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.
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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.