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NEWS

Races to Watch: Black Candidates Hoping to Make History in the 2022 Midterm Elections

Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams and incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp faceoff in a rematch for the governor’s seat in Georgia. Photo courtesy of Albany Herald

The midterm election is happening tomorrow, and there are key races across the nation where the stage is being set for history to be made as a record number of Black candidates are in the running for the nation’s highest offices.

To date, the nation has only had 11 Black senators, 53 representatives in the House of Representatives and two governors. Moreover, this election could also produce the nation’s first Black woman governor should Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams win in Georgia—a key battleground state.

Here are the states where, if elected, Black candidates would make history. 

Arkansas: Democrat Natalie James faces Republican John Boozman for a seat in the U.S. Senate. While this could be a third term for incumbent Boozman, a win from James would make her the first Black congress member to represent the state.  

Chris Jones is battling Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary under Donald Trump and daughter of former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, for the governor’s seat. If Jones wins, he would be Arkansas’ first Black governor.

Alabama: Democrat Yolanda Flowers has already made history as the first Black woman from either major party to be nominated for governor in Alabama. She is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Kay Ivey and would be the first Black person to govern Alabama if she wins. 

Additionally, Democratic candidate Will Boyd is seeking to become the first Black person to represent the state in the Senate and is running against Republican Katie Britt. 

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California: Democrat Eleni Kounalakis was the first woman to become the lieutenant governor of California. Now, she faces another woman, Republican Angela Underwood Jacobs for the position. Should she win, Underwood Jacobs would be the first African American woman to hold the position of lieutenant governor in the Golden State.

In the race for mayor of Los Angeles, Democratic nominee Karen Bass has been endorsed by former President Barack Obama in her race against Republican Rick Caruso. If Bass wins, she would be the first woman to lead the nation’s second largest city. This election follows a June primary where neither candidate was able to win a majority. 

Connecticut: Republican Dominic Rapini faces Democrat Stephanie Thomas in the race for secretary of state, where a win from Thomas would make her the first Black woman in the state of Connecticut to hold the position.

Florida: Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Val Demings, the first woman police chief of Orlando, Florida, is running against incumbent Republican Marco Rubio. A victory from Demings would make her the first Black person to represent the state in the Senate.

Aramis Ayala is hoping to become Florida’s first Black attorney general in a battle against incumbent Republican Ashley Moody. 

Georgia: In 2018, Stacey Abrams lost to incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. This year, the two are facing off again for this battleground state’s gubernatorial race. A victory from Abrams would make her the first Black woman to govern the Peach State.

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Iowa: Democratic candidate Deidre DeJear is running against current Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. A victory from DeJear would make her the first Black woman to govern Iowa.

Kentucky: Democratic candidate Charles Booker is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Rand Paul in the U.S. Senate as it would make him the first Black person to be elected to the Senate from the Bluegrass State.

Louisiana: Democrat Gary Chambers is running against Republican Gov. John Kennedy for a seat in the Senate. A win from Chambers would make him the first African American to represent the Pelican State in the U.S. Senate. 

Maryland: Democratic candidate Wes Moore hopes to defeat Republican challenger Dan Cox to become Maryland’s first African American governor.

Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown is running against Republican Michael Peroutka to become the first Black attorney general in the Old Line State.  

Massachusetts: Democrat Andrea Campbell is hoping to become the first Black woman to be attorney general in the Bay State in a race against Republican Jay McMahon. 

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Republican Rayla Campbell has her sights set on becoming the first Black woman to be Massachusetts’ secretary of state as she runs against Democrat William Galvin, who is seeking his eighth term.

North Carolina: Republican Ted Budd, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is running against Democrat Cheri Beasley for a seat in the U.S. Senate. A win from Beasley would make her the first Black person to be elected to the Senate in North Carolina.

New York: The Empire State has never elected a Black senator, but Republican candidate, Joseph Pinion, is hoping to change that in the race against longtime Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Ohio: In the Buckeye State, Democrat Chelsea Clark faces Republican Frank LaRose in the race for secretary of state. A win from Clark would make her the first Black woman to hold that position in the state of Ohio.

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania has never elected a Black lieutenant governor, but Democratic candidate Austin Davis hopes to change that as he races against Republican Carrie DelRosso. 

South Carolina: Democrat Krystle Matthews faces incumbent Republican Sen. Tim Scott to become the first Black woman to represent South Carolina in the U.S Senate.

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Wisconsin: In the Badger State, Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes is attempting to become the first Black senator of the state in a race against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee

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