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Election first for black woman

China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-24 09:21
Stacey Abrams, running for the Democratic primary for Georgia's 2018 governor's race, speaks at a Young Democrats of Cobb County meeting as she campaigns in Cobb County, Georgia, US, Nov 16, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

ATLANTA, Georgia - Democratic voters rallied on Tuesday for the chance to make history in November by selecting a ticket filled with female candidates, including a bid to elect the first African-American female governor in the United States.

Stacey Abrams won the party's nomination for governor in Georgia, where she faces long odds in a Republican-dominated southern state testing divergent Democratic strategies.

She was among a slate of candidates selected by voters in four states to advance to the November midterm elections. Contests in Texas and Kentucky also moved women to the forefront of the fight for the US House of Representatives, where Democrats need to wrest 23 seats from Republicans to gain control.

Several races were a referendum on divisions within the Democratic party.

Kentucky Democrats picked a female former Marine fighter pilot, Amy McGrath, in a snub to the party establishment for a US House seat district that Democrats hope to put into play. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had promoted her opponent, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, to take on US Representative Andy Barr, the Republican incumbent, in November.

Runoff contests in Texas also showed the potency of the record numbers of women running, especially on the Democratic ticket, in the first national election since Republican President Donald Trump won the White House in 2016.

In Texas, two women backed by the Democrats won the nomination for competitive House seats.

Iraq War veteran Gina Ortiz Jones hopes to blaze a trail as a lesbian and Filipina-American in her bid to unseat Republican Congressman Will Hurd.

Lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher won the party's nomination to challenge Republican US Representative John Culberson in Houston's affluent suburbs.

She beat Laura Moser, a progressive previously targeted by opposition research by the DCCC.

Also in Texas, Democrats nominated Lupe Valdez to run against Republican Governor Greg Abbott. A Latina and former sheriff, Valdez is seen as a longshot in the conservative state to become the first openly lesbian governor.

In Georgia, history was already being written as Abrams became the first black female in the US to win a major party's nomination for governor, according to the Gender Watch project, a nonpartisan group tracking elections.

"Our state's rich and complicated history courses through our memories on nights like tonight, when the unexpected becomes the truth," Abrams said, recalling Georgia's place in the civil rights movement.

Abrams has been unabashed in her insistence that the way to dent Republican domination in Georgia isn't by cautiously pursuing the older white voters who've abandoned Democrats over recent decades.

She said the path is to widen the electorate by attracting young voters and nonwhites who haven't been casting ballots.

Reuters - AP

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