US mid-term polls: First black female nominee for governor

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Washington, May 23 (IANS) Voters in the US have chosen a black woman as nominee for state governor after former lawmaker and author Stacey Abrams declared victory in Georgias Democratic primary.

Abrams, former state House minority leader, beat former state representative Stacey Evans on Tuesday, the US media reported.

“We are writing the next chapter of Georgia’s future where no one is unseen, no one is unheard and no one is uninspired,” said 44-year-old Abrams at her post-election party. “We are writing a history of a Georgia where we prosper together.”

She will face a Republican candidate in the high-stakes mid-term contest in November. If elected in the deeply conservative state, Abrams would become the first woman and the first person from an ethnic minority to lead the southern state.

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Both the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her major primary rival Bernie Sanders endorsed Abrams in the primary. Clinton recorded a robocall for her the day before the election, said a USA Today report.

She also reportedly raised about two-thirds of her campaign funds from outside the state. National groups chipped in another $2 million worth of ads supporting her.

Georgia has never elected a woman governor. It has elected Republican governors since 2003 and President Donald Trump won the state with just over 50 per cent of the vote.

As many as 46 women have filed to run in governors’ races in 2018, breaking the record of 34 candidates in 1994, according to the Centre for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

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Kentucky and Arkansas also held primaries on Tuesday while Texas held a primary runoff election.

Abrams’ victory came hours after Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot, defeated the Democratic party’s establishment candidate in the primary race for a House seat in Kentucky.

McGrath, who fashioned herself as part of a younger generation seeking to challenge the old guard in Washington, beat Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, a millionaire who had been backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Primaries were also held in Arkansas where the state’s governor, Asa Hutchinson, comfortably held off a primary challenge from the right.

Although Arkansas boasts of an entirely Republican delegation in Congress, Democrats are eyeing the state’s 2nd congressional district.

Democrats need to flip 23 seats to take control of the House of Representatives in November.

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