COLUMBIA, SC — A record seven African-American candidates are running for statewide office in 2014. Some could be eliminated in Junes primary elections, but it appears at least three black candidates will make it to Novembers general election.
South Carolina also is assured to elect its first African-American candidate in a statewide race since Reconstruction in one U.S. Senate race, where all three of the announced candidates are black.
The last time South Carolinians elected an African-American to statewide office was 1872, when Richard Howell Gleaves was elected the states second and last black lieutenant governor. The black communitys political influence was squashed in 1895 when then-Gov. Ben Tillman rewrote the states Constitution still in place today to virtually eliminate all black influence in state politics.
Now, 142 years later, that influence appears the be returning albeit it in small steps.