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 »
"Congressional negotiators released a stopgap spending bill Tuesday night to avert a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday and to fund federal agencies and programs through April 28." The 70-page continuing resolution includes $170 million to aid Flint, Michigan's water supply, and a waiver that would allow Ret. Gen. James Mattis to assume the role of secretary of Defense.
"A number of Capitol Hill Democrats have revived proposals to reform or abolish the Electoral College," chief among Michigan's John Conyers, who "held a panel on Capitol Hill Tuesday to discuss options for eliminating the Electoral College and replacing it with a system where a national popular vote elects the president. ... The plan with the most support to reform the election college at the panel was the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a proposal first developed in 2001 that would give the national popular vote winner the majority of electoral college votes through an agreement between the states."
House Speaker Paul Ryan has decreed that House members "won’t receive their committee assignments until January — after they cast a public vote on the House floor for speaker. "The move has sparked behind-the-scenes grumbling from a handful of Ryan critics, who say the delay allows him and the Speaker-aligned Steering Committee to dole out committee assignments based on political loyalty rather than merit or expertise." The roll call to elect the speaker is set for Jan. 3, the first vote of the new Congress.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Monday that the government funding bill will be released on Tuesday. The bill is the last piece of legislation Congress needs to pass before leaving for the year and is expected to fund the government through the spring. The exact time date the bill would fund the government through is unclear, though it is expected to be in April or May.