Black gov nom­i­nees be­come stars in bid

Cuomo beats Nixon

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON, Sept 15, (AP): It was a rau­cous scene that could have been back­stage at a rock con­cert: cam­era flashes, fans clam­or­ing for au­to­graphs, scowl­ing body­guards, re­porters hun­gry for a scoop.

But the cen­ter of this at­ten­tion wasn’t Bey­once or the Rolling Stones. It was three black gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates who stood side by side in a throng of ad­mir­ers, soak­ing up all that love.

If elected, Stacey Abrams of Ge­or­gia, Ben Jeal­ous of Mary­land and Andrew Gil­lum of Florida would give Amer­ica its largest num­ber of black gov­er­nors ever. That his­toric pos­si­bil­ity was not lost on them, or the black vot­ers who hope to make that his­tory hap­pen, as they shared the stage at the Con­gres­sional Black Cau­cus’ an­nual leg­isla­tive con­fer­ence this week.

“This mo­ment, and the sig­nif­i­cance of it, won’t seep in for some time from now,” said Gil­lum, mayor of Tal­la­has­see, and at 39 the youngest of the three.

“What this sig­nals is not only the con­tin­ued evo­lu­tion of our coun­try but the in­creas­ing recog­ni­tion of diver­sity, not only of ca­pac­ity but of back­grounds,” said Abrams, 44, later.

Abrams, who could be­come the na­tion’s first black fe­male gover­nor, is get­ting the most na­tional at­ten­tion. But all three were squired around the Wash­ing­ton Con­ven­tion Cen­ter by black politi­cos who are strate­giz­ing ways to help on turnout, cam­paign­ing and fundrais­ing.

Jeal­ous, 45, faces the steep­est chal­lenge, down in polls against in­cum­bent Repub­li­can Gov Larry Ho­gan. Abrams and Gil­lum are run­ning for open seats.

Af­ter the three spoke to­gether on stage, Jeal­ous lis­tened at­ten­tively back­stage as Demo­cratic US Rep Sheila Jack­son Lee of Texas laid out plans to help him with voter turnout and fundrais­ing. Gil­lum, mean­while, stood nearby shak­ing hands with other state elected of­fi­cials and Abrams con­ducted a me­dia in­ter­view. “I be­lieve what we see in this cur­rent elec­toral cy­cle is not go­ing to stop,” Abrams said. “We have more diver­sity in the can­di­dates run­ning and in the can­di­dates win­ning and par­tic­u­larly for women of color . ... I’m proud to be part of a na­tional trend and I think it’s a trend that’s be­com­ing a per­ma­nent one for Amer­ica.”

None of them were heavy fa­vorites in their pri­maries. Abrams is a long­time state of­fi­cial and for­mer state House leader; Gil­lum has been a fix­ture of lo­cal Tal­la­has­see pol­i­tics since his col­lege days; and Jeal­ous is a for­mer head of the NAACP and was a ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist and ac­tivist be­fore en­ter­ing the gover­nor’s race


last year.

Their his­toric pri­mary wins - and the na­tional at­ten­tion it brought - will bring out Demo­cratic vot­ers who might not have voted in a midterm elec­tion oth­er­wise, they said. Midterm elec­tions typ­i­cally draw fewer than half of those el­i­gi­ble to vote.



Cyn­thia Nixon, the left-lean­ing “Sex and the City” ac­tress turned ed­u­ca­tion ac­tivist, lost her dream of be­com­ing New York gover­nor Thurs­day, trounced in the Demo­cratic Party pri­mary by the twoterm in­cum­bent.

Andrew Cuomo, 60, in of­fice since 2011 and who com­manded a huge war chest from pow­er­ful donors, bat­ted aside her in­sur­gent bid at 66-34 per­cent, US me­dia pro­jected not long af­ter the polls closed.

The re­sult puts him on course to win a third term as chief ex­ec­u­tive of Amer­ica’s fourth most pop­u­lous state, which leans heav­ily Demo­crat, in the gen­eral elec­tion on Novem­ber 6.

The 52-year-old mother of three dived into the race in March, in a bid to be­come the first woman and first openly gay gover­nor, de­mand­ing change and sup­port­ing a raft of left-of-cen­ter hot-but­ton is­sues.

Nei­ther Cuomo nor Nixon made any im­me­di­ate pub­lic com­ment af­ter US me­dia called the race.

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