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There’s an opportunity to end the drought of Black governors as the primary season winds down and the November elections come into sharper focus. The success of Black candidates in statewide races could depend on their ability to excite the progressive base through a political agenda that focuses on programs to help the poor and promote equality.

See Also: Meet 2018’s Black Candidates For Governor

Maryland Democrats have a field of several candidates to choose from in Tuesday’s primary, in which former NAACP president Benjamin Jealous has emerged as the frontrunner in the polls, according to the Washington Post.

Jealous had 21 percent of Democratic support, followed by Prince George’s County executive Rushern L. Baker III with 16 percent, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll published on June 6. Still, roughly four in 10 Democrats are undecided.

Jealous’ path to victory against popular incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan lies in his ability to ignite the progressive base. The political newcomer received endorsements from Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California, New Jersey’s Cory Booker and Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders.

In Georgia, Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams has plotted a strategy in her diehard Republican state of emphasizing her progressive positions on issues, such as expanding Medicaid. Many are questioning the wisdom of Abrams declining to position herself in the center and appeal to moderates. However, that strategy ended in defeat for Democrats in Georgia recent governor’s races.

Abrams awaits a winner in the Republican runoff between Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. A poll in May placed her five points behind Cagle in a hypothetical race, 46 percent to 41 percent. But an internal poll from Abrams’ campaign placed her ahead of Kemp and Cagle, by 9 and 5 points respectively.

Florida’s Democratic primary, scheduled for Aug. 28, finds progressive Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in a probable uphill battle to win the party’s nomination. He’s polling third place among statewide Democrats. Gillum’s own polling, however, shows him ahead when likely voters are told about his progressive agenda.


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