African-Americans running for office in 2018 have broken through the glass ceiling in several races so far in the 2018 primary election season.
While several high-profile races have garnered most of the attention, Black candidates are also making significant strides in smaller municipal races.
For example, James “JD” Dixon was elected on Tuesday as sheriff of Chesterfield County, South Carolina—the first African-American to win that office, WPED-TV reported on Friday. He beat the incumbent Sheriff Jay Brooks by 1,700 votes. Dixon, who has served 20 years in law enforcement, will not face a Republican challenger in November.
“Being the first African American sheriff of Chesterfield County is not what’s its all about. Being the first sheriff that was truly elected by the people and not because of any political gain,” he said in a statement, crediting much of his success to years of community service.
So far, Black women have been in the spotlight. Stacey Abrams won the Democratic primary for governor of Georgia, becoming the first Black woman to be a major party nominee for governor in the United States.
Vangie Williams scored a victory on Tuesday by defeating two military veterans to win the chance in November to become the first Black woman to represent Virginia from the state’s first congressional district. And in a race that flew under the radar, Deidre DeJear beat her Democratic primary rival for Iowa secretary of state. She’s now the first Black woman to win a major party nomination for statewide office in Iowa.
In San Francisco, London Breed was declared the winner on Wednesday and became the city’s first Black woman elected mayor, after a lot of drama with San Francisco’s complicated election system, in which two of her opponents schemed to prevent her from winning.