Black political candidates could make history in 2018. With the primary election season underway, there are several key races to watch.
Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia House minority leader, will square off Tuesday (May 22) against Stacey Evans in the Democratic primary for Georgia governor. If Abrams wins the primary and the general election, she will become the nation’s first Black woman governor.
Abrams is expected to beat Evans, who is white. She has the support of 58.2 percent of the likely Democratic voters surveyed, with Evans at 19 percent. Nearly 23 percent of the Democrats surveyed were undecided, according to a FOX 5 Atlanta poll conducted on May 15.
Another race to watch is in Maryland, where Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker leads a field of nine Democrats competing for governor. One of his opponents in the June 26 primary is former NAACP chief Ben Jealous. A February poll indicated that about 32 percent of Democrats are undecided, but Baker led the pack with 26 percent, and Jealous was in third place with 14 percent.
A lot of eyes are on the race to replace retired Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, who was the longest-serving member of Congress when he stepped down in December amid a sexual harassment scandal. The 88-year-old former lawmaker endorsed his son John Conyers III to replace him. At least 10 candidates jumped into the race for the Democratic nomination. The competition includes the former congressman’s great grandnephew Ian Conyers and Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones. The congressman’s son, however, may not be among them because the initial count of signatures on his petition to run for office came up short. Voters will get to make their choice on Aug. 7.
In Florida, Mayor Andrew Gillum of Tallahassee is among four major candidates competing for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor. None of the candidates has taken control of the race. Gillum is a progressive and viewed by many as the most charismatic candidate in the competition. Florida will hold its primary elections on Aug. 28.