Black gov nominees become stars in bid
Cuomo beats Nixon
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
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.