In Richmond, Va., Garrison Coward and a campaign volunteer approach their first home, making the rounds in a mostly white neighborhood called Windsor Farms, where the sidewalks are made of brick and streets are named after English universities.
"Mr. Smallfield," the volunteer cues Coward, reading from an app on his phone.
Coward strides to the door. He has done this before in past jobs as a campaign aide to Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., and as the Republican Party of Virginia's political director. He was drawn to the party's free market ethos in high school, thanks to economics classes and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
Now the 29-year-old is a candidate himself — one of two African American Republicans running for a seat in the state House in a legislature that has hosted just two black Republicans since Reconstruction and none since 2004. Meanwhile, Democrats are running 35 people of color in the House.