Black Hopefuls Join U.S. Senate Race - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Perhaps it was the overwhelming victory of state Sen. Barack Obama in the Chicago Democratic primary that inspired Congresswoman Denise Majette to announce her candidacy for the Georgia Senate seat vacated by Zell Miller. Despite Majette’s late start against other Democratic candidates — state Senator Mary Squires, attorney Gary Leshaw, and millionaire Cliff Oxford — Merle Black, professor of politics at Emory University, says he thinks Majette will try to leverage her considerable name recognition into a Democratic nomination.

If Majette wins, waiting for her at the general election in November could be another African American: Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, who some say represents the new face of black Republicans. “Cain could possibly be the most conservative Republican in this primary,” says Black. Cain has never held or run for office in Georgia and is up against two congressional members: Mac Collins and Johnny Isakson. At the time of this writing, Isakson was leading in polls.

Unlike Cain or Obama, who entered the Senate race 16 months before the Illinois primary, Majette abandoned re-election to her current congressional position to toss her hat into the running for the U.S. Senate less than four months before the Georgia primary this month. “She has completely disrupted her fundraising ability,” says Black, who also notes that “she has upset her original supporters who wanted her to stay in her current position.”

Majette was thrust into the spotlight during the highly publicized 2002 race when she was up against controversial former 4th District Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Even if she does receive the Democratic nomination, money will be a primary obstacle. Political analysts say it takes $2 million to win in the Georgia general election.

Zina C. Pierre is one of the vice chairpersons of Future PAC, a national African American women’s political action committee. She stresses the importance of Majette raising funds outside of Georgia: “While her base is in Georgia and while it’s important for her to get Georgia’s vote, she should know that African Americans around the country would love the opportunity to invest in a black woman making it to the Senate.”

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.