After serving her community as a Houston City Council member for four years, Amanda Edwards is now determined to make history.
The 38-year-old Texas native was elected in 2015 as one of Houston’s at-large council members and subsequently represented 2.3 million Texans. She also played an active role in the city’s Hurricane Harvey recovery effort in 2017. However, rather than running for reelection, Edwards was tapped by the state’s Democratic Party to run for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Sen. John Cornyn. As a result, she is currently campaigning against 11 other Democratic challengers in a primary that will be held March 3. Should she win the crowded primary race, she’ll then have to face off with Cornryn, a Trump loyalist who’s already raised $12 million towards his reelection campaign. In comparison, Edwards says her campaign has yet to raise a $1 million. Nevertheless, if she beats the odds and wins both elections, Edwards would become Lone Star state’s first black U.S. senator and just the third black woman to ever hold a U.S. Senate seat.
“Some people initially find it challenging to believe that a woman of color can be the next U.S. Senator from Texas because they make certain assumptions about the demographics of Texas and about me that are not based in reality,” she told BLACK ENTERPRISE. However, she remains hopeful due to the rapid pace at which Texas politics are changing. The deep red state saw a huge shift in 2018 when former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke almost beat Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz during the U.S. midterm elections, reports Quartz. Despite his defeat, O’Rourke managed to gain an impressive amount of support from Republican voters. He also galvanized scores of left-leaning young people and minorities to register to vote. Had more actually come out to vote, he would have won. To beat Cornyn, Edwards would have to earn support from the moderates that O’Rourke won over and incite more registered young people of color to actually show up how to the polls.