Updated Nov 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Where Black candidates made history in the midterm elections

Photo of Wes Moore speaking while raising his hand

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore speaks during a rally in Bowie, Md., on Nov. 7. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Several Black candidates made history Tuesday night with election wins across the U.S.

Driving the news: Among them are Wes Moore (D), who will be the first Black governor of Maryland, and Maxwell Frost (D), the 25-year-old Afro-Latino who will be the first member of Generation Z in Congress.

  • In Maryland, Anthony Brown (D) was elected the state's first Black attorney general, while Massachusetts' Andrea Campbell (D) is now the first Black woman to be elected attorney general in state history.
  • Summer Lee (D) became the first Black woman elected to Congress from Pennsylvania.
  • In Connecticut, Erick Russell (D) won the race to serve as treasurer, becoming the first-ever Black out LGBTQ candidate elected to statewide office in U.S. history.
  • Stephanie Thomas (D) became the first Black woman elected to serve as Connecticut’s secretary of state.

Why it matters: For many Black communities, political representation is a catalyst for progress in racial equality and holding government institutions accountable.

  • A 2020 Pew Research Center survey found that 4 in 10 Black adults say electing more Black people to office would be a "very effective tactic" for groups striving to help Black Americans achieve equality.
  • Representation has grown even more important in the past two years, with battles over voting restrictions and redistricting plans that civil rights groups say dilute Black electoral power.

The big picture: Black representation in elected office has steadily increased over the last decade, but gaps remain.

  • About 13% of lawmakers in the current House are Black, which is roughly on par with the overall share of Black Americans.

Yes, but: Only three senators are Black — all men.

Editor's note: This article was updated to include Summer Lee, Stephanie Thomas and Erick Russell.

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