SPOTLIGHT

African-American Pols’ Slow Statewide Progress

Tim Scott in his office Wednesday, March 21, 2012.
National Journal
Scott Bland
See more stories about...
Scott Bland
June 13, 2014, 7:45 a.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
1.5 MILLION MORE TUNED IN FOR TRUMP
More People Watched Trump’s Acceptance Speech
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.

Source:
×