Sure, a sitting House majority leader losing his primary this year was pretty rare: It has now happened once. But, unbelievably, it’s just as common as two African-American senators serving concurrently, which only happened for the first time during this Congress. Moving on from there, 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for black politicians running statewide — even though the number of wins will remain low.
— There have been nine African-American senators, according to the Senate Historical Office, and Tim Scott (R-SC) and temporary appointee Mo Cowan (D-MA) were the first pair to ever serve together. Now, Scott and Cory Booker (D-NJ) do. Booker became the fourth popularly elected black senator ever last year, and Scott will become the fifth when he goes on the ballot for the first time.
— Meanwhile, if the polling in Maryland remains steady, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) would become the fifth African-American governor — and the third one to be elected — in United States history. (That’s out of about 2,400 in history, per National Governors Association records.) Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA), the lone current black governor, is leaving office after two terms at the end of the year.
— President Obama‘s White House wins were banner moments for the African-American community, but they haven’t yet led to a string of high-level successes for other black politicians, many of whom represent majority-minority constituencies that haven’t served as great statewide launchpads.
Progress is progress, and a few candidates in 2014, plus rising stars like Calfornia Attorney General Kamala Harris, mean that snail’s pace at the statewide level is picking up a bit. But for the black political community, it’s still moving very slowly.
— Scott Bland
CORRECTION: The previous version of this story misstated Cory Booker’s electoral history. He won his seat in a 2013 special election.