Friday, December 21, 2012

How Many Black Members in the 113th Congress?

The answer appears* to be 43 in the House, down from 44 in the 112th Congress.

The US Senate has one African American - Tim Scott, appointed to the position by South Carolina Governor Nicki Haley after Jim DeMint resigned in January 2013.  He's expected to run in the special election in 2014.  Shortly after Scott was appointed he 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 June 2013 when Ed Markey was elected and took over Cowan's seat.  

[**UPDATE NOV 9, 2014:  After the midterm elections it now appears there will be 45 in the House of Representatives and 2 US Senators.  See the new list for the 114th Congress here.]

[**UPDATE OCTOBER 15, 2013:  African American Cory Booker is a candidate in the special election October 16, 2013 in New Jersey to replace Senator Frank Lautenberg who died  in January.  Booker is a Democrat in a heavily Democratic state running against Tea Party candidate Steve Lonegan.  One recent poll shows Lonegan gaining ground, but the Guardian sees it as wishful thinking by Republicans.  If Booker wins, he would become the second sitting Black US Senator and the only elected Black US Senator. (Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina was appointed.).]

[**UPDATE APRIL 14, 2013:  On March 18, 2013, William “Mo” Cowan (D-Mass.) was appointed to fill Senator John Kerry's seat when he resigned to become Secretary of State.  This is an interim appointment until the June 25 special election.  There are now two African Americans serving in the US Senate for the first time ever.] 

There will be 28[7] men and 15[6] women.  Two members - Eleanor Holmes of Washington DC and Donna M. Christensen of the Virgin Islands are non-voting members.

Six of the 112th's African American House members will not be returning for the 113rd Congress.  Three lost to white candidates after redistricting:
  • California's Laura Richardson lost to another Democratic incumbent, Janice Hahn when their districts were merged.
  • Florida's Republican Allen West lost to Democrat Patrick Murphy in a close race.
  • Michigan's Hansen Clarke lost to another Democratic incumbent, Gary Peters, in the primary in their merged district.
Two were replaced by new African American candidates
  • New Jersey's Donald M. Payne died.  His son Donald M. Payne Jr. replaced him.
  • New York's Edolphus Towns retired and was replaced by Hakeem Jeffries.
One was reelected and then appointed to the US Senate.
  • North [South] Carolina's Tim Scott
There were three new African American members elected from new districts:
  • Texas' Marc Veassey. 
  • Nevada's first African American member Steven Horsford.
  • Ohio's Joyce Beatty.
[UPDATE APRIL 14, 2013:  Rep. Jesse Jackson resigned and was replaced on April 11, 2013 by Robin Kelly.  This doesn't change the number of black members of Congress, but it adds a woman.]

Tim Scott's House seat is now open, but, according to AP's Big Story site, it requires a special election.

With Tim Scott's move to the Senate, there will be no Black Republicans in the House and one in the US Senate.  [UPDATE April 14: two in the Senate with newly appointed Massachusetts Senator William 'Mo' Cowan.]

For details, below is a table I created to show each district, by states. (Alphabetical order by state abbreviations.) I've also included the percentage of the vote each member received in the November 2012 election. I've done this to help people see how districts have been gerrymandered to make these seats safe, as is the case for most districts. In some California districts,  both top candidates were Democrats. I've included % of minor candidates as well so the numbers should be very close to 100%.

You should be able to scroll it and enlarge it in the Scribd format below. 

This is a follow up to previous posts on this topic which I created when I found that there wasn't an easy way to get a list of Black members of Congress.

Feb. 4, 2008  How Many Black Members of Congress?  Original Post

Aug. 20, 2008  NPR Reports Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones Dies of Aneurism

Dec. 1, 2008  How Many Black Members of Congress:  Update

Dec. 16, 2008  How Many Black Members of Congress Update 

Nov. 4, 2010  How Many Blacks in Congress:  Post Election Update

Source of most election data:

2012 Congressional Election Results  District by district election results

Virgin Islands Results   These tended not to be part of most coverage.

Congressional Black Caucus Members

National Journal New Faces in 113th Congress - It seems I can only get you to the page with all the new members. There you can sort by "minorities" - which will show all the other new members with ethnic identities other than 'white'.  If you click on the individual  faces, you'll get a profile of that member. 

Information on districts where incumbents will not be in 113th:

Hansen Clark Race  On Michigan's 14th District Race

Edolphus Towns  replaced by Hakeem Jeffries

Donald M. Paine - On death of Paine Sr. and replacement by his son

Allen West race - On West's loss.

Tim Scott Senate appointment

Hakeem Jeffries  On Jeffries' replacement of Towns

New Districts:

Steven Horsford in Nevada's 4th District 

Joyce Beatty in Ohio's 3rd District

Marc Veassey in Teaxas' 33rd District

*Finding all the African-American Congress members is not easy.  That's why I posted my first post on this in 2008.  The Congressional Black Caucus website doesn't change it's list until after the new Congress begins.  I used that as the starting point for this list.  Then I checked the election of each of the current members.  But,  finding new members is harder.  I googled different possibilities which picked up Tim Scott, the Republican from South Carolina, did not join the Black Caucus.  When I thought I was done, I found the National Journal's list of the 113th Congress new members which allowed me to sort "Minorities" which yielded Horsford, Beatty, and Veassey.  I hadn't found them because they were from districts that were created after the 2020 Census.  So, I think this is reasonably complete, but if anyone finds someone missing or other errors, please let me know in the comments or  email me.


  1. Senator Tim Scott is from SC not NC

  2. s wullner - thanks! I truly appreciate the help with these pesky errors.


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