Rep. Angela Cockerham (L) and Rep. Jill Ford (R) (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Cockerham’s endorsement is a reminder that no demographic should be seen as homogenous or taken for granted in politics.
State Representative Angela Cockerham endorsed incumbent Republican Governor Tate Reeves in his re-election bid yesterday.
By itself, one politician supporting another is not earthshaking news. But Cockerham’s endorsement is notable, in part, because of her past party affiliation and, in part, because of her race. Cockerham is an African American member of the Mississippi House of Representatives. Until 2019, when she declared herself an Independent, she was a Democrat.
In an endorsement advertisement for Reeves, Cockerham notes that the two do not always agree, before citing a string of accomplishments: “When teachers deserved a raise, Tate got it done. When our hospitals struggled, Tate found the money. And on bringing new jobs, Tate Reeves made history.”
Cockerham first became a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives in 2005, representing District 96 in southwest Mississippi. She’s represented the district since and is unopposed in her re-election bid this year. Cockerham has a good reputation among colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
It is no secret that African Americans vote overwhelming Democrat, both in Mississippi and across the nation. Comprising nearly 40 percent of our state’s population and making up north of 30 percent of the electorate in most cycles, African American voters are particularly pivotal for any Democratic candidate hoping to win Mississippi.
Reeves’ Democratic opponent, Brandon Presley has focused intensely on trying to drive African American turnout. He needs both high African American turnout and a chunk of Republican defectors to have a chance.
In the final days of the campaign, both candidates’ attention is on shoring up their own bases and simultaneously attempting to erode their opponent’s base.
Presley previously had former Republican Congressman Mike Parker make the case for Republicans voting Democrat. Parker also endorsed Joe Biden in 2020.
Cockerham’s endorsement is a reminder that no demographic should be seen as homogenous and no group of people should be taken for granted in politics. It’s also a reminder that at the end of the day, elections are about putting people in place that can get hard things done. That transcends race and political affiliations.