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New black political group launches with four Democratic endorsements and more planned

A new political group called the Black Economic Alliance publicly launched Monday with $3.5 million raised f...

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 1:15 AM
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 1:15 AM

A new political group called the Black Economic Alliance publicly launched Monday with $3.5 million raised for this year's midterm elections and plans to back 10 to 15 candidates.

The group, which seeks to marshal black business leaders behind an economics-focused political push, announced four initial endorsements of Democratic candidates: Stacey Abrams for Georgia governor, Ben Jealous for Maryland governor, Richard Cordray for Ohio governor and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine in his re-election bid.

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Tony Coles, a biotech executive who is the co-chairman of the group, said in addition to the $3.5 million at launch, the group has "conversations ongoing with significant donors and grassroots organizers for additional fundraising in the coming weeks" and plans to spend "additional millions of dollars" on the midterms.

The group's executive director, Akunna Cook, told reporters on a conference call that the group will back candidates in states and districts with at least a 10% black population, and where the elections are likely to be competitive. Cook said the group will both contribute to candidates and back get-out-the-vote efforts.

She said the group's goal is to endorse candidates in 10 to 15 races in this year's midterm elections, with 10 to 12 endorsements in congressional races coming after Labor Day.

The group also has an independent expenditure arm, the Black Economic Alliance Fund, which will spend money backing candidates beyond direct contributions.

"We're evaluating on a case-by-case basis ... what it will take to win" each race, Cook said.

Coles pointed to unfair lending practices, educational inequities and a disproportionate lack of progress in home ownership and wages for black Americans. He said the Black Economic Alliance "isn't a social justice organization. We are an organization seeking political and policy solutions to these problems."

The group launched with a conference call featuring Abrams, Jealous and Cordray.

Abrams, who is seeking to become the nation's first black female governor, pointed to news stories about her personal debt. "I've had to make choices based on economic issues that face everyone but have had an acute effect on me," she said.

Abrams said that since 2016, young black people who might have sat the previous election out are "very much woke and conscious" of the political environment.

"What voters are looking for is authenticity," Abrams said.

"I think it's a false narrative to say that there's some unique sliver of strategy that you have to navigate," she said, adding that candidates can win by showing how "your policies and your values are reflected in their needs and how we can get this done together."

Cordray pointed to a small-business loan program he helped launch in Ohio as an example of how he'd help black business owners. He also said Ohio has an infant mortality crisis that is "especially pronounced in the African-American community" and said he'd protect the state's Medicaid expansion.

Cordray also said the fallout of the housing crisis in the late 2000s diminished many homeowners' wealth.

"This has been a significant problem in America, and it continues to be a significant problem because it's affecting people's access to higher education, because they don't have a nest egg to work from," Cordray said.

Jealous complained that Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan sees inclusion "too often as an impediment -- something that would be nice to do, but he doesn't need to address."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
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Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
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Jefferson263338
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Clay222532
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Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
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Starke175443
Jay167623
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Carroll158015
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Pulaski97037
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Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
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Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
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