doubters, haters, and naysayers: I may have been defeated in this election, but my spirit, drive, and determination, will never, ever be defeated. This election is not the end, rather, it is only the beginning. I have not, and will never give up fighting for our generation. I won't give up fighting for mental health resources, our environment, inclusivity and acceptance, more transparency and more active leadership. I will not sit back, and continue to let a system operate that oppresses marginalized communities, LGBTQIA+ people and people of color. I'll continue to fight for us blugolds, and for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. Don’t worry folks, I'll be back.

Thank you, may god bless you, may god bless our community, and may god bless the United States of America


Matthew Lehner


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