South Carolina Sen. Mia McLeod Makes History as First Black Woman to Run for Governor

Mia McLeod (Campaign Website)
Mia McLeod (Campaign Website)

McLeod has served in the House in South Carolina since 2010.

A South Carolina lawmaker is making history as the first Black woman to ever run for governor in the United States. Sen. Mia McLeod said that isn’t her main focus in running, though.

“I want to be the person that is running not because I’m a woman, and not because I’m Black, but because I am so connected to and so much like the people that I represent,” McLeod told the Associated Press on Thursday. “It’s a tremendous responsibility, but it’s one that I’m excited about.”

McLeod, 52, who would be the first Democrat elected to a statewide office in 15 years if she won and the second female governor in the state, said her main priorities are education and health care. This year she also stood firmly in a debate about the state’s “heartbeat bill,” which bans abortion after a heartbeat is detected. McLeod, who is a sexual assault survivor, rallied for an exception for rape victims. The bill was passed but is now in litigation.

McLeod will be in the running against two other Democrats for the seat, activist Gary Votour and Joe Cunningham. McLeod was elected to the House in South Carolina in 2010, and the Senate in 2016.

She does acknowledge the historic nature of her run and said she hopes to appeal to all voters regardless of race, but understands how “some may connect with her candidacy on a personal level,” according to the Associated Press.

She said an older Black woman at a recent event told her she would knock on every door for her candidacy.

“She finally had somebody who saw her, and who was speaking her language, and who talked to her — not about racial issues, not about Black and white, but just about life and living and wanting the same for our families that these white men, who have been in these positions historically, forever, want for their families,” McLeod told the AP.

Related Stories