No Black woman has ever served as a governor since the founding of United States. Now, that might change in South Carolina as Democratic state Sen. Mia McLeod is about to run for governor.
In the last 15 years, Democrats haven’t been elected to a statewide office but McLeod is assured she can win the race for governor.
“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, a Columbia-area lawmaker, told The Associated Press ahead of Thursday’s official 2022 campaign launch. “It’s a tremendous responsibility, but it’s one that I’m excited about.”
Mia McLeod is 52-year-old of Bennettsville, distanced 100 miles from state capital in Marlboro County. The interview with AP was done during a tour in her hometown, area known to have the highest unemployment rates statewide. According to McLeod, her primary concerns are education and health care in South Carolina.
“I believe rural counties like mine are a microcosm for what’s happening statewide, when it comes to our rural communities that have been left behind,” she said, of her hometown, arguing that Republicans like Gov. Henry McMaster, in his first full term, had failed the state.
South Carolina only once had female governor in the past and McLeod is the first ever Black woman to run for Palmetto State’s top job.
McLeod is a lawmaker for more than a decade. She was first elected in the House in 2010 and then elected in the Senate in 2016. During a contentious debate over this year’s “heartbeat bill,” which bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, McLeod in January railed against Republicans for opposing exceptions for rape victims, revealing that she had been the victim of sexual assault. The measure became law but is stalled in litigation.
“I am a fierce advocate who is unafraid to fight for the people and advocate for the people in the state,” McLeod said. “Even if I have to fight alone, and even when I have to fight members of my own party, I’ve shown that I have the courage to lead.”
The full interview can be found on Associated Press.