Tuesday, October 15, 2013

If Cory Booker Wins the New Jersey US Senate Seat Tomorrow, He'll Be The Only Current Elected Black US Senator

Barrack Obama was the last elected African-American US Senator.  When he left the Senate in 2009 to become President, there were no African-American US Senators.

South Carolina Rep. Tim Scott, the only Republican African-American member of Congress, was appointed to fill the South Carolina US Senate seat left vacant when Jim DeMint resigned in January 2013 to head the Heritage Institute.  Soon Scott was joined by African-American William "Mo" Cowan of Massachusetts who was appointed as Interim Senator to fill  John Kerry's seat when he became Secretary of State.  It was the first time ever there were two African-American US Senators at the same time.  Cowan did not seek election in special election in June 2013 when Ed Markey was elected and took over Cowan's seat.   Scott's seat will have a special election in 2014.

So, if Booker wins, he will be the second African-American, the only Democratic African-American, and the only elected African-American in the US Senate.

I keep track of these things because several years ago I discovered it was difficult to find out how many African-Americans are in Congress.  At that time I could find a list of all the African-Americans who'd ever been in Congress, but that took a lot of time to sort through to find out who actually was currently in Congress.  It seemed the info I found should be available to others, so I posted it.

Other sources are now more readily available, but I've been trying to keep my list up-to-date.  So when I saw mention that Cory Booker, the Democratic candidate for US Senator in tomorrow's election to replace Senator Frank Lautenberg who died in January, is an African-American, I took notice.

He's running against a Tea Party Republican, Steve Lonegan.  The polls have put Booker well ahead, but a recent poll shows Lonegan gaining some ground.  The Guardian's reporter sees little danger for Booker though. But this is a special election on a Wednesday!  If the Tea Party is able to get all its members out and the overall turnout is very low, who knows what could happen?  But I can't imagine that the Democrats are very aware of that and taking necessary measures.

Booker has a degree from Stanford and a law degree from Yale.  Here's a complete bio.
And here is Lonegan's bio.

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