After gathering more support than any other Democratic candidate who’s challenged Republican U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks in the Fifth District, Dee Thornton is ready to campaign for the seat again.
The Carmel resident, who had never run for office before, earned 43 percent of the vote in 2018. With a bit of experience under her belt, she expects to do even better the second time around.
“When you’re a first-time candidate, you’re learning your way around,” Thornton said. “This time I think we’re going to have a good plan in place, and I believe that the Fifth District can be flipped. It can be blue.”
But Thornton won’t be running against Brooks in 2020 if she makes it out of the Democratic primary. The incumbent who was first elected in 2012 announced her plans to retire at the end of her term to spend more time with family. Thornton said Brooks’ announcement did not affect her decision to seek the office and that she “would have loved” a rematch with Brooks, who is also a Carmel resident.
“It doesn’t matter who (my opponent) is,” Thornton said. “You’ve got to get out there and work for it. I’m competitive by nature, and I see that it’s going to require a lot of work, but I’m not afraid.”
Thornton expects her campaign to focus on many of the same issues it did in 2018: education, healthcare and the environment, among others.
Thornton said she has been approached about running for other offices since losing to Brooks last year, but she never considered anything else.
“I’ve always had my sights set on this,” she said. “I’m not waffling. I’m not one to run for this and run for that. I want to represent the constituents of the Fifth District. I’ve lived here, I understand this (district) and I have been firm in that from day one.”
Thornton will hold a campaign kickoff event July 15. Learn more at deethorntonforcongress.com.