In this year's midterm elections, a record number of Black candidates are running for political office, reports The Hill.
In four states, Black Senate candidates are in highly-contested races that are crucial to President Joe Biden's administration and the Democratic party’s hopes of maintaining a majority in the Senate.
Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat and Georgia's first Black senator, is facing a Black Republican, Herschel Walker, a former NFL player. Rep. Val Demings (D) is challenging GOP incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio. Former state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley (D) is facing Republican Rep. Ted Budd. Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) is running to unseat Sen. Ron Johnson (R).
Political commentator Juan Williams notes that in the long history of the United States Senate there have never been more than three Black Senators serving at the same time and only 11 Black people have ever served in the upper chamber. Currently, Warnock along with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen.Tim Scott (R-S.C.) are the only Black senators in Congress.
Williams also points out that the Florida senate race between Demings, a Black woman and former police chief, and Rubio, a Latino who has presidential aspirations, has flown under the radar. While most polls have Rubio ahead by a slim margin, Demings has raised more money than her opponent and could raise her popularity with a late push leading up to Election Day. Interestingly, Demings is leading among independent voters in the "Sunshine State."
In Georgia, Warnock is in the lead over Walker, but it is within the margin of error.
Barnes holds the lead over Johnson in Wisconsin in a close race, with the latest polls from August giving Barnes a 50 percent to 46 percent lead.
If four Black senators are going to make history this election cycle, strong Black voter turnout is essential to the equation. Addressing the importance of voting, Michelle Obama and Chris Paul teamed up for a PSA on National Black Voter Day to encourage voters to use their voices at the ballot box.
“This National Black Voter Day, I want you to head over to WhenWeAllVote.org to check your voter registration status and ask three friends to do the same,” Obama said in the video.
“We’re seeing the polling places closed down, early voting hours being cut, folks being purged from the voting rolls,” added Paul . “Who would have thought that in 2022, our right to vote would still be under threat?”
Election Day is on November 8, 2022.