Kentucky voters elected the first African-American to a statewide office on Tuesday.
Jenean Hampton, a Republican, will be the first African-American lieutenant governor of the state, but that is not her only unique quality. Hampton is also a tea party activists, among only a few black women who identify with the movement. She was Governor-elect Matt Bevin’s running mate.
Hampton and Bevin beat Democratic candidate Jack Conway and running mate Sannie Overly by about 9%, earning almost 53% of the votes.
Hampton previously ran for the Kentucky House of Representatives in 2014, but lost to the incumbent.
Her nonpolitical career includes working as computer systems officer for the U.S. Air Force. She received the ranking of Captain when deployed in Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Storm. After her service, she worked in the corrugated packaging industry.
Hampton is now one of only two African-American lieutenant governors. The other is Boyd Rutherford of Maryland. Eleven other African-Americans have served as lieutenant governors in history – two of them were women.
There have been four African-American governors in history, none were women.