The Congressional primary victories won by Ayanna Pressley here in Massachusetts and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York were momentous and portend meaningful progressive pushes if/when Democrats reclaim the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. But, in the short term, both of them are effectively guaranteed victory next month (as are trailblazers Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, Deb Haaland in New Mexico, Rashida Tlaib in Michigan, and Jahana Hayes in Connecticut). They’ve all won competitive primaries in reliably Democratic districts.
For those who would like to bolster this impending progress with additional strong, diverse voices that will further help flip the House blue, here’s a list of TEN more women of color, House candidates who are in very competitive, all potentially winnable (but very far from guaranteed) races next month against Republican incumbents (or, in one case, for an open GOP-held seat). Further, seven of the ten are aged between their early 30’s and mid 40’s, giving them both needed generational perspective and the chance for substantial longevity in office. They could use your financial contributions, further signal boosting (like sharing this post via your social media), and other volunteer support.
IL-14: Lauren Underwood, a black woman in her early 30’s, is a nurse by profession and a healthcare policy expert with a Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins. She served as a policy advisor in the Obama Administration’s Department of Health & Human Services. She is informed by her own healthcare battles, living with a serious but treatable heart condition discovered when she was 8 years old. This is a 50-50 race against generic Republican backbencher Randy Hultgren. She’s super dynamic, and I’ve been following this race from when it was considered a longshot. She hustles and has made this race a tight one.
TX-23: Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force veteran in her late 30’s, served in the Obama Administration’s Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. She would be Texas’ first Latina and first openly gay Congressperson. She’s a BU grad and has tremendous experience in foreign policy, trade policy, and intelligence. This is a slightly uphill, but very winnable race against a “relative” moderate, Will Hurd.
NM-02: Xochitl Torres-Small is a 33-year-old Latina, water policy attorney, and advocate for the homeless, as well as a former staffer for U.S. Senator Tom Udall and a former law clerk for a federal judge. Her work on water policy will provide invaluable insight in environmental and natural resource policy planning for the years ahead. She’s in a 50-50 race for a GOP-held open seat, the only person on this list not facing an incumbent.
KS-03: Sharice Davids is a 38-year-old former MMA fighter (you read that right) and White House fellow. She is an attorney who works on economic and community development in Native communities. She would be Kansas’ first Native American (a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation) and first openly gay Congressperson. Polls and political dynamics suggest that she has the edge in the race against Republican buffoon Kevin Yoder, but Kansas being Kansas, it never hurts to shore up support.
GA-06: Lucy McBath spent about three decades as a flight attendant with Delta Airlines until 2012, when her son Jordan Davis was senselessly murdered at a gas station by a gunman complaining about the music he was playing in his car. The shooter used Florida’s insane Stand Your Ground law as a defense in his successful first trial; but, the shooter was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in re-trial. Since Davis’ murder, McBath has spent these past six years as a nationally recognized gun safety advocate. As one of the “Mothers of the Movement,” she brings tragically unique perspective on vital issues. This is a very tight race; and, the incumbent, Karen Handel, is a national anti-choice leader.
FL-26: Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is a 46-year-old Ecuadorean immigrant who came to America in her teen years with her mother and three sisters. She is a non-profit executive with focuses on healthcare access expansion and environmental protection. This is a neck-and-neck race; and, Mucarsel-Powell’s opponent, Republican incumbent Carlos Curbelo (like Will Hurd in TX-23 above), does his best moderate impression as Election Day approaches every two years.
NC-02: Linda Coleman is the only person on this list with experience specifically in elected office, having followed her career as a teacher and then as a Human Resources Director at several state agencies with tenures as Wake County Commissioner and as a North Carolina General Assemblywoman. She has committed her decades-long career to very local public service and the community knows her well. The incumbent Republican is an unimpressive first-termer, George Holding.
AZ-06: Anita Malik is the daughter of Indian immigrants and has spent her career in the tech sector. Now in her early 40’s, she stepped down from her Chief Operating Officer job to run for Congress, where she would bring much needed technological literacy and leadership. Though the district leans GOP and is a bit of an uphill climb, her Republican opponent, incumbent David Schweikert, is under a wide-ranging ethics investigation for the misspending of funds and the receipt of illegal campaign contributions. It would not be shocking to hear of an indictment against Schweikert at some point, following those of fellow corrupt Republican Congressmen Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter.
AZ-08: Hiral Tipirneni, who immigrated with her family from India when she was three years old, has worked in the Phoenix area for more than twenty years as an ER doctor and cancer research advocate. If she seems familiar, it’s due to earlier this year, the 47-year-old was the Democratic nominee in the special election for this seat, which became vacant due to another Republican sexual harassment scandal. Though she did not win the special election, she reduced what was a district that Trump won by 21 points in 2016 to a district she lost by only five points – and that was as a first-time candidate starting from scratch. Tipirneni can build on her momentum to close the remaining gap.
VA-01: Vangie Williams has decades of experience in strategic planning and other roles with major government contractors. She’d be an important voice in government oversight, calling out what isn’t working in the executive branch’s administration of our federal government. Her opponent is a fairly empty suit, Republican Rob Wittman, without much to show for his 11 years in Congress.
And, if you want to see more exceptional women of color in positions of power, support organizations that support them, like: Higher Heights for America, Vote Run Lead, She Should Run, and Emerge America.