PEABODY — Bill Hudak's 17-month odyssey to unseat seven-term Congressman John Tierney ended last night in defeat and disappointment.
The Boxford Republican, surrounded by his family, thanked his supporters, who he said had become his family during his time in the race for Massachusetts' 6th District. His wife, Angela, stood with him and fought back tears as her husband addressed the crowd.
"I'm feeling disappointed, obviously," he said after leaving the stage. "I don't mind losing. You learn more through adversity and defeat. I don't like to let everybody down."
It was not just his own race, but the lackluster showing of the GOP in Massachusetts that left him downhearted.
"I am disappointed not so much for myself but for this state, which rejected any change from the path we are on," he told his supporters in his speech.
He entered the race, he said, because he felt the country was on the wrong track and the state was imperiled. He never sought the office for a "grander scheme," but to do the right thing, he said.
"The voters spoke and made a choice," Hudak said. "We live with that choice and hold our heads high."
He told the crowd in the Peabody Marriott's grand ballroom that they had put their faith in him and he wished he could give them a different result.
He also had few kind words to offer his opponent, after a race that had grown increasingly acrimonious in recent months.
Hudak said if the campaign revealed one thing it was the true nature of Tierney, who he said spent $1 million smearing the Republican.
"Honesty is honesty and dishonesty is dishonesty," Hudak said.
Hudak's campaign had energized many locals who had grown disenchanted with Democrats and Tierney.