“J ust say my name,” Says Doreen Carter, who is one of five women of substance on the ballot in Georgia. This is a history making occasion for five Black women to be on Georgia’s state-wide ballot at the same time. Five African American women will be on the ballot running for statewide office in Georgia on November 4th (2014). Doreen Carter is up for Secretary of State. Liz Johnson is on the ballot for insurance commissioner. Robbin Shipp is running for labor commissioner. Former State Senator Connie Stokes is running for lieutenant governor and Valarie Wilson hopes to be the next state school superintendent. The “Georgia Five” are all Democrats in a largely Republican state yet they won the Democratic Party’s primary. These women stepped up to the plate and offered to serve their communities. They are making history that we all can be proud of.
There is probably no better example of Georgia being the “new South” than this: Five black women will be on the ballot for statewide offices in November — a record. The women, Connie Stokes, Doreen Carter, Liz Johnson, Valarie Wilson, and Robbin Shipp, are known as the “Georgia Five.” These women are running at a time of major demographic shifts in the state and as Democrats see Georgia as a state that could begin to loosen the GOP’s grip on the South. The five have received endorsements from top Democratic figures in the state as well as important progressive groups, but have largely gone under the national radar. These types of offices, after all, aren’t really the kinds of things people like The Fix generally devote much time to.
All the challenges women face in running for office- raising money, getting support from their party and convincing voters they have the chopsare magnified for women of color. Case in point: A recent study showed that black women raise an average $235,000 less than their black male counterparts when running for office.
Democrats want very badly to capitalize on the state’s changing DNA and have said that increasing the voter rolls by 3 percent with Democratic voters would mean victory. “Let me put it another way. . . . If just 50 Democratic voters per precinct who didn’t vote in 2010 get out and vote this November — just 50 per precinct — then Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter will win,” first lady Michelle Obama said at a recent voter registration rally in Georgia.
As voters, black women will be key to any get-out-the-vote efforts, as they are crucial to the overall turnout of African Americans, who made up 28 percent of the vote in the 2010 midterm elections in Georgia. if Democrats are to reverse the longstanding trends in the South — and in Georgia — black women will surely play a major role.