Sarah Breedlove … Millionaire 12/23/1867

This Child of Slaves Grew Up to Become America’s First Female Millionaire

Random Celebrity Article By on October 20, 2014


America is considered to be the “land of opportunity”. Historically, it’s the country people have run to in order to escape persecution, poor living conditions, or lack of opportunities somewhere else. However, for the large number of African people stolen from their homes, shipped across the Atlantic, and sold into slavery, America was anything but a land of opportunity. So it’s pretty darn incredible that America’s first female self-made millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker, was the child of former slaves. Her story is one of perseverance, ingenuity, and triumph. If her amazing life doesn’t make you want to get off your butt and go make your dreams happen, than nothing will.

Madam C.J. Walker, also known as Sarah Breedlove, was born on December 23, 1867, just outside of Delta, Louisiana. She was born on the cotton plantation where her family had been enslaved. She held the distinction of being the first free-born child in the family. The youngest of five, she was the first person in her family born after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. However, by age 7, she was orphan. Both of her parents passed away within a year of each other. Their cause of death was not recorded. She was sent to live with her older sister in Mississippi, where it is believed she worked picking cotton and doing housework. Her life in Mississippi was anything but ideal, and though slavery had technically been abolished, most people in the South had yet to “get the memo”, as it were. She worked the same hours she would have worked as a slave and was paid a pittance. Then, she and her family members had to pay exorbitant fees to live in the very same shack that her sister had lived in while she was a slave. Making matters worse, was that her brother-in-law was physically abusive. Eventually, she couldn’t take it anymore. At 14, she married a man named Moses McWilliams, mostly in an effort to get away from her current living situation.


The pair had a baby in 1885. Two years later, Moses passed away, and Sarah and her daughter A’Lelia moved to St. Louis to be closer to Sarah’s older brothers. Her brothers had found some success working as barbers. In St. Louis, she began working as a washerwoman. Her pay was only $1.50 per day. She used the majority of the money to pay for her daughter’s schooling, and also took whatever classes she could herself. She subsequently met and married Charles J. Walker. Mr. Walker worked in advertising and their relationship would prove to be a fortuitous one.

Due to a severe scalp condition, most likely caused by the lye-based products used to straighten her hair, Sarah Breedlove had begun to lose her hair in bunches. Whenever she had a spare moment in her kitchen, she began making her own hair care products, and experimenting with ways to treat her own scalp. A black woman named Annie Turnbo Malone heard about Sarah. Ms. Malone made and marketed her own line of African-American hair care products. She invited Sarah to come work for her as a commission agent. So Sarah, Charles, and A’Lelia relocated to Denver, Colorado and launched a hair care business under Ms. Malone. At the urging of her husband, Sarah changed her professional name to Madam C.J. Walker, and launched her business in earnest. Between her genuinely effective and well-made products and her husband’s advertising acumen, her business grew by leaps and bounds. The couple spent much of the early 1900s, traveling around selling her products all over the south. By 1908, she was able to go out on her own. She opened a factory and her own beauty school in Pittsburgh.


The company continued to grow, so Sarah, now Madam C.J., moved operations to Indianapolis. She began training a group of employees who were both salespeople and beauticians. Known as “Walker Agents“, these African-American entrepreneurs began selling her products all over the United States. She began sponsoring conventions, sales awards, and community events. She and her husband divorced in 1913, and rather than slowing her down, it seemed to galvanize her. She traveled to the Caribbean and Latin America, adding more and more “Walker Agents” to her roster and increasing her sales base. By this time, her daughter A’Lelia, had begun to take charge of some portions of operations. A’Lelia purchased prime real estate in Harlem and made it the new base of operations for Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing. As more responsibility was shifted to her daughter, Madam C.J. Walker began focusing on philanthropy and community improvement. She created scholarship funds, sponsored the building and maintenance of multiple homes for the elderly, donated large sums to both the NAACP and the National Conference on Lynching, and, in 1913, donated the largest amount of money by an African-American to the Indianapolis YMCA.


She built a home in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York sometime around 1916 or 1917, and passed away there in 1919, due to hypertension. She was 51 years old. She was the sole owner of Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing for most of its existence, and the company was worth over $1 million when she died. Additionally, she was worth close to $700,000 herself, separate from the company. That’s the equivalent of $13 million in today’s dollars. It was an astronomical amount in 1919.

At the time of her death in 1919, Madam C.J. Walker was the wealthiest African-American in the United States. She was also generally believed to the country’s first self-made female multi-millionaire. Assuming her net worth was approximately $2 million the year she died, that would be equivalent to $37 million today.



When she died, her will dictated that 2/3 of all future company profits be donated to charity from that point on. One third of her estate went to her daughter. Her home in Irvington-on-Hudson is now a registered landmark, and the arts center named after her in Indianapolis, the Walker Center, has become nationally famous.

Madam C.J. Walker, aka Sarah Breedlove, went from absolutely nothing, to wealthier than just about everyone else around her. Along the way, she made sure to give back to the community that supported her, and trained hundreds of “Walker Agents” about entrepreneurship, civic duty, and pride. She proved to an entire generation of African-Americans, many of whom had grown up enslaved, that success was possible. Historically and socially, the example she set has proven far more valuable than her millions of dollars.


Brilliant Lights: Four Amazing Talents — In Memory of

NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.

A Page From Our American Story

Talent knows no color barrier, so much so that it has often provided African Americans a path to knocking down racial barriers. In the case of Sissieretta Jones, Lillian Evanti, Hazel Scott, and Lena Horne, their talent opened doors on stages around the world and paved the way for countless black entertainers to come.

Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, in January 1868, Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones began formally studying music at the Providence Music Academy in Rhode Island at the age of 14. She is believed to have completed her training some years later at Boston’s renowned New England Conservatory of Music.

Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones The Black Patti, Mme. M. Sissieretta Jones: The Greatest Singer of Her Race. Color poster. New York: Metropolitan Printing Co., 1899. Performance Arts Posters.  Library of Congress – Prints & Photographs Division. LCUSZc4-5164.

With her New York opera debut at Steinway Hall in 1888, Jones’ talent was quickly recognized. She toured overseas and became known as the world’s “first Negro prima donna.” Her voice and striking presence led to comparisons with Italian soprano Adelina Patti — considered the premier diva of the day. Jones was nicknamed “Black Patti” — which she resented for obvious reasons — but as Miss Jones proved to all, a woman of color was capable of giving world class performances.

Though racism kept her from performing on America’s most renowned stage, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, she did perform at the White House, and gave a command performance before England’s Royal Family. In June 1892, she became the first African American to take the stage at Carnegie Hall, and by 1895 she was the highest paid black entertainer in the world. By showing the world that a black woman could perform classical opera, Jones laid the ground work for future entertainers, including Lillian Evanti.

Lillian Evanti was born Lillian Evans on August 12, 1890 in Washington, D.C. She graduated with a music degree from Howard University in 1907. Thirteen years later she left America for Europe. There she became the first African American to sing with professional opera companies in Nice and Paris.

Evanti spoke (and sang in) five languages and critics praised her commanding coloratura soprano. In the 1930s, Evanti returned to Washington, D.C. to perform in the city’s premier theater, the Belasco, one of the few major venues that permitted performances before integrated audiences. The Washington Post called her appearance a “home-coming triumph.”

Lillian Evanti in France, 1926 American operatic soprano Lillian Evanti (1880-1967) in France in 1926. Bibliothèque nationale de France.

In 1932, the director of the Metropolitan Opera asked her to audition. The Opera’s board of directors, however, refused to allow Evanti to join the company, a decision based solely on her race. That, however, did not prevent her from performing in front of tens of thousands at Madison Square Garden and other substantial venues. It would take 23 more years before an African American female, Marian Anderson, would actually perform at the Metropolitan Opera, thanks in no small part to the trail blazed by Lillian Evanti.

A gifted musician and performer, Hazel Scott is an American Jazz legend who used her talent to fight against racist stereotypes and attitudes.

Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad on June 11, 1920, Hazel Scott was a child prodigy. After moving to New York City, Scott was given a special exemption to enroll in the prestigious Juilliard School of Music when she was only 8 years old — half the normal enrollment age of 16. By the time she was in high school she was hosting a radio show on WOR and performing in the evening.

Before long, Scott was the premier entertainer at New York’s Café Society, the city’s first fully integrated club. An accomplished pianist, she also played trumpet, and saxophone — the latter in a stint with Louis Armstrong’s All Girl Band. She spoke seven languages, appeared in a handful of movies, and married New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., a celebrity in his own right.

Scott didn’t shy away from fighting for civil rights. Included in her performance contracts was a clause mandating that the venues be fully integrated. In addition, she was an outspoken critic of the stereotypical roles offered to black actresses.

Lena Horne, 1964. Publicity photo of Lena Horne performing on The Bell Telephone Hour television show. NBC Television, 1964.

In June 1950, Scott was wrongly linked to communist-leaning organizations by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). In September, Scott voluntarily appeared before the committee. Though she gave a rousing defense of her patriotism, and no ties to communist groups were found, the stain of the HUAC damaged her career. By the time she was able to make a comeback in the early 1960s, jazz’ popularity had been eclipsed by rhythm and blues, and rock and roll. Jazz critics and aficionados consider her critically acclaimed 1955 album, Relaxed Piano Moods, one of the most important jazz recordings of the twentieth century.

Lena Horne’s life was a remarkably powerful story of the triumph of the spirit. Born in Brooklyn, New York on June 30, 1917, she became a performer at the famous Cotton Club at 16. Stardom wasn’t far behind. In 1943, her sultry, moody rendition of Stormy Weather, from the film of the same name, became her trademark. Horne would win multiple Grammy Awards for singing, and Tony Awards for her performances on Broadway. By 1945, her voice, her beauty, and her electric stage presence had made her the highest paid African American entertainer in the nation.

Throughout her life, Horne stood up for justice. During World War II, Horne refused to sing for segregated audiences of troops, nor would she perform when the troops were split with whites in front rows and blacks in back. On one occasion, disgusted that black GIs were forced to sit behind German POWs, Horne walked through the audience to where the black troops were seated and performed with her back to the German prisoners. It was emblematic of her life.

Horne was outspoken in her call for equal rights. Her friendships with Paul Robeson, along with W.E.B. Dubois, landed Horne on Hollywood’s blacklist for a period of time — a list of celebrities and entertainers who were marked by HUAC for alleged communist ties. Still, her talent was far more powerful than rumors and innuendo, and she performed in night clubs and toured to sell out houses. She was recognized as a screen star and her demands — that she never be cast in the role of maid, for example — put Hollywood on notice that African American actresses would no longer endure the stereotypes they had played for decades. When Halle Berry became the first African American to win the Best Actress Academy Award in 2009, she noted that her victory was for those women who came before her, including Dorothy Dandridge and Lena Horne.

It is a tribute to the indefatigable spirits of these women that they are remembered not only for their tremendous gifts, but for their determination in the face of a society that pitted so much against them based solely on their color. African American actors, singers, and musicians today owe a debt of gratitude to this group of women for clearing a path toward equality.

 dd-enews-temp-lonnie-bunch-2.jpg All the best, Lonnie Bunch Director


P.S. We can only reach our $250 million goal with your help. I hope you will consider making a donation or becoming a Charter Member today.

‘Racial Justice Act’ repealed in North Carolina’ ~~ Information we must ALL read& know

By Matt Smith, CNN
updated 3:48 AM EDT, Fri June 21, 2013

  • The 2009 law allowed inmates to argue that race played a role in sentences
  • Gov. Pat McCrory said it effectively halted capital punishment in the state
  • Democrats say four condemned convicts had their sentences reduced to life under the law

(CNN) — North Carolina’s governor says he agreed to repeal a law that allowed inmates to challenge their death sentences on racial grounds because it effectively banned capital punishment in the state.

North Carolina legislators barred death sentences “sought or obtained on the basis of race” in 2009, when both houses of the state General Assembly were under Democratic control.

The, legislation, known as the Racial Justice Act, allowed condemned convicts to use statistical analysis to argue that race played a role in their sentencing.

Was race a factor in death sentence?

Republicans who took control of the Legislature in 2010 weakened the law last year, overriding a veto by then-Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat.

Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican elected in 2012, followed legislative action and signed its complete repeal Wednesday.

“Nearly every person on death row, regardless of race, has appealed their death sentence under the Racial Justice Act,” McCrory said in a statement Wednesday. “The state’s district attorneys are nearly unanimous in their bipartisan conclusion that the Racial Justice Act created a judicial loophole to avoid the death penalty and not a path to justice.”

The state still allowed capital punishment even while the Racial Justice Act was on the books. But state Democrats said the law resulted in at least four convicts being taken off death row after judges ruled that their sentences resulted from racial bias, with their sentences commuted to life in prison instead.

About 53% of the 153 convicts awaiting execution in North Carolina are black, according to the state Department of Public Safety, while about 40% are white. African-Americans make up about 22% of the state’s population, according to Census figures.

CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

Coconut & Matcha Mochi Cake

A Cake Unlike Any Other


Makes about 12 large squares

1 stick butter,

softened 4 eggs

One 12-ounce can evaporated milk

One 13 1/2-ounce can coconut milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups glutinous rice flour, like Mochiko (available at Japanese markets)

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon matcha powder

1 big handful of shredded coconut, for sprinkling

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by Mark Weinberg

Susan Collins and many others consider running to replace Paul LePage

ME-Gov: The race to succeed the thankfully termed-out GOP Gov. Paul LePage is developing slowly, but we may have some developments soon. On the Democratic side, car dealer Adam Lee tells the Portland Press Herald‘s Scott Thistle that he’s close to deciding. TV commercials for the car dealerships starring Lee have recently looked a little more candidate-like, with Lee telling the viewer, “Lee may be just different enough for you,” though Lee denies that politics have anything to do with the message. Lee is a prominent Democratic donor and a board member on the state League of Conservation Voters and his late mother was a prominent Democratic advisor, so he may have the connections he’d need to do well.

A number of other Democrats are also making noises about getting in. Businessman Adam Cote, who lost a 2008 open-seat House primary to now-Rep. Chellie Pingree, says he’s “almost positive I will run”. Ex-state Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond also says he’ll decide in the next few months. State Attorney General Janet Mills, a prominent LePage opponent, also is publicly expressing interest. (In Maine, the attorney general is appointed by the legislature rather than elected by the voters.) In the past, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap (who also holds an appointed position) has expressed interest, while Pingree, former state House Speaker Mark Eves, former state Rep. Adam Goode, and wealthy businessman Lucas St. Clair haven’t ruled it out.

On the GOP side, the big question seems to be what Sen. Susan Collins will do. Collins, who took third place in the 1994 race two years before winning her Senate seat, has continued to leave the door open to a bid, with her spokesperson reiterating that she’ll “assess how best she can continue to serve the people of Maine.” Mary Mayhew, the state health and human services commissioner and a LePage ally, has only publicly not ruled out a bid, but she’s been a rumored candidate for a while.

State party chair Rick Bennett, who took third place in the 2012 Senate primary, has expressed interest, while state Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason says he expects to decide in a few months. State Sen. Roger Katz and state House Minority Leader Josh Tardy have also expressed interest in the past, while Rep. Bruce Poliquin hasn’t said no. The Press Herald also mentions ex-state Sen. Philip Harriman, though it’s unclear how interested he is.

A few independents have also talked about getting in, with businessman Shawn Moody saying he’ll decide in a few weeks. Moody ran in 2010 and took just 5 percent in the general election, but since then, he’s served on the board of trustees for the University of Maine System and Maine Community College System. Last fall, Maine voted to implement an instant-runoff system, meaning that independents no longer need to fear playing spoiler. However, it’s not clear if the system will be in place in 2018, and the state Senate just voted to ask the state Supreme Court for a legal opinionon whether instant-runoff is even constitutional.

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AZ-Sen: Two months after losing the 2016 GOP primary to Sen. John McCain 51-40, ex-state Sen. Kelli Ward announced that she would challenge Sen. Jeff Flake in the 2018 primary. Flake made his share of intra-party enemies after criticizing Donald Trump during the presidential race, but Flake haters haven’t shown much interest in Ward, who ran an underfunded campaign last time. Ward is trying to argue that she can win, and she’s out with a poll from PMI showing her leading Flake 30-23. The memo says that a November PMI poll showed Flake up 31-29.

PMI isn’t a pollster we see much from. But last July, PMI released a poll on behalf of Paul Nehlen, who was challenging Speaker Paul Ryan in the GOP primary for WI-01. PMI found Ryan up just 43-32; about a month later, Ryan won 84-16, not at all close to what PMI found.

MI-Sen: Republicans hope that Donald Trump’s narrow win in Michigan is a good omen for their chances against Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow next year, but the GOP field is only slowly taking shape. Longtime Rep. Fred Upton hasn’t ruled out a bid, and ex-state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville recently told The Detroit Free Press that he’s also considering. Richardville, who was termed-out of the state Senate in 2014, echoed Trump’s rhetoric, declaring that he’d be more interested in running, “if that (Washington, D.C.) swamp is drained somewhat over the next 100 days.”

PA-Sen: GOP Rep. Pat Meehan recently announced that he wouldn’t challenge Democratic Sen. Bob Casey next year, but Team Red still hopes to give Casey a tough race in a state that Trump narrowly carried. Real estate developer Jeff Bartos, a GOP fundraiser, reportedly has met with national Republican officials, and he’s confirmed that he’s thinking about getting in. Bartos briefly ran for the House in the 16th District last cycle, but dropped out long before the primary. It’s unclear if Bartos is willing or able to do any self-funding.

State Rep. Rick Saccone, who represents a seat near Pittsburgh, recently filed an exploratory committee, though for some reason, his paperwork came out looking like a ransom note. Saccone recently confirmed he’s planning to kick off his Senate bid at the end of the month. We don’t have video of Saccone’s interview, so we can’t tell if he was blinking “help me” in Morse code or not.

A few other Republicans have been mentioned. State House Majority Leader Dave Reed recently didn’t rule out a gubernatorial bid, saying in January that he was focusing on the legislature for the next six months. Now, state Republican Party power broker Bob Asher tells The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Jonathan Tamari that people are encouraging Reed to run against Casey. A spokesman for the Pennsylvania House Republicans acknowledges that Reed has been approached for a Senate bid and only says he’s focused on the legislature, so he’s not saying no.

Party insiders also tell Tamari that they see ex-Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, a former county commissioner in swingy Bucks County, as a possible statewide candidate. But Cawley, who has already been name-dropped as a possible gubernatorial candidate, has said nothing publicly about his interest in facing either Casey or Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. More Republicans have talked about challenging Wolf than Casey, but some of those would-be gubernatorial candidates might decide it makes more sense to face Casey than work their way through a crowded GOP primary.

TX-Sen: Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro has expressed interest in challenging GOP Sen. Cruz next year, and he said on Saturday that he’d take “probably about another eight weeks to make a decision or so.” Fellow Rep. Beto O’Rourke has also talked about facing Cruz. Texas Democrats reportedly believe O’Rourke is more likely to run, though it’s unclear if the two congressmen are unwilling to face off in a primary.


CA-Gov: Powerful state Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León has been mentioned as a possible Democratic gubernatorial candidate for a while. De León, who is termed out of office next year, publicly addressed the campaign in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, and he didn’t say no. Instead, De León says of his 2018 plans, “I am exploring my options but I am focused on my present day job, which is being leader of the Senate.” When he was explicitly asked if he was interested in running for governor or the U.S. Senate he offered a similar answer, concluding, “When the time comes, we are going to explore all options to see where we can continue to do work for the people of California.”

However, while it’s only February the year before the election, time is not on De León’s side if he’s truly interested. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has been running since 2015, while Treasurer John Chiang and ex-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa entered the race last year. While De León has earned some attention for his prominent opposition to Trump, he’d almost certainly begin the race with far less name recognition than any of the declared candidates. De León has raised $1.6 million for a possible lieutenant governor campaign that he could use for a gubernatorial run, but his would-be rivals are already out raising more cash. If Sen. Dianne Feinstein retired in 2018 De León could run for her seat, but Feinstein is already holding fundraisers for what looks like a likely re-election bid, and there’s no indication that De León is interested in challenging her.

FL-Gov: Florida Politics reports that Chris King, who runs an Orlando-area real estate company, is considering seeking the Democratic nomination for this open seat next year. While King himself hasn’t said anything publicly, he’s reportedly met with D.C.-based national consultants to discuss what Florida Politics characterizes as “an outsider’s run with a mixture of liberal social and business-oriented views.” King himself has not been involved in Democratic politics, though he’s been vocal in calling for more affordable housing and for churches to embrace the LGBT community. It’s unclear if King plans to self-fund or how much he’s interested in investing, but winning in Florida is not a cheap endeavor.

So far, a number of Democrats have made noises about getting in, but no one has made it official yet. Ex-Rep. Gwen Graham, who served one term in a conservative North Florida seat, has said she plans to run, though she said late last year that she was delaying her decision while her husband undergoes treatment for prostate cancer. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, wealthy trial attorney John Morgan, and wealthy Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine have also talked about running, while Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum may also be flirting with a bid. Democrats haven’t won the governor’s office since Lawton Chiles was narrowly re-elected against Jeb Bush in 1994, but Team Blue hopes 2018 will be the year the GOP’s winning streak finally breaks.

IL-Gov: Last week, Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber announced that he would seek the Democratic nod to face Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. There’s no indication yet that Daiber has the money or support he’ll need to boost his name recognition outside Madison, a St. Louis area county that isn’t home to many Democratic voters.

RI-Gov: Back in May, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin declined to rule out challenging Gov. Gina Raimondo in next year’s Democratic primary. Kilmartin is termed-out of office in 2018 and he’s still not closing the door to a potential campaign against the governor, but he’s evidently in absolutely no hurry to make up his mind. Kilmartin recently told WPRI’s Ted Nesi that he’s at least a year away from starting “the thought process” on what to run for in 2018, if anything.

Kilmartin isn’t the only Democrat who has made noises about facing Raimondo. Last December, attorney Clay Pell didn’t rule anything out either; Pell ran against then-Treasurer Raimondo in the 2014 gubernatorial primary and took third place, finishing behind her 42-27. Former Rhode Island State Police head Brendan Doherty, who ran as a Republican for the House in 2012, also hasn’t said no to a Democratic primary bid.

As we’ve noted before, there have been tensions between Raimondo and labor for years from her successful effort as treasurer to cut pensions five years ago. Raimondo’s move may have saved the state’s badly underfunded retirement system, but it left many angry. Raimondo has also had some big stumbles as governor, such as the brutal reaction to the state’s botched rollout of a new tourism slogan (“Rhode Island: Cooler and Warmer”), which was mercifully given a quick death. But Raimondo is a strong fundraiser, and her vocal opposition to Trump could help her make inroads with critics on the left. A number of Republicans have also talked about challenging her next year.


CA-34: Candidate filing closed last week for the April 4 special election to succeed Xavier Becerra in this safely blue downtown Los Angeles seat. All the candidates will face off on one ballot; in the very likely event that no one takes a majority, the two contenders with the most votes will advance to the June 6 general election. Hillary Clinton carried this seat 84-11, and with two minor Republicans likely to split the seat’s small red bloc, the two general election finalists are likely to both be Democrats.

The Los Angeles Times has a list of the 23 candidates who have filed here. The frontrunner looks like Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, who has raised more money and secured more prominent endorsements than his many rivals. Former Los Angeles City Council aide Sarah Hernandez raised a surprisingly strong amount of cash before December, while former Bernie Sanders staffer Arturo Carmona is hoping to rally Sanders’ voters to victory. There are plenty of other contenders and in a low turnout race, one of them could pull off a surprise and advance to June.

GA-06: The filing deadline for the special election to replace Republican Tom Price is at 1:00 PM ET on Wednesday, so we’ll know very soon who is in and who isn’t. All the candidates will face off on one ballot on April 18and in the likely event that no candidate clears 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will take place on June 20. Donald Trump won this suburban Atlanta seat just 48-47, and Democrats hope to pull off an upset in June in what is usually reliably red turf.

Wealthy ex-state Sen. Dan Moody has joined the field for Team Red, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says he has the support of several prominent former aides to ex-Gov. Sonny Perdue and Sen. David Perdue. Another wealthy GOP candidate, Johns Creek Councilor Bob Gray, has also launched what Politico describes as the “first installment in a six-figure ad buy” on cable TV. But thanks to the candidate’s delivery and some bad writing and editing, Gray completely steps on his message mid-way through the spot.

Gray declares, “I believe we need to send citizens to D.C., not attorneys and not politicians who will be there for a short period of time, solve problems, and then go home.” You know what he actually means but even in context, it really sounds like the candidate is objecting to sending politicians and attorneys to Congress, even though they’ll solve America’s problems and go home. But Gray’s Trumpesque rhetoric is delivered far more clearly. While Gray doesn’t mention Donald Trump, his calls to “drain the swamp” and “make America great again” don’t leave much doubt about what kind of campaign he’s at least attempting to run.

KS-04: On Saturday, Kansas Democrats chose civil rights attorney Jim Thompson as their nominee in the April 11 special election to replace Republican Mike Pompeo, who was just confirmed at Donald Trump’s CIA director (in name only). Thompson defeated former state Treasurer Dennis McKinney 21-18 on the second ballot after leading 17 to 16 in the first round of voting; he’ll now go on to face state Treasurer Ron Estes, whom Republicans tapped as their standard-bearer last week (and who, as it happens, beat McKinney for his current job in 2010).

Thompson made the contours of his campaign clear, saying he has “no doubt about that this is going to be a referendum on Trump policies.” Republicans responded by (as per usual) trying to link Thompson to Pelosi. At the very least, this race will offer some hints as to which playbook—the old or the new—will work here. Trump won Kansas’ 4th Congressional District, which is centered around Wichita, by a punishing 60-33 margin, but just as Democrats are fired up with unprecedented intensity, some Trump voters might already be turned off to the man they voted for, or just simply find themselves less motivated to show up for a random special election than they were back in November.

So even in a seat this Trumpy, Thompson has little choice but to try to make the race all about the occupant of the White House; any other approach would almost certainly be pointless. While the odds are indisputably against him, we’re in the middle of a moment, and Thompson understands he has to do what he can to capture it.

SC-05: Another Republican has joined the likely special election to succeed Mick Mulvaney, who is awaiting Senate confirmation as Donald Trump’s budget chief. The newest candidate is Chad Connelly, who served as state party chair until he jumped ship for the Republican National Committee in 2013. Connelly joins anti-Common Core activist Sheri Few; attorney Tom Mullikin; state Rep. Ralph Norman; state House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope; and attorney Kris Wampler in the GOP primary, and there’s plenty of time for more candidates to enter.

According to The Post and Courier, the primary for this seat will be held 11 weeks after Mulvaney resigns, with a primary runoff held a few weeks later if no one takes a majority. The general election will be held 18 weeks after the seat opens, but the GOP will be heavily favored in this northern South Carolina seat, a district that Trump carried 57-39.


Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso reports in:

Minnesota HD-32B: This is an open Republican seat located in Chisago County, on the northeastern end of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. The Democrats have nominated Laurie Warner, a former member of the Duluth City Council who was the Democratic nominee in this district in the past two cycles. The Republicans have nominated Anne Neu, who managed Chip Cravaack’s successful 2010 House run. This seat went 61-32 for Donald Trump in 2016, while it backed Mitt Romney by a 55-43 margin in 2012.

The seat is open because, while GOP state Rep. Bob Barrett said he lived in the district, he didn’t actually reside in what he claimed was his home six months before the election as the law required. The state Supreme Court ruled in September that Barrett was ineligible to serve because he actually lived outside the district. However, since the ruling was so close to Election Day, Barrett remained on the November ballot, but the election was nullified in advance and a February special was ordered. (Hat-tip Hughsterg.)

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and James Lambert.

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