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There have been two African Americans elected governor in the United States. At least one of the (numerous) Black candidates running for governor in 2018 is bound to seriously compete given the pushback against President Donald Trump that was seen in the 2017 election cycle.

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In Maryland, two Black candidates are competing in the Democratic primary. A poll released on Thursday indicates that about 47 percent of Democrats are undecided, but one of the African-American hopefuls has a slight edge over his opponents.

Some of the Black people running for governor have national name recognition, like Stacey Abrams in Georgia, while others are less known.

Here, a list of Black candidates running for governor in 2018:


In the Sunshine State, Andrew Gillum, who was elected the first Black mayor of Tallahassee in 2014, is polling in third place in the Democratic primary race. He has 9 percent of the vote behind the two frontrunners, who are tied at 12 percent each.



Stacey Abrams is one of two Democratic candidates running for governor of this red state. In 2010, she became the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and the first African American to lead in the House of Representatives. If elected governor, Abrams, an attorney, would be Georgia’s first African-American governor. She’s considered the “nominal favorite” to win the primary.


This is Tio Hardiman’s second run for Illinois governor. He competed in the 2014 Democratic primary and won 28.1 percent of the Democratic vote and 30 counties. This time, he’s in fourth place with 1.73 percent of the vote, in a primary contest in which 37.95 percent of Democratic voters are undecided. Meanwhile the Democratic frontrunner, J.B. Pritzker, is embroiled in a racial controversy.



In Maryland, 47 percent of Democrats said in the most recent poll that they’re undecided. Rushern Baker, however, leads Democrats with 19 percent of the prospective vote. Former NAACP president, Ben Jealous, is in third place in the poll with 10 percent.

Rushern Baker

Ben Jealous



Black candidates in Michigan appear to be longshots to win the Democratic primary, as they are not even in the conversation. William Cobb is a retired Xerox executive who wants to improve K-12 education and the state’s infrastructure. Kentiel White, a former Detroit police officer, is focused on community redevelopment, among other issues.

Kentiel White


Larry Ealy, a former exotic dancer, earned 17 percent of the vote in the 2014 Democratic primary. In 2018, he’s not expected to get nearly that many votes.



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