The 2016 Democratic and Republican Primaries have come and gone here in the great state of Texas, and in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, African American women faired extremely well.
Here in Harris County, nearly every race that had an African American female candidate in it either resulted in a Black female candidate making the runoff or a Black female candidate winning their primary race outright. Truthfully, not only did African American women do well on election night, women of all ethnicities had tremendously favorable outcomes also.
While many political pundits, candidates or campaign staffers, would argue that their success was attributed to their well-run campaigns or the many endorsements they received, it is extremely difficult to ignore the impact Democratic presidential nominee and current frontrunner Hillary Clinton has had on this year’s election results, including those in Harris County.
Let’s look at the results and how African American women fared in the recent Democratic primary election.
Joy Dawson Thomas won her race for State Rep 126 having garnered 61% of the vote; Incumbent Alma Allen defeated her challenger for the State Rep 131 seat with 90% of the vote; Kimberly Willis made the runoff having received the majority of votes (32%), after having fought off three male opponents in the State Rep 139 race to replace Sylvester Turner, who was recently elected as Mayor of Houston; Candance White defeated her opponent (70%) in the 14th Court of Appeals, Place 2 race; Fredericka Phillips made the runoff (38%) after an extremely close race against two opponents, having received the most votes for the 61st Civil District Court; Ursula Hall (55%) for 165th Civil District Court; Hazel Jones (51%) for 174th Criminal Court; Nikita “Niki” Harmon (52%); Elaine Palmer made the runoff having received the majority of votes (43%); Ann Harris Bennett soundly defeated her opponent (61%) in the County Tax Assessor-Collector race; Constable May Walker defeated her primary opponent having received 68% of the vote; in Fort Bend County, Cynthia Ginyard soundly defeated her opponent for Fort Bend County Chair; and many more results reflect the impact of having Hillary Clinton on the 2016 Democratic Primary ballot.
These results are similar to the results seen when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton squared off for the Democratic nomination in an extremely contested battle in 2008.
In 2008, African American females voted in historic fashion, thanks in large part to Barack Obama running to be the first Black president and Hillary Clinton running to be the first female president in the United States. Due to the record high numbers of African American female voters who overwhelmingly voted Democratic, not only was Obama elected president, but the Democrats ended up taking over both houses of Congress.
In 2012, African American women not only continued their high-level of voter participation, they also ended up voting at a higher rate than any other group, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender. The significant contributions by African American women at the ballot box helped play a pivotal role in the re-election of President Obama.
Fast forward to 2016, Clinton has done extremely well soliciting the African American vote, especially Black voters in the South. To date, relative to the Black vote, Clinton has won: 91 percent in Alabama; 91 percent in Arkansas; 85 percent in Georgia; 68 percent in Michigan; 90 percent in Mississippi; 71 percent in Oklahoma; 89 percent in Tennessee; 84 percent in Virginia; and 83 percent here in the Lone Star State (Texas).
Another important factor to note, is that in every state, except in her Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders’ home-state of Vermont, Clinton was able to effectively secure the female vote.
One thing we know for sure, it would be ignorant to ignore the impact Black voters, especially African American female voters, are having in this year’s election and will continue to have.
There are several more races to go – both runoffs and the November general election – so if Hillary is chosen as the Democratic nominee going into the general election, it may bode well for the remaining African American female candidates who are seeking to come out victorious in their respective races. Time will tell – well, at least until November 8, 2016.