Every February, the United States honors the efforts and sacrifices of African Americans who helped shape the country. Black History Month is an important time to recognize and commemorate the historical contributions and accomplishments of the Black community. Furthermore, it offers an opportunity to educate and create awareness about the significant role Black people have played in shaping history, as well as to celebrate Black leaders, activists, and pioneers who have fought for equality and justice.
DSPolitical is proud to have helped 170 Black candidates, including 21 U.S. House Representatives, win their election during the 2022 midterm elections. Electing Black candidates and ensuring Black representation in elected office is crucial for promoting diversity and political representation. A diverse group of elected officials also leads to a more representative government better equipped to make decisions that serve the needs of all members of society. Overall, Black representation in elected office is important for promoting equity, fairness, and inclusiveness in the political system. In celebration of Black History Month, we compiled a list of 10 Black candidates who made history during the 2022 elections– and who you should know!
On election day, Stephanie Thomas became the first Black woman elected as Connecticut’s secretary of state. DSPolitical partnered with Berlin Rosen, supporting Stephanie Thomas in her race for Connecticut’s Secretary of State.
Democratic Gov. Wes Moore made history this past election, officially assuming office as Maryland’s first Black chief executive, the nation’s third Black governor, and the only one currently serving. His plans include a renewed focus on clean energy, police reform, and increasing youth mental health programs funding.
Democrat Summer Lee, who won in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, is the first Black woman elected to Congress from the state. Fighting the status quo has been a recurrent theme of her political career. She hopes to break the “cement ceiling” by ensuring she is not the last Black woman to represent Pennsylvania.
McClellan is running in a special election to the U.S. House to represent Virginia’s 4th Congressional District. Throughout Virginia’s over 400-year history, an unshattered glass ceiling remains — there has never been a Black woman elected to Congress. If she wins the special election, she promises not to stop there and continue the fight for progress.
Raphael Warnock became the first Black senator from Georgia when he won the 2020 election runoff. During the 2022 midterm elections, he made history by becoming Georgia’s first Black full-term senator. DSPolitical aided our partners by motivating Democrats to vote in the state of Georgia, helping Senator Warnock secure more votes than opponent Herschel Walker during the initial election.
Massachusetts’ Andrea Campbell is now the first Black woman to be elected attorney general in state history. Andrea Campbell made history as the first Black woman to serve as the state’s top lawyer and the first woman of color to hold statewide office. She joins a historic group of constitutional officers where five of the six officials are women.
In Connecticut, Erick Russell won the race to serve as treasurer, becoming the first-ever Black out LGBTQ candidate elected to statewide office in U.S. history. The LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed candidate Erick Russell won the election for Connecticut state Treasurer. With this victory, he is now the first Black, out LGBTQ person ever elected to statewide office in U.S. history.
Maxwell Alejandro Frost
Maxwell Frost, a 25-year-old Democrat, won in Florida’s 10th Congressional District and brings a new perspective to the seat as the first member of Gen Z elected to serve in the U.S. Congress.
Underwood won her re-election to the U.S. House to represent Illinois’ 14th Congressional District. In 2018, Underwood was elected to the United States House of Representatives, defeating Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren. After swearing in, she became the youngest Black woman to serve in Congress.
Neguse rode into Congress on the Blue Wave—In 2018, Joseph Neguse became the first Eritrean American to serve in Congress and the first African American to be elected to Congress from Colorado. He ran for re-election and won during the 2022 midterm election.
Why it matters
For many Black communities, political representation acts as a catalyst for higher racial equality and the accountability of governmental institutions. Black representation in elected office helps to challenge systemic racism and advance policies that address inequities. In addition, having Black leaders in positions of power helps to shift cultural attitudes and challenge longstanding stereotypes, promoting a more inclusive and equitable society. In short, Black representation in elected office is crucial for advancing social justice, promoting diversity in government, and creating a more inclusive and equitable society.