The endorsements by the Simkins PAC for the May 6 Democratic primary aren’t much of a surprise.

Skip Alston, the treasurer of the political action committee, is the pick for the fiercely contested state Senate 28 race, in which he is challenging incumbent Gladys Robinson.

“We need stronger, more efficient leaders in the state Senate,” the PAC reasons in its endorsement slate, obtained today by Triad City Beat. “We know Skip will provide that leadership.”

Robinson, meanwhile, has garnered endorsements from the NC Association of Educators, Sierra Club and AFL-CIO.

Founded in the 1960s by the legendary civil rights activist Dr. George C. Simkins, the organization now known as the Simkins PAC was formed to give African Americans a voice in the Greensboro electoral process by creating a bloc vote to offset a system rigged to favor white candidates through all at-large elections determined by the white majority.

Many but not all of the members of the committee have historically been black elected officials. Candidates typically meet the committee to answer questions, after which endorsements are decided by a simple majority vote of the membership. The candidates who earn the Simkins PAC’s support are often expected to contribute to the committee to cover the expense of mailing endorsements to black voters in Greensboro.

Alston said the committee does not disclose the identity of its voting members, but elected officials associated with the Simkins PAC in the past include Alma Adams and Earl Jones.

The PAC endorses Adams for the 12th Congressional District, arguing that she “is leading the way to represent us in the US House of Representatives.”

Earl Jones receives the nod for state House District 60 over Cecil Brockman and David Small with the reason that “Earl is the only candidate with city council and state House service.”

The committee endorses Guilford County Commissioner Bruce Davis over former University of North Carolina general counsel Laura Fjeld for the 6th Congressional District, characterizing the race as “an opportunity for an African American to serve in Congress.”

Challenger Jim Kee, a former Greensboro City Council member, receives the endorsement for state House District 57 over incumbent Pricey Harrison.

Ralph Johnson, described as a “hard-working community leader,” is the committee’s pick for the state House 58 seat, which Adams is vacating to run for Congress.

The PAC endorses J. Carlvena Foster for Guilford County Commission District 1 over Dianne Bellamy-Small, a longtime rival of Earl Jones.

Other endorsements include Kay Cashion for Guilford County Commission at large, Lisa Johnson-Tonkins for Guilford County clerk of superior court, Danny Rogers for sheriff, Robin Hudson for NC Supreme Court and Kay Hagan for US Senate.

The endorsements will be mailed out to voters tomorrow, Alston said.

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