It’s not good bye, it’s see you later.
I hate losing…more than I like winning. If there is any comfort to be found, it’s that I know we are stronger because of this loss. Even knowing the odds were against us, our team was convinced that we could win. Our goal from the beginning was to address the divisive rhetoric that has plagued our city and start to have real conversations to initiate change. However, as it comes to the election itself, we got dominated in what appears to be a referendum in our society. A referendum that did not apply to our campaign, but affected us none the less. We have peace in knowing there is nothing we could have done that would have created a different result.
It was an absolute blood bath nationally for Republicans, and Charlotte was no exception. Despite having extremely qualified and motivated candidates, party politics took hold and we got crushed on the get out the vote effort. We are thankful and encouraged that we hit the exact target number of votes we thought that we needed to win… an impressive 44,000 (in 2015 that would have been near top vote getter). Apparently, it was not enough. These were in precincts Republicans NEVER stood a chance in, and the other teams get out the vote effort ended up being substantially stronger than ours.
What we learned
Where to start. We learned about campaigning. We learned about our society. We learned more from people that don’t think like us, than those that do. I set out on a journey for 10,000 coffees as my Pastor told me that’s how many were needed to start a congregation. I did not intend to fulfill all 10,000 prior to the election but it’s likely that I got at least 1,000 in. Not all coffees, but of the same vein. After every interaction, the team processed what I learned. We all grew.
We are now better prepared to help our community. We understand much more than most might realize about the challenges in our society. We also know how incredibly polar our community still is. Our team campaigned on unity and we still believe in the same core message.
So, what’s next?
Our campaign started and finished strong, and I am proud of our efforts. We had many incredible events thanks to Ashton and Stephen who ran our meet and greets and fundraising events. Lindsey effectively wrote our brand message through many conversations and an understanding of exactly what I was trying to get across. Walt targeted 2 million digital ad impressions and we accomplished so much to pull those 44,000 votes across. It is humbling and was a success by most measures.
After 8 months of campaigning, we now have a perspective that can only be gained from the learning curve of being a first-time candidate. As we move forward and continue to process everything, I plan to keep my promise. I promised all donors and volunteers that I would personally not be ‘one and done’. I took a swing and I will keep swinging.
I may hate losing, but I’m not afraid of losing if it means that I am driving something greater around me. Plan B will continue to strive for unity in this great city. We will share more on "Plan B" soon, but rest assured, I’m not going away. The team will remain together and as we rebuild after 8 months of campaigning we will reinvest the efforts into action. We have identified the problems, now let’s work towards solutions.
My final thoughts are only those of humility. I am embarrassed that so many people poured money, time, and energy into our campaign only to lose. I did not want to let anyone down. I will not hide behind that embarrassment. I will use it to make our team and our city stronger.
Thank you to everyone that voted, campaigned, donated money or time. I promise not a single ounce of it was wasted.