2020 is ramping up to be one of the most competitive election years to date. As we look towards how we will vote in November, here are some Black Democratic candidates running for state and federal office. Marie Claire has compiled a long list of Black candidates. Here are a few candidates to follow this year. (As a note of transparency to readers, I am a Democratic voter and have interned for a Democratic US Senator.) The following is not an endorsement of any candidates.
State Legislature Candidates
Arizona’s 6th District
Coral is the mayor of Flagstaff, Arizona who began her public service career as a city council member. As a candidate for Arizona’s 6th District, a key part of her campaign is centering the importance of small businesses. She also is a strong proponent of educational reforms, promising on her website to “get more money in our classrooms.” Coral believes in “local control”, promising to fight for local governing rights. Referencing the case of short-term rentals, Coral argues on her website that “Preemption laws hurt our ability to govern ourselves.” She is running against Walter Blackman, the district’s incumbent representative and Art Babbott, an independent.
Nebraska’s 11th State Senate District
A son of Omaha, community organizer Terrell McKinney is focused on criminal justice reform, promising to champion the legalization of marijuan and wipe marijuana conviction records. He is also an advocate of reforming the justice system, with one way he proposes change is by expanding the number of public defenders. Terrell also believes in education reform, stating on his webpage that he will advocate for financial education, Black history curriculum, and cultural competency for teachers and administrators.
Delaware’s 26th District
Madinah is one election away from making history. As reported by The Hill, if she wins, the former legislative fellow and aide will become the first Muslim to serve in Delaware’s state legislative branch. Medinah believes in restorative justice, promising on her webpage to “abolish minimum sentencing.” She is also a proponent of equal healthcare, promising to push for a public option for Delawareans. According to The Washington Post, she faces Timothy Conrad, the Republican candidate in November.
US House of Representatives, Washington State’s 10th Congressional District
Marilyn is the former mayor of Tacoma and is running to represent Washington’s 10th Congressional District. According to her website, Marilyn is a strong advocate of green energy and wants to strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency. Marilyn is also in favor of universal healthcare, stating on her website, “She will fight for a healthcare system in which everyone, regardless of income, employment or citizenship status, has affordable, equitable, high-quality healthcare.” If Marilyn wins, she will become the first Black representative from the state of Washington and first Korean American to serve in the US Congress.
US Senate, Mississippi
Mike Espy has already made history. The first African American African American to serve as the US Secretary of Agriculture, he is now running against Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith for a US Senate seat. According to his website, Mike believes in the expansion of Medicaid, and is a proponent of pushing for the lowering of prescription drug prices. He is also a strong advocate of Internet access, promising that he will ensure “Quality broadband access to every Mississippian.” He is also a strong proponent of creating job training programs, which he believes will help his constituents.
US House of Representatives, New York’s 16th District
Jamaal is a former middle school principal who is running to represent New York’s 16th District in the House of Representatives. Earlier this year, he defeated Representative Eliot Engel who has been in congress since 1989. His victory, which received national attention, is expected to be repeated next month. Jamaal is a supporter of Medicare for All, a woman’s right to choose, gun control, and a supporter of the Green New Deal.
Want to learn about more Black candidates running for office? Check out Marie Claire’s list of candidates.
Nikki Brueggeman is a writer based out of Southern California. She has been published in Yes! Magazine, Byrdie, and Upworthy. Her adventures in writing can be followed on Twitter: @warriornikki.