Recent primaries for the upcoming midterm elections have seen historical gains for non-white candidates of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ people. From the Northeast to the Sunbelt states, populist conservatives and grassroots liberal progressives are making strides against the two-party establishment.
In the swing state of Florida, history could be made as progressive Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gullium won the Democratic primary for governor and if he defeats his Republican opponent — Trump backed Congressman Rob DeSantis — Gullium will become the Sunshine State’s first Black governor.
DeSantis has caused controversy since the primary election after he said on Fox News that the “last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda,” regarding Gullium policies. Neo-Nazi robocalls have made racist messages against the Democratic candidate, and DeSantis himself was a Facebook administrator a racially insensitive Tea Party group online.
Meanwhile, in Arizona, the U.S. Senate race to replace outgoing Senator Jeff Flake is finally set, as Congresswomen Martha McSally and Kirsten Sinema will compete against each other in the fall. If one of them is elected, they will become the Grand Canyon State’s first female senator.
If Sinema wins, she will become the country’s first openly bisexual Senator, and the second LGBTQIA+ person elected to the Senate after Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. She would also become the first self-identified secular nonreligious person elected to the high legislative chamber on Capitol Hill.
Another important race features Democrat David Garcia, who may become the state’s first Latino governor if he defeats incumbent Republican Doug Ducey.
In the liberal state of Massachusetts, Boston’s first African American woman elected city council member, Ayanna Pressley, defeated long-term Congressman Mike Capuano and will become the state’s first Black congressional representative.
In Delaware, veteran and community organizer Kerri Evelyn Harris did not succeed in defeating incumbant Senator Tom Carper in the Democratic Party primary.
Win or lose, these progressive candidates are likely to continue to make waves between 2018 and 2020. Northeastern states such as Rhode Island, New York, and New Hampshire are hosting their own primaries in September.
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