JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Nearly two centuries after Missouri gained statehood as part of a compromise over slave ownership, no black candidate has ever won a statewide election there. Longtime TV news reporter and anchor Robin Smith would be the first if she’s elected secretary of state.
An Associated Press analysis found Missouri is one of 10 states since Reconstruction where only white candidates have won contests for president, senator and other nonjudicial offices elected statewide. The others are Alabama, Arkansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wyoming and Mississippi.
Mark Sawyer, director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics at UCLA says progress for minorities on the statewide level has stalled since a wave of moderate, black officials was elected in the 1980s.