The Women and Minority Gubernatorial Candidates That Could Make History This Election

Jared Polis, Christine Hallquist, Stacey Abrams, Paulette Jordan
Chip Somodevilla/Stephanie Keith/Jessica McGowan/Ethan Miller/Getty Images

This year’s midterm election is producing some of the most diverse candidates ever. More women are running in this election than in history, and joining them are LGBT candidates and candidates in racial minorities. Here are six gubernatorial candidates that could make history if elected on Tuesday.

First Native American Governor

Paulette Jordan is running to become the first Native American governor in U.S. history. Jordan embraces her native roots and is running a progressive campaign in Idaho, a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to the highest state office since 1990.

“Native issues are Idaho’s issues,” Jordan tweeted in March, “and Native values are Idahoan values.”

Paulette Jordan
LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 21: State Rep. Paulette Jordan speaks during the Women’s March “Power to the Polls” voter registration tour launch at Sam Boyd Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Demonstrators across the nation gathered over the weekend, one year after the historic Women’s March on Washington, D.C., to protest President Donald Trump’s administration and to raise awareness for women’s issues. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

First African-American Woman Governor

Backed by Oprah Winfrey and former President Barack Obama, Stacey Abrams is hoping the hype surrounding her campaign will launch her into Georgia’s highest state office. Georgia hasn’t elected a Democrat in 20 years, but Abrams is neck and neck in the polls with her opponent, Brian Kemp, who has been accused of suppressing votes from African-American voters in the state.

Stacey Abrams
ATLANTA, GA – OCTOBER 23: Georgia gubernatorial candidates (L-R) Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp debate in an event that also included Libertarian Ted Metz at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Midtown October 23, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by John Bazemore-Pool/Getty Images)

First Openly Gay Governor

Colorado is likely to elect the United States’ first openly gay governor in history. Democrat Jared Polis has a slight advantage in the polls, and FiveThirtyEight is listing the race as likely Democrat.

Polis is out and proud, and he told voters his win will prove something to an administration that has rolled back protections for LGBT Americans.

“I think it really gives Colorado an opportunity to stick a thumb in the eye of Mike Pence, whose view of America is not as inclusive as where America is today,” Polis said in a recent speech, according to Vox.

First Transgender Governor

Continuing in this year’s “rainbow wave” of an influx of LGBT candidates, Christine Hallquist of Vermont is representing the last letter, and if elected, she will be the first openly transgender governor in history.

First Women Governors in Four States

In addition to the firsts being made nationwide, firsts are happening in states as well. Four states are poised to elect their first woman governor ever. Jordan and Abrams would be the first women governors in their states, and possibly joining them are Democrat Janet Mills of Maine and Republican Kristi Noem of South Dakota.

They would make strides this election, but according to the New York Times, there are still 23 states that have never elected a woman governor.

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