Thursday, November 04, 2010

How Many Blacks in Congress? - Post Election Update

[UPDATE Oct. 17, 2013:  See more recent post with updates.]

A couple of years ago I tried to find out how many African-American Congress members there were and discovered it wasn't easy.  I ended up posting my own chart.  So I figured I needed to do some updating to include changes after the November 2010 election.

I've checked each representative on the list to see how they did in the election.  And I've googled to see if I could discover any new black representatives who may have shown up.  Below is a summary of the changes I could find.  This may not be complete.  I will update the chart and put together a new one later. 

The new total, as best as I can tell, is 40, not counting two non-voting members. 

Basically, most members of the Congressional black caucus were reelected, but there are some changes.

All the seats held by black Democrats were retained by black Democrats.  One previously black Democratic seat was recovered (Louisiana). One black Republican won in a district (South Carolina) of a retiring white Republican and one black Republican won a previously Democratic (and white) seat (Florida.)

If this covers all the Congressional victories by black candidates, there would be a gain of three black members of Congress, from 39  to 42.  The one black Senator, Roland Burris, did not run for reelection, so there will be no black Senators.

Two ran for other offices (and lost)

Artur Davis, gave up his seat in Alabama's 7th district to run for governor.  He lost in the primary to another Democrat.  Terri Sewell won the seat.

Kendrick Meek gave up Florida's 17th district house seat to run for US Senator.  He lost.  His house seat was won by Frederica Wilson

One lost the primary election:

Carolyn Cheeks  Kilpatrick  lost her Michigan's 13th district seat in the primary to Hanson Clark, who went on to win the general election.

One did not seek reelection:

Diane Watson in California's 33rd district announced last January she would not run and was replaced by Karen Bass.  

In all the cases above, the individuals changed, but the seats remained Democratic and black.

(The focus here is on the House, but Senator Roland Burris did not run for reelection from Illinois and there will be no new black Senators.)


Black Democrat retakes

In 2008, Joseph Cao took advantage of Rep. Jefferson's indictment for bribery to defeat him in Louisiana's heavily black and Democratic 1st district.   He also became the first Vietnamese-American member of Congress.  But in 2010, he lost the seat went back to a black Democrat, Cedric Richmond. 

Two black Republicans elected.

AP reports that 14 black Republicans ran for Congress in 2010 and two were elected. 

Tim Scott won in South Carolina's 1st district.  He defeated Strom Thurmond's son in the primary. He was endorsed by Sarah Palin. 

Allen West ousted a two term Democrat in Florida's 22nd district, which supported Gore, Kerry, and Obama in the last three presidential races. 

An AP report, here from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, reports on the election of other non-white candidates in general. such as Nikki Haley, the new Indian-American Governor of South Carolina and also their first female governor.  They also report on Hispanic candidates and voters.

Black Members of House of Representatives 112th Congress

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  1. Weird that Allan West, a true weirdo who used a well known criminal motorcycle gang for Joe Miller type "security", beat a Democrat in a district that's historically Democratic.

    Kinda like a black version of Jim Trafficante (who failed to win election as an independent now that he's out of jail).

  2. Harpboy, from 1993 (when it was created) to 2007 a Republican held the seat. It's waterfront Miami.


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