A number of Black policymakers are gearing up their campaigns in hopes of winning big in the 2022 governor elections in New York, Massachusetts, and Georgia. Since former governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts retired in 2015, there have been no Black governors in office. According to Pew Research, there have only been four in U.S. history. Former Union Army officer Pinckney Pinchback became the governor of Lousiana, but only for 36 days, following the impeachment of Henry Clay Warmoth in 1872. “During his short tenure, several appointments were granted, and ten legislative bills were sanctioned,” according to the National Governors Association.
Between the 1990s and 2000s, New York, Virginia, and Massachusetts have each elected a Black governor – David Paterson, Douglass Wilder, and Deval Patrick, respectively. While the number may be disappointing, an alluring sense of hope seems to be present for the forthcoming 2022 election, especially due to the uprise of Black lawmakers that have made historic wins in both Congress and in the mayoral race this year. Back in November, Eric Adams became New York City’s second Black mayor, While Andre Dickens beat out former city councilwoman Felicia Moore during the run-off election, becoming the city’s 61st mayor.
But in politics, Black folks still have a long way to go. This country has never had a black woman governor and only a handful of black senators. In the entire 231 years that the U.S. Senate has existed, there have only been 11 senators who are Black, now including Warnock. All but four of them were elected and just two of that already small number are women.
This year looks to change that with new, young, and fresh Black faces looking to make a name for themselves in a new political landscape. New York already has a handful of Black candidates running for governor for the next term. Both Georgia and Massachusetts have women of color running for governor in 2022.
With Stacey Abrams announcing her bid for governor of Georgia, bookmakers believe she has an early edge when it comes to odds for winning the election. Only time will tell if she will be victorious, but regardless, it opens the door for future black candidates who might follow in her footsteps.
Let’s take a look at a few Black candidates who have announced their bid for governor in 2022.
1. Jumaane WilliamsSource:Getty
On Nov. 16, the New York public advocate announced his run for governor. Williams made his gubernatorial bid in a campaign video titled “Always Moving” where he spoke on some of the challenges he has faced throughout his lifetime of activism for change.
“Without new, courageous, progressive leadership creating change, the way things have always been will stand in the way of what they can be,” the Democrat captioned the video.
The former city councilman is running against former New York mayor Kathy Hochul.
2. Letitia JamesSource:Getty
The New York attorney general announced her run for governor in late October and she just might be the most formidable contender against Hochul. James oversaw the sexual harassment case of former disgraced governor Cuomo and fought back in the city’s rising opioid epidemic, which might give her an edge with voters.
3. Stacey AbramsSource:Getty
4. Derrick GibsonSource:Getty
The Republican and podcast host recently launched a bid for governor in New York. Gibson refers to himself as a “true conservative” according to his website. He was also a close constituent of former president Donald Trump, participating in his “Stop the Steal” rallies.
5. Danielle AllenSource:Getty
Danielle Allen, who is the director of Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and a political science professor, launched her bid to become Massachusett’s next governor back in June. If she wins, the former MacArthur Genius Grant recipient would become the state’s first elected woman and the first Black woman to hold the coveted seat up winning.
Allen said her campaign is based on implementing “the building blocks of social infrastructure: housing, transportation, schools, [and] justice,” according to WBUR. “This was the first state to abolish enslavement, yet it has taken us this long to get to this day. It’s time to accelerate the pace of change,” she added.