1st Edition

Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections Trailblazing Candidates in Gubernatorial, Congressional, and Mayoral Campaigns

Edited By Evelyn M. Simien Copyright 2022
    146 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    146 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections:Trailblazing Candidates in Gubernatorial, Congressional, and Mayoral Campaigns examines barrier-breaking figures across various types of elective offices and constituent groups. The moment in which historic firsts enter the electoral arena, and the unique campaigns that ensue, are shown to be symbolically empowering. These change agents on the campaign trail become lighting rods for more liberal policies, and their candidacies are tied to questions of representation, electability, and performance. The distinctive combinations of race, ethnicity, and gender identities represented here translate into voter excitement to go to the polls and participate in other ways. Original chapters by respected scholars and practitioners consider how recent breakthrough elections are similar to yet different from past elections for gubernatorial, congressional, and mayoral offices. The shadow of Donald Trump’s wildly unconventional U.S. presidency looms over this groundbreaking analysis, linking local to national level politics. For students of politics across the curriculum, this book expands the theoretical capacity of intersectionality research and links it to voter mobilization and electoral success.

    1. 1. Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections: An Introduction

          Evelyn M Simien

      2. Andrew Gillum’s Quest to Become Florida’s First Black Governor

      Sharon Wright Austin

      3. Ilhan Omar: Breaking Barriers for Muslim, Somali American, and Immigrant Women

          Stefanie Chambers and Laurel Elder

      4. Ayanna Pressley: Change Can’t Wait

          Lauren E. Jones and Evelyn M. Simien

      5. Rashida Tlaib: A Symbol and Champion for Detroit

          Michael Minta

      6. Mayor London Breed and the Limits of Governing while Black and Female in San Francisco

      Chelsea Jones, Crystal Robertson, and Lorrie Frasure

      7. Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections: A Conclusion

      Evelyn M Simien


    Evelyn M. Simien is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Indigeneity, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (IREP) master’s degree iprogram at the University of Connecticut. She received her Ph.D. from Purdue University and specializes in intersectionality research, African-American politics, public opinion, and political behavior.

    Praise for Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections

    "Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections deepens our understanding of the social, psychological, and racial context surrounding the election of minority candidates. It is a must-read for those interested in American electoral politics."

    Jas M. Sullivan, Louisiana State University

    "Truly pathbreaking candidates do not come along often. When they do, we need to understand how they campaign, mobilize support, and, if elected, do their work as representatives. This volume does that important work and should be read by scholars and politicians alike."

    John M. Sides, Vanderbilt University

    "This important and intersectional text moves beyond the Historic Firsts of Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to offer superb analysis of gubernatorial, congressional and mayoral historic firsts. The authors brilliantly demonstrate the limits as well as achievements of descriptive and substantive representation for historic candidacies across race, ethnicity, and gender. Simien’s influential theory of symbolic empowerment undergirds this volume which helps to frame how scholars and practitioners should consider both multiracial and multiethnic constituencies in American behavioral studies. This is an essential text for anyone who seeks to better understand electoral outcomes via an intersectional lens."

    Nadia E. Brown, Georgetown University