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One of Our Own: Black Female Candidates and the Voters Who Support Them

Authors


  • The authors wish to thank Karen Kaufmann, Daron Shaw, and the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.

Tasha S. Philpot is assistant professor of government, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station A1800, Austin, TX 78712-0119 (tsp228@mail.la.utexas.edu). Hanes Walton, Jr., is professor of political science, University of Michigan, 4240 Institute for Social Research, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248 (hantonjr@umich.edu).

Abstract

This article examines the role of race and gender in candidate evaluations. Unlike previous research, we argue that the role of race and gender in electoral politics must be examined simultaneously because of their mutually reinforcing relationship. To do so, we explore the connection between the race and gender of voters and their propensity to support black female candidates. Using precinct-level data, experimental data, and national exit poll data from two congressional election years, we demonstrate that black women are the strongest supporters of black female candidates. We also find that support for black female candidates is contingent on their background and political experience. Black female candidates with significant experience in politics can attract both black and white voters, regardless of gender.

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