The nomination by Georgia Democrats of Stacey Abrams to be their candidate for governor makes history. She’s the first African-American woman to win a major party primary for governor. In Texas, Lupe Valdez became the first Latina major party candidate and first openly gay candidate to win a primary in her state.
As Democrats in normally red states, they’ll face tough races in November to make more history and become the nation’s first-ever African-American woman in a governor’s mansion and the first Latina governor in Texas.
Abrams, if she can win, would be the only sitting African-American governor, man or woman. There are currently none in office since Deval Patrick left office in Massachusetts in 2015.
The current breakdown of US governors is that six are women (Alabama, Iowa, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and Rhode Island). The rest are men. All but three governors (Susana Martinez in New Mexico, Brian Sandoval in Nevada and David Ige of Hawaii) are white, according to data collected by the Center on the American Governor at Rutgers.
Historically, there have been remarkably few minorities to reach that height in politics – only four African American men and two non-white women. There have also been a number of Hispanic, Asian-American, and two Indian-American Governors.
The first African American governor – P.B.S. Pinchback – became acting governor of Louisiana for just 36 days in 1872. There was no other African-American governor for more than 100 years until 1990, when Douglas Wilder was elected the governor of Virginia.
Both previous nonwhite women governors are Republicans. The first women of color were elected in 2010 – Susana Martinez and Nikki Haley who was governor of South Carolina before becoming President Donald Trump’s US ambassador to the UN.