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Black women look to build upon gains in coming elections


Black female candidates are working to build upon their success in the last election cycle, setting their sights on governor’s mansions, Capitol Hill, and city halls in 2021 and 2022.

They made history in 2020, with Vice President Harris becoming the first Black and South Asian woman to hold the post, while Rep. Cori Bush (D) became the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress.

Despite the gains made last year, when the nation also saw a record number of Black female candidates win election to Congress, Black women remain underrepresented in political offices up and down the ballot. But upcoming elections show the group is working to change that.
“I can tell you that the structures that are in place, they aren’t built for people like me,” said Virginia gubernatorial candidate and former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (D).

Carroll Foy and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D) are both hoping to make history as the commonwealth’s first female governor and second Black governor.
Both women have already broken down barriers in Virginia. McClellan was the first member of the House of Delegates to be pregnant and give birth while in office. Carroll Foy was one of the first Black women to attend the Virginia Military Institute.

“When I walked into the General Assembly as a 32-year-old Black woman from the most Democratic district in the state, operating in a body that was mostly white men Republicans over 50, I very quickly understood I’ve got to meet people where they are, understand their perspective, and share my and other perspectives,” McClellan told The Hill.

The two women are competing in the Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, but they face an uphill battle against the race’s front-runner, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

A Christopher Newport University survey released in April showed the former governor holding a 47 percent lead, with McClellan and Carroll Foy respectively trailing at 6 percent and 5 percent support.
All three candidates tout support from leading figures in the commonwealth’s Black community. However, polls show McAuliffe leading with the demographic. A Public Policy poll released last month showed the former governor with 45 percent support among the Black community, while Carroll Foy and McClellan trailed at 9 percent and 6 percent support.

Some strategists argue that McClellan and Carroll Foy would have a broader net of support if McAuliffe was not in the race, and attribute his advantage to widespread name ID and previous record in the governor’s mansion.

But McClellan and Carroll Foy’s very presence in the race suggests that Black women will be a major force going into the 2022 midterms.

Glynda Carr, founder and CEO of Higher Heights, a group dedicated to electing Black progressive women, said the group has conducted research in Virginia and found that general election voters, particularly women, want “a new generation of leaders that they want someone that can unite their state, the country.”

“They actually are excited about making history, and they actually believe that a Black woman is uniquely positioned with all those traits to lead,” said Carr.

Higher Heights endorsed Carroll Foy in Virginia's Democratic primary.

In Florida, Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who was the first Black woman to serve as Orlando’s police chief, is slated to challenge incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for his seat.

Her candidacy for Senate has already kicked off a fight between multiple candidates to replace her in the state’s 10th Congressional District, including state Sen. Randolph Bracy (D), former state attorney Aramis Ayala, and civil rights attorney Natalie Jackson. All three candidates are representative of the district’s large Black population.

“There are amazing men who will do great work, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t as amazing women who have a lot to bring, a lot of insight, a lot of experience, and I’m certainly one of them,” Ayala told The Hill.

In the coming years, Carr said the nation is going to see more Black women in the Senate pipeline.

“If you look at the U.S. Senate, we elected Carol Moseley Braun in 1992, and it took almost 24 years to elect Kamala Harris. We certainly are not waiting over 20 years to elect the next Black woman,” Carr said.

Carr also thinks more Black women will run in mayoral races in the coming years.
She noted that in 2014 there were only two Black women serving as mayors in the country’s list of the 100 largest cities. But that number hit a new high in recent months with the appointment of Kim Janey as Boston’s mayor and Tishaura Jones’s election as mayor of St. Louis.

Now, a record nine Black women are serving as mayor in the country's 100 biggest cities.



“那么,我们去找谁?我们去妈妈和流行的地方......我们希望政治行动委员会会给我们钱,“卡罗尔补充说,她还担任 Maggie's List 的全国发言人,该组织致力于选举保守派女性。“但归根结底,这还不够,因为我们需要更大的捐助者。”

宾夕法尼亚州参议院候选人凯西·巴内特 (Kathy Barnette) (R) 是一名黑人女性和退伍军人,去年在该州第四届国会选区竞选众议院,她讨论了在努力取代即将卸任的参议员帕特里克·图米 (R-Pa.) 时面临的类似挑战。



在去年赢得国会选举的创纪录的 27 名黑人女性中,没有一位是共和党人,这一结果在该党在 11 月庆祝创纪录的女性获胜人数的选举周期中脱颖而出。大约三年前失去连任的前众议员 Mia Love(犹他州共和党)是唯一一位曾在国会任职的黑人共和党女性。


玛吉的名单已经为众议院候选人塔米卡·汉密尔顿提供了支持,后者是一位黑人共和党女性,去年在加利福尼亚州一个民主党倾向的选区获得了超过 45% 的选票,并再次竞选推翻该选区。
For more Black women candidates to break through the statewide barrier, Carr, of the progressive group Higher Heights, says the work must be done not only in investing in the pipeline in getting elected women to run for higher office, but also “continuing to identify商界领袖、社区活动家和社区组织者竞选这些职位。”

Carroll, of Maggie's List, said it's also important that once women get into office that they recruit others for their role — something her organization has been trying to assist with by helping build a pipeline for conservative women trying to get elected.
“Maggie 的名单正在积极地发布,看到那些有兴趣的人,教育、培训和指导他们,然后为他们提供成功的工具和资源,”她说。

Carroll hopes that women the group supports will then turn around and do the same for other women, “so that we're not looking at, 'Oh, this is the first time we ever had so many women elected to the Congress.'”