On Election Day, Antonio Delgado because the first Black congressman elected in upstate New York. Ayanna Pressley became Massachusetts’ first Black congresswoman and Jahana Hayes won election that’ll make her the first Black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress.
Other African-American winners during the contentious midterm elections included Joe Neguse, now the first Black congressman out of Colorado; Garin Gilchrist, Michigan’s first Black lieutenant governor; Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin’s first Black lieutenant governor; Juliana Stratton, Illinois’ first Black lieutenant governor; Tish James, New York’s first Black female attorney general; Kwame Raoul, Illinois attorney general; Anita Earls, North Carolina Supreme Court; and Aaron Ford, Nevada’s first Black attorney general.
Also, leading the election night charge and coming out victorious were African-American Democrats Colin Allred (Texas-32nd District), Lauren Underwood (Ill.-14th District) and Steven Horsford (Nev.-4th District), as well as Ilhan Omar, who won election as the first Muslim women and first Somali-American elected to Congress out of Minnesota.
Each of those election night victors enjoyed the support of The Collective PAC, a northwest D.C. consortium that raised more than $5.5 million and contributed over $800,000 directly to the candidates.
Additionally, The Collective launched the largest mobile GOTV program in history, reaching over 1.4 million Black voters, encouraging participation in the midterms through peer-to-peer conversations.
Leaders of another D.C.-based firm, Think Rubix, the creators of the “Woke Vote” organizing model, said the election has allowed them to do something rare in a political climate defined by xenophobic rhetoric and consistent rollbacks of progressive policies.
“With historic wins from Ayanna Pressley to Ilhan Omar, to a game-changing number of progressive women and women of color turning the House blue, to a possible run-off in Georgia governor’s race for Stacey Abrams to the restoration of voting rights to the formerly-incarcerated in Florida, we have reached a tipping point,” the group said in a statement. “When we look back on historic and critical wins, we must remember what it took and we must acknowledge who it took to make them.
“Think Rubix and other Black-led organizations paved the road for Black-focused campaigning efforts, but as we’ve seen, campaigns cannot simply rely on the charity of Black-led organizations,” the Think Rubix officials said. “They must invest in Black voters and other voters of color, long-term and from the roots up. We can celebrate, however, that Florida voters have approved Amendment 4, calling for voter enfranchisement for almost 1.5 million people. This group of voters is disproportionately Black and represents a decisive voting bloc that could have turned the tide of the Florida governor race.
The efforts count among the primary reasons why candidates of color were able to cross the finish line victorious.
“The Collective PAC congratulates our endorsed candidates for running people-focused, successful campaigns that resulted in Democrats taking back the House and celebrate those who weren’t victorious last night,” The Collective PAC co-founders Quentin James and Stefanie Brown James said in a statement on Friday. “We endorsed these phenomenal Black candidates because we envision a progressive, inspired nation that reflects the great diversity of this country. We look forward to seeing the many ways in which our nation will change for the better at the hands of these newly elected officials. We truly believe that if Black people, people of color and women have equal representation in government, we can all realize the American dream.”
Earlier, The Collective PAC released data culled from “Who Represents Us,” a project of the Women’s Donor Network, that revealed that 90 percent of elected officials in the United States are White, 95 percent of elected prosecutors are White and 96 percent and 82 percent of Republican and Democratic candidates for political office are White.
Therefore, The Collective PAC said its focused on increasing the number of African Americans in public office at all levels, to ensure that the nation upholds its ideals and promises of a truly representative democracy.
With Georgia and Florida remaining “too close to call,” The Collective also reaffirmed its support for Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.
“We affirm our support of Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams as she continues to ensure that all voters in Georgia are seen and all voters are counted, and Andrew Gillum’s historic campaign in Florida,” The Collective’s founders said in the news release. “Even in the face of countless, racially motivated attacks and voter suppression efforts, Stacey and Andrew ran their races with dignity, pragmatism and an eye towards advancing the lives of all Georgians and Floridians. We stood with Stacey and Andrew at the very beginning of their campaigns and will continue to support their efforts to see true democracy fully exercised in Georgia and Florida.”