2024 California Presidential Primary Election: A Look at the Black Candidates

Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media

The ballot for the 2024 California presidential primary election, set for March 5 — commonly called “Super Tuesday in political media speak — features leading presidential candidates President Joe Biden (D) and former President Donald Trump (R). Black candidates for President include President R. Boddie (D), Eban Cambridge (D), Jasmine Sherman (Peace and Freedom), and Cornel West (Peace and Freedom).

Across California, voters will also be choosing candidates for one US Senate seat, 52 congressional seats, 80 State Assembly seats, and 20 State Senate seats. Additionally, there’s a statewide ballot measure, Proposition 1, which if passed, would allow the state to borrow $6.4 billion for mental health treatment beds and revamp the law that funds mental health services through a tax on millionaires.

Voters will discover that Black candidates are overrepresented on their ballots for State and Federal office. Although African Americans comprise 6.5% of California’s population, Black candidates are contesting for 11.5% of California’s US House seats, 23.8% of State Assembly seats and 30% of State Senate seats.According to California Black Media (CBM), 53 Black candidates are participating in 32 of the 154 statewide elections. That’s about 21% of the races.

In eleven of these races, multiple Black candidates are competing. The party affiliations of these candidates include 42 Democrats, 7 Republicans, one Green Party, three Peace and Freedom Party, and one from the American Independent Party. Among these candidates, 27 women are running for office – one for President, one for US Senate, 4 for Congress, 15 for State Assembly, and 7 for State Senate. There are 27 men on the ballot – 3 for President, 8 for Congress, 9 for state Assembly, and 7 for state Senate.

There is one Black candidate, Congressmember Barbara Lee (D-CA-12), running for the US Senate seat (both full and partial term) to succeed U.S. Sen. Laphonza Butler. If elected, Lee would be the third Black female U.S. Senator in state history. Despite lagging in both fundraising and the polls, she has consistently performed well in debates. Lee has said throughout her political career that “representation matters.” If neither Lee nor Congressmember Katie Porter (D-CA-47), the leading female candidate, finishes in the top two for the general election, California would be without a female contending to be senator for the first time in more than 30 years.

In the upcoming Congressional elections, Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D), one of the three incumbent Black Congressmembers from California, is seeking re-election in CD 37 (Los Angeles). John Thompson Parker (Peace and Freedom) is the other Black candidate in this race, which has a total of four contenders.

In CD 47 (Los Angeles), four out of five candidates are Black. The incumbent representative is Maxine Waters (D). The other Black candidates are Gregory Edward Jackson Cheadle (D), a program evaluator; Chris B. Wiggins (D), a state caucus chair; and Steve Williams (R), a small business owner.

Out of 40 State Senate seats, 20 are up for election this year. Five of these seats are being sought by 14 Black candidates.Eight candidates are on the ballot for SD 35 (Inglewood) to replace the term-limited Sen. Steven Bradford (D). The six Black candidates are Michelle Chambers (D), a community justice advocate; Lamar Lyons (D), a financial consultant; Alex Monteiro (D), a Councilmember and nonprofit director; Laura Richardson (D), a former Congressmember, businesswoman, and housing advocate; and Jennifer Trichelle-Marie Williams (D), an accountant and small business owner.

Out of 80 Assembly seats on the ballot, 24 Black candidates are contesting for 19 seats. Chris Holden (D), who is term-limited, is running for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The incumbent, Wendy Carrillo (D), is running for Los Angeles City Council. Isaac G. Bryan (D), the incumbent Assemblymember for AD 55 (Ladera Heights), has one opponent.

In AD 57 (Los Angeles), five candidates are running to replace Reggie Jones-Sawyer, who is term-limited and running for Los Angeles City Council. The three Black candidates are Greg Akili, an educator and nonprofit director; Sade Elhawary, an education and community organizer; and Tara Perry, a reparations advocate.Tina Simone McKinnor (D), the incumbent Assemblymember for AD 61 (Inglewood), is running for re-election against one opponent. Mike Gipson (D), the incumbent Assemblymember for AD 65 (Compton), is running for re-election.

All active registered voters in California will receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Mailing of ballots began on Feb. 5 and drop-off locations opened on Feb. 6. The last day to register to vote is Feb. 20. Vote centers for early in-person voting open on Feb. 24. Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by March 12.

In California, the order of races on ballots goes from local to federal, and the state’s primaries have a top-two system, meaning the top two vote-getters in a given race advance to the general election, regardless of political party.

Share the Post:

Related Posts