The Democratic Congressional Committee announced on Wednesday that it would be supporting Connecticut congressional candidate Jahana Hayes, making her the latest Black woman to be added to the committee’s list of House contenders likely to flip house seats from red to blue in the upcoming election.
With her primary win in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District this past Tuesday, Hayes now has the potential to be Connecticut’s first black Democrat in Congress.
Unfortunately, Hayes is only the third black woman on the committee’s list of 73, Broadly reports. The Democratic Congressional Committee is the body responsible for helping to elect Democrats to the House of Representatives.
This election cycle has seen a historic number of black women running for office around the country, forcing many advocates to question whether Black women are adequately represented on the Democratic Congressional Committee’s list. In Alabama, for example, more Black women than ever are running for political office following the surprise win of Democratic Senator Doug Jones in the deeply Conservative state. Black women played a significant role in securing his win.
“Black people are seen as workhorses,” Quentin James, executive director of Collective PAC, an organization that recruits and funds black candidates, told Newsweek earlier this year. “The party thinks of them when they’re trying to get out the black vote, but black candidates running are still an afterthought.”
The benefits of being on the committee’s list are immense, including “crucial institutional backing ” needed to “ingratiate themselves with local and national Democrats, attract major donors, and rack up endorsements from big-name groups like EMILY’s List, which often take their cues from the DCCC,” Broadly reports.
Earlier this year, author and activist Luvvie Ajayi, worked to create a full listing of all the Black women running for office in 2018. You can check out the full list of 603 candidates here.