There’s so much I want to write about my first run for public office. And I do plan to write more in the weeks ahead.

But for now…

I ran in one of the most competitive congressional races in the county. Most of the candidates were talented and very well funded. Dana Rohrabacher is a Washinton career politician incumbent with 30 years in office. The other leading Republican, a former Assemblyman who headed the Orange County GOP for ten years. The leading Democrats, multimillionaires that largely self-funded their campaigns.

I will not be on the November ballot against Rohrabacher. But I am so grateful, nonetheless.

Never did I come close to imagining I’d be supported by living heroes like Bill Browder and Garry Kasparov. (If you don’t know who these great men are, please learn more — they put their lives on the line daily for liberty and human rights around the world.)

Never did I think I’d meet one of my political mentors, Governor John Kasich.

Never did I imagine interacting with the most brilliant minds in GOP politics — strategists to U.S. Presidents, men and women I’ve admired for decades. People with heart and compassion.

Never did I imagine such selfless and gifted volunteers who would give hundreds of hours to this altruistic campaign, which had no paid staff.

Cheri Jacobus and Travis Greene, I could never thank you enough.

Never did I imagine I’d make what I’m certain will be lifelong friends — people across the country that I respect so deeply.

I found my tribe. I can’t wait to help build a better America and world with them.

We formally launched the campaign in January. I ran on conviction alone. I purchased no polls. I ran on issues that I felt were most important to the fabric of our great nation. I didn’t feel right about putting money ahead of ideas.

I realized then and realize now that much of what I did was not strategic.

Nonetheless, never in my wildest imagination did I think I’d receive national media attention from MSNBCForbesNPRThe Daily BeastNBC, The AtlanticThe ObserverCNNThe American Interest and the LA Times.

As an aside, every journalist I spoke with, even those working for the “liberal” outlets, were kind, professional, and reported with 100% accuracy and fairness.

Having no experience with public office, I entered this race for only one reason: I felt it my duty. As I lifelong Republican I could not accept what was happening to my party. As a patriotic American, I could not accept what was happening to our country.

Most of all — as a person of faith who has given most of his life working to relieve physical, emotional and spiritual suffering — I could not accept the increasing cultural divisions based on issues of race, gender, religion, and ethnicity.

I knew we could do better; I was idealistic enough to believe I could help.

I still am.

In the weeks ahead I will consider next steps. As I’ve said many times, I will not stop until justice is served and Rohrabacher is removed from office for his unwavering support of Vladimir Putin, and his efforts to deny the torture and murder of Sergei Magnitsky.

And as I’ve said hundreds of times, no one party should care more about issues concerning human rights, civil rights, social justice, gun safety and the environment.

Issues of human dignity should be universal to all political parties in The United States of America.

I want to help reform the Republican Party, working, if you will, as an interventionist. Party leadership has lost its nerve. Ethics and morals have become peripheral to a party that once prided itself on virtue, character, integrity.

Last year, in our “testing the waters” phase, I wrote about the beautiful relationship between Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democrat House Speaker Tip O’Neil. These men were as far apart ideologically as possible, yet they put the good of the country first.

They became “frenemies” — they worked to bring the country together. Reagan’s leadership should be a sober reminder to those Republicans who have been sucked into the Trump cult — a cult that will soon see its end.

Finally, I’ve received dozens of encouraging messages via email, text, and social media. They are still coming in. Some have come from Republicans, others from Democrats. I copy a few below.

These messages, in addition to the love and support from so many of your, mean the world to me.

In the end, I didn’t win.

But I’m certain that I did.

____

“Please never leave public discourse. Your voice is needed.”

“I mean this—I would have voted for Paul over a good number of the Dems in the race. He has a rare sincerity and integrity. That stuff matters.”

“Mr. Martin I am a Democrat who wanted to let you know that I didn’t vote for you, but did campaign for you amongst my Republican friends.  You are a man of integrity, and although we may have different values I have so much respect for you.  I hope you are the future of your party.”

“Proud of the campaign that you ran, and the values and commitment that you brought to the race.  Regardless of the vote tally, you made a huge impact .”

“We need more people like you running for office. Thank you for stepping up. Please don’t stop. When the R’s and D’s become more like you, America will be better, safer, and prosperous in ways that matter way more than just money.”

“This Democrat wishes you the best of luck.”