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US midterm elections: Women, immigrants eye big win

Combination picture made from file photos of the candidates. (Courtesy: Reuters, AFP) Photograph:( Others )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 30, 2018, 09.12 PM (IST)

The upcoming US midterm elections are important for various reasons, one of the main highlights of these elections is the increasing number of candidates running for the federal legislature or governor are persons of colour.

The battle for the governor's mansion in the US state of Georgia features a woman vying to become the first black woman governor to run a state.

"Voter suppression isn't only about blocking the vote.. It's also about creating an atmosphere of fear... making people worry that their votes will not count," said Democrat Stacey Abrams in the first debate with Republican candidate Brian Kemp in Atlanta.                      

According to a report, more than 53 thousand voter applications were on hold in the state ahead of election day. Nearly 70 per cent of those were from black applicants.

The battle for Georgia's governor's seat is emblematic of a number of races across the US in which candidates of colour are making strides in record numbers and initiating a wave of 'firsts' across the country. 

In Michigan, former provincial lawmaker Rashida Tlaib is poised to become the first Muslim woman ever and the first Palestinian-American ever in the house of representatives -- the lower house of US Legislature. 

In fact, Rashida Tlaib will be elected unopposed because no one is running against her. She will represent Michigan's 13th congressional district. 

"If we want to be able to have a seat at the table then we're going to have to run, but people like us with unique names and different backgrounds and children of immigrants and all those things that I think makes us uniquely different in our lens very different to finally run for office," said Rashida Tlaib.

Another Muslim woman, a thirty-five-year-old, Minnesota lawmaker Ilhan Omar, hopes to be the first Somali-American in the US legislature.

She is also a refugee. She came to the US when she was twelve-years-old. 

In New Mexico, Democrat Debra Haaland is trying to become America's first Native-American woman elected to the lower house of US legislature.

"There's never been a Native-American woman. There's nobody that looks like me," says Debra Haaland.

Tallahassee's Democratic mayor Andrew Gillum is running for Florida's governor. If he wins he will become Florida's first black governor.

Gillum is well aware that his win would be groundbreaking and he is not afraid to comment on the way racism has permeated his run against his opponent - Republican and former federal lawmaker Ron Desantis.

"He's got neo-nazis helping him out in this state.. Now I'm not calling Mr Desantis a racist, I'm simply saying the racists believe he's a racist," said Andrew Gillum.

Recently, President Donald Trump had accused Gillum of being a "thief", without citing any evidence.

In southern California's most Republican congressional district, a young, Latino-Arab-American Democrat is gaining ground, but Ammar Campa-Najjar's opponent have raised concerns over his racial background.