Black, Brown Voters Factor Heavily in Major Political Races

Newly elected New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, his son, Dante de Blasio, and his daughter Chiara de Blasio at his election night party
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

(The Root)—Those who were expected to win did just that, as Kerry Washington, Barack Obama, Harry Belafonte and Shaquille O'Neal all used their star status to campaign for winners. In the end, Election Day 2013 proved to be chock-full of expected results.

In New Jersey, incumbent Gov. Chris Christie crushed Democratic challenger state Sen. Barbara Buono. The polls had been closed for close to a minute when the Associated Press tweeted out the Republican’s victory.


Ten minutes or so into counting votes, with only a mere 1 percent of votes tallied, CNN election results had him leading with 71 percent, with Buono capturing only 26 percent of the vote.

In short, Buono, never stood a chance.

This came as no surprise, as the governor, whose popularity only increased through his dedication for helping his state in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, had been leading the polls decidedly throughout the entire race. Less than an hour after the first polls closed, Buono graciously gave her concession speech, though not without some fire. While thanking her supporters she mentioned the “betrayal” they withstood from “[their] own political party.”

Buono’s bitterness isn’t necessarily uncalled for. She campaigned virtually on her own, with no major Democrats backing her challenge against Christie. In fact, at least 60 New Jersey Democrats opted to endorse Christie instead of Buono.

Christie made impressive gains with black and Hispanic voters from 2009, the New York Times shows. Exit polls had him with 20 percent of the black vote (an 11 percentage point increase) and 48 percent of Hispanic voters (a whopping 16 percentage point increase). With Christie as the model, the GOP may have a chance at gaining ground with people of color, assuming, of course, they can work with the governor, who was repeatedly been shunned by his own party for cordially meeting with President Obama following the tragedy of Sandy.


Over in Virginia, it was a tight call, as expected.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe battled down to the wire, with Cuccinelli taking the early lead as results came in.


However, the race soon became nail-bitingly close, as Cuccinelli’s gap shrank. McAuliffe would eventually take over the lead and never let go. With an estimated 98 percent of the vote in, McAuliffe, who had led in polling and in fundraising, predictably won the close race by a slim 1 percent, according to CNN results.

The Democrat enjoyed star power throughout his campaign, with Kerry Washington, who plays television’s favorite fixer on the show Scandal, stumping on his behalf, along with the president and vice president.


McAuliffe brings with him promises of expanding Virginia’s Medicaid rolls to provide health care coverage for up to 400,000 people, according to the Associated Press, something that Cuccinelli explicitly ran against.

New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio received the Christie treatment from the New York Times shortly after polls closed there at 9 p.m, with the paper tweeting him as the projected mayor-elect, and other sites, such as CNN tweeting shortly after.


The Times’ exit polls for the race showed de Blasio easily securing 96 percent of the black vote, 85 percent of the Hispanic vote and 68 percent of the Asian vote. People of color were definitely projected to factor heavily into de Blasio's win. De Blasio, a white Italian-American who is married to a black woman, also secured the majority of the white vote, holding 55 percent. To say his Republican opponent Joe Lhota didn’t fare well is an understatement.

Also in New York, Letitia James was elected the city's public advocate. She is the first African-American woman to hold a city-wide office.


In the Midwest Mike Duggan became Detroit’s first white mayor since Roman Gibbs stepped down in 1974. The Detroit Free Press projected the win for Duggan with 56 percent of precincts reporting. Duggan was leading 53-47 against Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, an African American. The people of  Detroit chose stability over race in electing Duggan, a political pitbull who campaigned on his ability to bring Detroit back from the brink, the Detroit Free Press reports.

In Atlanta, it was an easy victory for Mayor Kasim Reed who has been elected to his second term. Reed, a 2013 Root 100 honoree, has touted his plans to hire more police officers and reduce crime.


Breanna Edwards is a newswriter at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

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