Black Political Candidates Make History With A Round of Firsts


November 5, 2020

Congratulations are in order!

Despite the rollercoaster of emotions that came with Election Night in America, several Black political candidates have retained their spot or advanced to political office. A small victory in the continued effort to create a country that is just, free, and equitable for all!


Missouri Progressive Democrat Cori Bush was elected to Congress, and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke was re-elected in Brooklyn, NY, The Grio reports. Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar have also been re-elected to serve Massachusetts and Minnesota respectively. While Georgia re-elected freedom fighter, Lucy McBath, and the Democrats retained the power of the House. In addition to those wins, there were also many firsts.

Photo Courtesy of Michele Rayner-Goolsby/Twitter


Michele Rayner-Goolsby made history as the first Black queer woman elected in Florida at any level, Metro Weekly reports. She was elected to the Florida House of Representatives to represent District 70 and ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. She credited her win to her team, saying, “Our team was led by a Black woman. It was anchored by women and women of color. We won because we defined ourselves for ourselves.”

In a statement released after her historic victory, Rayner-Goolsby wrote, “We’ve run a campaign focused on putting people over politics, and that’s rooted in a commitment to working with and for residents until the change they seek is a reality. This win proves that this community is… tired [of] business as usual and ready for change, and I’m so grateful and humbled that the voters of District 70 have elected me to represent them in Tallahassee to move us closer to the change we all deserve.”

Photo Courtesy of Lindsey Wasson/Reuters


Marilyn Strickland also made history, becoming the first Black member of Congress elected from the Pacific Northwest, HuffPost reports. Strickland won the race to represent Washington’s 10th Congressional District in a huge win over progressive favorite Beth Doglio. The district covers the southern portion of Puget Sound in Washington, from Olympia to the Tacoma suburbs. Strickland is a former mayor and big business advocate who was the underdog candidate.

Photo Courtesy of @ritchietorres/Twitter/Laura Brett/Mondaire Jones for Congress/AP


New York Democrats Ritchie Torres & Mondaire Jones both made history as the first openly gay Black members of Congress, The Hill reports. Torres won New York’s 15th congressional district in the Bronx while Jones, a 33-year-old lawyer, won New York’s 17th congressional district.

“It is the honor of a lifetime to represent a borough filled with essential workers who risked their lives so that New York City could live. My pledge to the district is simple: I will fight for you,” Torres said of his historic win.

“I am humbled by the trust voters in Westchester and Rockland have placed in me, and grateful for the opportunity to serve the community that raised me – the community that just sent an openly gay, Black guy who grew up in Section 8 housing and on food stamps to Congress,” Jones said after his victory.


Photo Courtesy of Democratic Party of Bernalillo County


Democrat Harold Pope Jr. also made history as the first Black senator elected in New Mexico’s 108-year-history Santa Fe New Mexican reports. Pope previously served in the Air Force for more than two decades, with this being his first run for political office. He ran his campaign focused on reducing poverty and other uniting themes. Pope defeated a three-term incumbent, Sander Rue, making history as the first Black senator in a state where Black residents make up only 2.5% of the population.

“I feel great. There was the anxiousness [but] you do the work and hope,” Pope said just before the final numbers were posted.

Congratulations to all the candidates! May you all move the needle further than before!


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