My name is Aimée Rivera Cole, I am running for State Representative in Fishers, Indiana and I have been branded an ‘unwinnable candidate’.
I have been branded ‘unwinnable’ not because I am not qualified. I am plenty qualified. I am an attorney who has litigated cases for nearly 20 years. I graduated from the Indiana University Kelly School of Business. I serve on various boards ranging from my children’s school activities to my professional activities. I have been branded ‘unwinnable’ not because of lack of effort. On the contrary, I have knocked on hundreds of doors, far more than anyone running for my district ever has. I have earned support of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents in my district. Despite the fact that I am a working mother of two overachieving and involved children, I put more than 30 hours a week into my campaign every week.
I have been branded ‘unwinnable’ because I live in Hamilton County and past data shows that Democrats just don’t win here. However, every day since I announced my candidacy I have had someone come up to me and say, “I didn’t know there were other Democrats here”. Yes, there are Democrats here! Perhaps the reason Democrats don’t win Hamilton County, is not because there is no one who votes Democrat, but rather they’ve never had a choice. Democrats can’t win if they don’t run.
The reality is that running in an ‘unwinnable’ district is not difficult because the county often votes Republican, rather, it is made difficult by those who should traditionally support my candidacy. I have been told that groups who traditionally support Democratic candidates are not going to put resources into this race because the district isn’t competitive. Of course it may not seem competitive when my opponent is getting money from billionaires such as Betsy DeVos and Sam Walton.
I often hear people saying that want change and the inevitable “blue wave” that is coming. Well, the “blue wave” is not a weather event, you can’t just sit around and wait to happen. It is something that everyone who wants change, especially those in ‘unwinnable’ districts, needs to put forth effort to achieve. Despite this cry for change, finding volunteers to help go out and do the work has not been easy. So, if you really want change, if you really want a “blue wave”, stop only tweeting and sharing Facebook posts. Get up and help knock doors or make calls, have a house party, or donate. Put my bumper sticker on your car or request a yard sign. If nothing else, just call me, or seek out your local candidate in an ‘unwinnable district’, and tell us good job every once in a while because this is hard.
So to all my fellow ‘unwinnable’ candidates out there, stay strong and stay the course. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It happens when you put in the work despite the odds. As Mary Anne Radmacher once said, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” I refuse to consider myself an ‘unwinnable’ candidate. Of course winning will be hard, but I was made to do hard things.