Election Day 2017 brought in a sweeping tide of wins in favor of Democrats after a political blowback against a foray of Republican candidates.
Black women in particular won seats in several major races across several high stakes local and state elections. Tuesday’s victories could signal an impending warning sign for the GOP party who may face a tough election cycle in the upcoming 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election.
Below are the candidates who ran on platforms of change and progress, claiming victory in historic local and state elections.
Jenkins was elected to Minneapolis’ city council as the first openly trans woman of color. Jenkins is also the first trans woman of color elected to a city council seat in a major U.S. city.
Oliver was elected as first Black female lieutenant governor of New Jersey on Tuesday. She previously made history as the state’s first female African-American assembly speaker.
Vi Lyles won the mayoral race in Charlotte, North Carolina, becoming the first Black woman to hold the position in the city’s history. Lyes defeated her republican opponent, Kenny Smith, grasping 58 percent of the vote.
Spicer made history on Tuesday as she was elected as the first mayor of Framingham, Massachusetts, a newly formed city.
Mary Parham Copelan
Copelan is the first Black woman to be elected mayor of Milledgeville, Georgia, winning by six votes against incumbent, Gary Thrower.
Bennett began her political journey after a sexist social post from her local city councilman about the Women’s March went viral. “Will the woman’s protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?” John Carman, a Republican member of the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders, wrote on Facebook in January.
On Tuesday, Bennett unseated Carson, with the support of dozens of women who came out to vote. Bennett, who has never held a public office, says she is up to rise to the challenge. “People want change,” Bennett said in an interview with Philly.com. “I am beyond speechless and incredibly grateful to serve my community. I never imaged I would run for office.”
The democratic candidate became the first Black mayor of Minneapolis, winning in a sweeping victory against his opponent, Chris Coleman, Minneapolis’ current mayor. Carter ran on a platform of police reform, affordable schooling and affordable public transportation.
Fairfax was elected on Tuesday as Virginia’s lieutenant governor. He’s the second Black person in Virginia’s history elected public office. The husband and father of two was a former federal prosecutor, but has never held public office. His win poises him to run in the next gubernatorial race.
Hoboken, New Jersey elected Ravinder Bahalla, its first Sikh mayor. Before being elected, Bahalla served on Hoboken’s city council for eight years.
“Thank you for having faith in me, for having faith in our community, faith in our state, and faith in our country; this is what America is all about,” Bahalla said among supporters in his victory speech according to The Jersey Journal.
Collins, who came to the states 23 years ago as a refugee from Liberia, was elected as the first Black mayor of Helena, Montana. On Tuesday Collins made history becoming the first Black person in the state’s history to hold the office of mayor. He voiced that his win gave a clear message to Trump and his supporters.
“The country is still not what Mr. Trump wants it to be,” Collins said in an interview with HuffPost. “The citizens of this state and this city where I have lived for the past 23 years have spoken and they are saying we want the best candidate. They’re not looking at color, at background and creed.”
The 27-year-old FAMU alumni is now the first Black mayor of Cairo, Georgia.
Barber made history Tuesday, becoming Georgetown, South Carolina’s first African-American mayor. Prior to, Barber served 19 years as a city council member.
“The Victory belongs to all of us!” Barber wrote on Facebook. “Please accept my heartfelt thanks and sincere appreciation for your overwhelming support, prayers, words of encouragement and votes of confidence.”
McCollar defeated incumbent Jan Moore on Tuesday and was elected as the first Black mayor of Statesboro, Georgia.
“It’s that the city was ready for change,” he said Tuesday in an interview with WTOC. “This is just evidence of the work from the people that were part of this movement.”