Black Economic Alliance Is Endorsing 14 Candidates In High-Profile Races

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Written by Ann Brown

African-Americans can be a powerful voting bloc and they are learning how to use this power.

Almost four in 10 black adults (38 percent) say that working to get more Black people elected to office would be effective in achieving equality, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

Whites are less likely to view this as an effective way to bring about increased racial equality —  24 percent say it would be very effective.

A group of Black executives in the Black Economic Alliance are putting their money behind Black candidates. They have backed 14 House, Senate, and gubernatorial candidates.

Among the candidates is Democrat Mike Espy, former congressman and U.S. agriculture secretary. He’s in a three-way battle for a U.S. Senate seat from Mississippi, the state with the highest percentage of African-American residents in the nation, USA Today reported.

FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2012 file photo, Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Nev., speaks to supporters after winning the new 4th Congressional District in Las Vegas. The most closely-watched race in Nevada’s primary election Tuesday, June 12, 2018, is the battle for governor. Horsford is leading a six-way Democratic primary for his former seat that includes state Sen. Patricia Spearman. (AP Photo/John Gurzinski, File)

 

Other candidates being backed by the alliance include:

  • Former Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford (running for an open Las Vegas-area U.S. House seat).
  • Democrat Colin Allred, a lawyer and former Tennessee Titans linebacker trying to oust 11-term Rep. Pete Sessions in Dallas.
  • Democrat Antonio Delgado, a Harvard-educated lawyer and former rapper running against GOP Rep. John Faso in New York’s 19th Congressional District.
  • Democrat  and retired naval officer Elaine Luria, vying for the U.S. House from Virginia.
  • Democrat Joe Cunningham, who is competing in a U.S. House race in South Carolina against Republican Katie Arrington.
Democrat Mike Espy pledges to work across party lines, during a brief speech in Jackson, Miss., Friday, July 20, 2018. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., left, also spoke on Espy’s behalf. Espy is in a special election to fill the final two years of a term started by Republican Thad Cochran. Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith was appointed to temporarily succeed Cochran, and she is running. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

 

The 2-year-old Collective PAC,  spent nearly $2 million supporting Andrew Gillum’s upset victory in last month’s gubernatorial primary in Florida. “Should the Democrat win in November, he would become Florida’s first Black chief executive,” TK reported.

“This is significant. This is an important moment in time because we recognize that Black Americans haven’t been able to participate as fully and as completely in the American Dream” as other groups, said Tony Coles, the group’s co-chairman and CEO of Yumanity Therapeutics, a Massachusetts-based biotech company.

The alliance is made up of professionals from finance, high-tech, politics and media, including:

  • Charles Phillips, the CEO of software firm Infor and former president of Oracle.
  • Marva Smalls, global head of inclusion strategy for Viacom.
  • Fred Terrell, a senior adviser at Credit Suisse.

Mellody Hobson, the president of Chicago-based investment firm Ariel Investments, donated $250,000 to the group in June, according to its Federal Election Commission filings, USA Today reported.

On the alliance’s board are:

  • Ex-Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele.
  • Former U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk.
  • Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
  • Bakari Sellers, a former state representative from South Carolina.

To date, the alliance has raised about $3.5 million. It’s using its money not only for Black democrat candidates. The alliance is nonpartisan and has backed non-Black candidates such as Democrat Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who’s looking to oust Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, as well as former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen in a race against Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn for an open Senate seat.

“You need a coalition to get anything done in politics,” said Akunna Cook, the alliance’s executive director.