There Could Be Up to Four Black Women in the Next Senate
Currently there are no Black women in the Senate, but it is almost certain there will be at least one, and
maybe even four, if all the stars align for the Democrats in 2024. The reason that there is a serious chance
that there could be as many as four Black women in the next Senate is that there are
in three deep blue state, plus an open seat in one swing state, with Black women running in all four races.
Let's look at them from most likely to least likely:
- Delaware: This one is a no-brainer. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) would be 83 at the
end of another term. He sees what is happening to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and doesn't want to go down
that road, so he is not running for reelection, even though he would be 99.999% certain of being reelected in
deep-blue Delaware if he ran. Given the hue of the state, whoever gets the Democratic nomination will be a
shoo-in in Nov. 2024. Carper, Joe Biden, and the entire Democratic establishment want the state's only
representative, Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), who is Black, to run for the Senate and she is going to do so.
She might get primary opponents, but she will surely dispatch them easily. The Republican bench in Delaware is
basically empty. Maybe the Republicans can get Christine "I am not a witch" O'Donnell to run again, which
would make a trifecta for her. That would make for a fun contest, but Rochester would easily win. So there
will almost certainly be at least one Black woman in the Senate in 2025, namely the junior senator from
- Maryland: This one is trickier. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) will be 80 later this
year and he also decided enough is enough and is retiring at the end of his third term leaving an open seat in
a deep-blue state behind. Prince George County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who is Black, has filed to run. If
she gets the Democratic nomination, she is a cinch to win the seat. However, she is not the only Democratic
candidate. Rep. David Trone (D-MD), a wine magnate who has said he will spend tens of millions of dollars in
the primary, is also in. But perhaps even worse for Alsobrooks is that Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) might jump in.
He is battling cancer, but has said he is in remission and will decide in June whether to run or not. Raskin
was the lead impeachment manager for Donald Trump's second impeachment, which gave him a national profile. He
can't spend as much of his own money as Trone, but he can raise much more than Trone from small donations from
all over the country. With Trone already in the race and Raskin possibly in, Alsobrooks is certainly not an
overwhelming favorite the way Rochester is, but she still has a chance.
- California: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is running for the seat that Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (D-CA) will be vacating in Jan. 2025. On her own, Lee has little chance. She is running against
Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Katie Porter (D-CA), both of whom are powerful fundraisers, while Lee is not.
Porter has 10x more money in the bank than Lee and Schiff has 20x as much. Also, Porter is very popular with
progressives and Schiff is nationally known on account of his being the lead impeachment manager in Donald
Trump's first impeachment. Lee's only realistic chance is that Feinstein resigns from the Senate soon and Gov.
Gavin Newsom (D-CA) picks Lee to fill the seat. That would give visibility Lee can't buy because she doesn't
have the money. On the other hand, while Newsom promised to name a Black woman if he gets the chance, he has
also said he doesn't want to play favorites in the Senate race. He could thus bypass Lee and pick Rep. Maxine
Waters (D-CA), a fiery Black progressive from Los Angeles, if Feinstein resigns. All in all, Lee's chances are
not looking good. We're not sure why she is even in the race. She could have been reelected to the House until
the cows come home. Maybe she's hoping Schiff and Porter will be caught in bed together... with a cow.
- Michigan: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) is retiring, leaving an open seat behind.
The Michigan and national Democratic Parties are all behind Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), a centrist who is a
good fit for a swing state like Michigan. However, the president of the Michigan Board of Education, Pamela
Pugh, who is Black, is also running for the Democratic nomination. But she is a long shot.
Black women do not have a good track record winning Senate elections. There have been only two Black female
senators in all of U.S. history, Carol Moseley Braun and Kamala Harris. In 2022, Cheri Beasley ran in North
Carolina and lost and Val Demings ran in Florida and lost. Still, it is almost certain that at least one of
the Black women running for the Senate in 2024 will make it. (V)
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