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Black Women Aim At Making History In 2022 Midterm Elections

Particularly in the South, a large number of Black women have become front-runners for nominations for statewide office.

Black women’s representation in Congress and state legislatures has steadily increased over the past few elections, however no Black women have been elected governor and none currently serve in the U.S. Senate after Kamala Harris vacated her seat to become vice president. Many hope that that will change this year.

Currently, Stacey Abrams is making another bid for Georgia governor while U.S. Rep. Val Demings is challenging Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida. But some lesser-publicized races are gearing up nationally, including Cheri Beasley’s, who is running for North Carolina’s open Senate seat.

“I know what it's like to hear the doubters and those who are skeptical that people of color can't win, because it's not what we're used to or who we envision in positions of power,” she said in an interview with NBC News.

The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University cites that currently, five Black women are running for governor. Between 16 and 20 are currently, or considered potential, Senate candidates, which would break the record of 13 Black women Senate candidates set in 2020.

RELATED: Stacey Abrams' New Run For Georgia Governor: Four Things To Watch

They include Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Danielle Allen of Massachusetts, Deidre DeJear of Iowa, and Mia McLeod of South Carolina. Conservative commentator Kathy Barnette is also vying for the GOP Senate nomination in Pennsylvania.

“When we talk about where Black women have been successful in statewide contests, it has been outside of the South,” said Kelly Dittmar, the director of research at Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics, according to NBC News.

Racism, sexism and the perception that Black women, who typically run as Democratic candidates) can’t win Republican states have stymied hopeful candidates in the past.

Abrams, Demings and Beasley still face competitive races in November, but there’s hope 2022 could be a historic year.

“I wouldn't have taken the position if I wasn't optimistic that we could continue to make a difference,” said EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler. “I am optimistic that this is going to be an incredibly important year for Black women.”

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