One year removed from the most divisive election in modern history, voters were heading back to the ballots in a series of pivotal political contests across the country. Several intriguing battles have taken center stage and include African-American candidates.
Here are six of them to watch:
Eyes are on the Atlanta mayoral race because Mary Norwood, a 65-year-old city councilwoman, has a chance to become the city’s first White mayor in more than four decades. At one point, Norwood held a double-digit lead in the polls. However, one of the latest surveys showed that one of her competitors, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has pulled ahead of her.
Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson has an uphill climb to beat incumbent Mayor Martin J. Walsh and become the city’s first African-American mayor. The Boston branch of the NAACP released a scathing 175-page report criticizing Walsh for not keeping his promises to communities of color. One things to look for is whether Black voters will punish the mayor at the polls.
Coleman Young was Detroit’s first African-American mayor. Now his son, Coleman Young II, is trying to walk in his father’s footsteps. But he’s competing against a popular White mayor, Mike Duggan. Even though the city’s population is more than 80 percent Black, many analysts said voters wanted to give Duggan a chance to continue his economic recovery efforts.
New Orleans Mayor
The winner of the New Orleans contest will become the city’s first woman mayor, and both candidates are African-American. City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and former judge Desiree Charbonnet topped a field of 18 candidates in October to compete in a two-candidate runoff, scheduled for Nov. 18.
Analyzing the road ahead, The Advocate reported that Cantrell, who emerged as a champion of the working-class after Hurricane Katrina, had the support of prominent individuals in the White business community.
Her opponent had the backing of the city’s Democratic U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as key players in New Orleans’ political establishment.
St. Paul Mayor
The St. Paul Police Federation not only targeted African-American candidate Melvin Carter for a racist attack that included the creation and distribution of a political flier that suggested he was somehow responsible for a surge in gun violence, pinning that claim on the theft of two guns from Carter’s home. However, the scheme backfired, with scores of voters and elected officials condemning the police union. Carter won the support of several top Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Al Franken.
Virginia Lt. Governor
Justin Fairfax, the Democratic candidate for Virginia lieutenant governor, was running for office amid racial tension within his party and from his GOP opponent. Ralph Northam, who was running for governor, created uproar in the party when he omitted Fairfax from a group of campaign fliers that lists Democrats running for statewide office.
Meanwhile, Fairfax also received subtle racist attacks from the right. His Republican opponent, Jill Holtzman Vogel, raised a question during their final debate about whether Fairfax can “talk intelligently” about issues.
If Fairfax wins, he will become the first African-American elected statewide in Virginia since Douglas Wilder became governor in 1989.
Happy Presidents' Day! 44 Photos To Make You Miss Obama
1. Barack Gives Daughter Malia a KissSource:Getty 1 of 42
2. Michelle and Barack tell the kids a storySource:Getty 2 of 42
3. Michelle and Barack KissSource:Getty 3 of 42
4. Michelle and BarackSource:Getty 4 of 42
5. First Family PortraitSource:Getty 5 of 42
6. Two TermsSource:Getty 6 of 42
7. Michelle and Barack host a State DinnerSource:Getty 7 of 42
8. Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaSource:Getty 8 of 42
9. The Obamas on Air Force OneSource:Getty 9 of 42
10. The First Family in LondonSource:Getty 10 of 42
11. First Lady Michelle Obama with daughters Malia Obama and Sasha ObamaSource:Getty 11 of 42
12. Sasha and Malia Obama at the 2016 State DinnerSource:Getty 12 of 42
13. Turkey PardoningSource:Getty 13 of 42
14. Sunday ChurchSource:Getty 14 of 42
15. Gobble, GobbleSource:Getty 15 of 42
16. Malia Obama, the First DaughterSource:Getty 16 of 42
17. Barack Obama and his daughter Malia ObamaSource:Getty 17 of 42
18. A Family AffairSource:Getty 18 of 42
19. Flashback To The Old DaysSource:Pete Souza 19 of 42
20. Happy Birthday!Source:Getty 20 of 42
21. Candidly AwesomeSource:Pete Souza 21 of 42
22. Historic First FamilySource:Getty 22 of 42
23. Ice Cream TreatSource:Getty 23 of 42
24. TV TimeSource:Pete Souza 24 of 42
25. Always Giving BackSource:Getty 25 of 42
26. A Christmas StorySource:Getty 26 of 42
27. Hawaii Trip!Source:Getty 27 of 42
28. Obama Loves Team USA & His WifeSource:Getty 28 of 42
29. Malia and Sasha ObamaSource:Getty 29 of 42
30. Michelle Plays on a BikeSource:Getty 30 of 42
31. Obama Loves Team USA, His Wife & MaliaSource:Getty 31 of 42
32. Reading TimeSource:Pete Souza 32 of 42
33. Family SupportSource:Getty 33 of 42
34. The Sister SelfieSource:Pete Souza 34 of 42
35. Supporting MomSource:Pete Souza 35 of 42
36. Giving Back On MLK DaySource:Getty 36 of 42
37. Obamas Give Back To The CommunitySource:Getty 37 of 42
38. Always Supporting Small BusinessesSource:Getty 38 of 42
39. Obama SwaggerSource:Getty 39 of 42
40. Laughs & TurkeysSource:Getty 40 of 42
41. Christmas With The ObamasSource:Getty 41 of 42
42. 50th Anniversary Of March On SelmaSource:Pete Souza 42 of 42
6 Black Candidates Poised To Make History On Election Day 2017 was originally published on newsone.com