Of the 17 (we found one more than originally reported) Black candidates competing in high-profile races across the country, only one newcomer prevailed in last night’s elections.
Wes Moore, a Democrat, defeated far-right Republican Dan Cox to become the first Black person elected governor in Maryland history.
The 44-year-old, is a former investment banker, Johns Hopkins University football player and graduate, Rhodes scholar, Army paratrooper and officer in Afghanistan, and White House fellow who once led the Robinhood Foundation, the country’s largest poverty-fighting nonprofit.
In the race without an incumbent, Moore defeated a first-time state legislator who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021. With his win, Moore became only the third Black politician elected governor in the United States — Virginia’s Douglas Wilder in 1989, and Deval Patrick of Massachusetts in 2006.
Other Governor Races
In Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams lost her bid to become the nation’s first Black female governor in her rematch against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
Other Black politicians running for governor were all Democrats. They included Yolanda Flowers, Alabama, and Deidre De Jear, Iowa, who like Abrams, both took on an incumbent. Chris Jones, In Arkansas, didn’t vie against a Republican, but lost to former Pres. Donald Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Sanders’s father Jim Huckabee is a former Arkansas governor.
There were 12 Black candidates for the U.S. Senate. So far only South Carolina Incumbent Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, has prevailed. His race had two African Americans competing against each other, with Scott vying against Krystle Matthews.
Similar to the governor’s races, most of the candidates vied against incumbents. Losing to incumbents were Democrats: Natalie James, losing in Arkansas to John Boozman; Gary Chambers losing Louisiana to John Kennedy; Charles Booker, losing in Kentucky to Rand Paul, and Val Demings, losing to Marco Rubio in Florida.
Joe Pinion, a Black Republican, lost to incumbent Charles Schumer in New York.
In Alabama, Democrat Will Boyd lost to Trump-endorsed candidate Katie Britt. Although she wasn’t an incumbent, Britt served as Chief of Staff to current Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, who decided not to seek reelection.
Two races have not been decided. In Wisconsin, Democrat and current Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is trailing incumbent Ron Johnson by about 31,000 votes. With more votes still to be counted, many from highly Democratic strongholds, Barnes’ chances of prevailing still appear possible.
Finally, the race is too close to call in Georgia between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. With three candidates in the race, it appears possible neither Walker or Warnock will be able to secure more than 50% of the vote. By Georgia law, if neither candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, a run-off is required. If required, the runoff will be held on Dec. 6.