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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The Department of Justice "is dropping a discrimination claim against a Texas law that required voters to present identification at the polls." The case will continue to carry on with private groups who filed the lawsuit. The DOJ dropped the claim because Texas is planning to "cure the deficiencies" with the law, according to a draft copy of the dismissal motion the DOJ sent to the Campaign Legal Center. Texas Governor Jim Abbott tweeted a picture of a headline sharing the information with a caption saying "It's a new day in D.C."