Tuesday, November 08, 2016

How Will the 2016 Election Affect Black Representation In Congress?

Overview:  There are currently 2 black US Senators and 46 black Members of Congress.  At this point it looks certain there will be one less black representative as Charles Rangel's replacement is likely to be Dominican Adriano Espaillat.  (I've not seen him identified as black.)  Where other black representatives are not running in the general election, their successors appear likely to be African-American.  One iffy black incumbent is Texas district 23 Republican William Hurd.
Kamala Harris is likely to be the third African-American in the US Senate (also she'll be the first Indian-American Senator.) That would be the most black Senators in the Senate at once. Robert 'Bobby' Scott of Virginia is hoping to be appointed to the Senate if Tim Kaine becomes Vice President.  If that happens he'd be the fourth African-American US Senator in the next Congress.  But then his House seat will be open.
[*UPDATE Nov 9, 2016 - I've found two more new African-American candidates for Congress and they have both won:  Florida District 10 - Val Demings;  Delaware at-large - Lisa Blunt Rochester.]

Background on this post:  I updated my list of black members of Congress after the 2014 election.  You can see it here.  [There were two corrections necessary after I worked on this post.  I had totally missed one new black member elected in a 75% white district in New Jersey - Barbara Watson Coleman.  I'd also misspelled Marc Veassel in Texas district 33.]

I figured I should get ready for this election to see what changes there might be after this election.  Are there other black candidates running in other districts?  This is always a bit tricky.  As noted above, in 2014 I missed Barbara Watson Coleman, though I did manage to find a few other new ones who were not in mostly black districts.  This year I was only able, so far, to come up with one African-American candidate not from a seat already held by an African-American:   Kamala Harris is running for US Senate from California.   But what about others?  If you know of any I missed, please let me know.  My email is in the right column above the blog archive.

[Note on racial identity:  I'd note that these posts give me some discomfort because of the emphasis on race.  This is a socially constructed idea that sometimes becomes tricky.  Often identifying a person's race is arbitrary.   I try to utilize the identifiers the candidates themselves use, or look for other indicators that someone has self identified as African-American or black.  For instance,  Wikipedia tells us about Kamala Harris
"Harris is the first female,[4] the first African-American,[5][6][7][8][9] and the first Indian-American attorney general in California.[10][11]"
But for the Democratic candidate in Harlem who is expected to replace Charles Rangel, I can only find reference to him being 'Dominican' and 'Latino.'

For political reasons, it is still relevant to have these categories, and groups like the Congressional Black Caucus are significant.  But it is also instructive to look at women in Congress, Hispanics/Latinos, and other ethnicities.  I'll leave those to others to do.  My posts on this subject came about in 2008 when I could not find a clear list of black members of Congress and ended up creating one.  That left me with the task of updating the list every election.]

There are some changes we know about already:

New York 

Charles Rangel is NOT running for reelection in New York's 13th district.
The Democrat running to replace him is Adriano Espaillat, who would be, if elected, according to Wikipedia, the first Dominican Member of Congress.  There's a  Republican candidate, Tony Smith, and a Green and a Transparent Government Party candidate.


Rep. Corrine Brown from Florida's 5th district lost the Democratic primary to state senator Al Lawson after  a 24 count federal indictment.  This means the loss of one woman member of Congress, but a Lawson win would maintain this as a black seat.


Rep. Donna Edwards from Maryland's 4th district ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate seat vacated by Barbara Mikulski.  That means one less woman in the Senate (Mikulski) and one less woman in the House (Edwards).
Anthony Brown is the Democratic candidate hoping to take Edwards' House seat.  His bio says he was the first African-American student body president in his high school.


District 2  Chaka Fattah was convicted on 22 counts of corruption in July 2016 and resigned from Congress.  He had already lost in the April primary to Dwight Evans (also African-American.)


Democrat Kamala Harris is the front runner in the race for US Senate.  Her father, a university professor, was from Jamaica and her mother was a medical doctor from India.  Politico touts this race (under California's relatively new all candidate primaries where the top two run in the general regardless of party) as historic.  Kamala Harris' opponent is Rep. Loretta Sanchez.
"The election of either would be a historic first: Harris would be the first biracial woman and first Indian-American woman in the U.S. Senate; Sanchez would be the first Latina."
I guess since there has already been an African-American woman in the Senate, that aspect wasn't mentioned.


Robert Scott from Virginia's 3rd district is hoping to be appointed US Senator if Virginia's current Senator Tim Kaine is elected Vice President of the US.

Below is from my list of black Members of Congress from 2014.  Most are from pretty safe districts. I've commented on some of the races and others just have links, mostly to Ballotpedia, which, since 2014, seems to have garnered all the top spots on Google for people looking up congressional elections.


 District 7 Rep. Terri Sewell is the only candidate in November.

District 13 Rep.  Barbara Lee   got 90% in the primary (in California now all parties are on one primary ballot and the top two go to the primary.)


Rep. Karen Bass in California's 37th district got 80% in the primary and will run against the Democratic runner up Chris Wiggins.

Rep. Maxine Waters in Calfornia's 43rd district got 73% of the vote in the primary against her Republican opponent.


[UPDATE Nov 9, 2016:  District-at-Large Lisa Bluint Rochester* won]


District 5  Al Lawson

[UPDATE Nov 9, 2016:  District 10 Val Demings (D)* won this seat with 65% of the vote.]

District 20 Alcee Hastings

District 24, Frederica Wilson is running unopposed.

District of Columbia

Eleanor Holmes Norton


District 2 Sanford Bishop

District 4 Hank Johnson

District 5 John Lewis

District 13 David Scott running unopposed.

All the Georgia races at one link.


District 1 Bobby Rush won the Democratic primary with 73% of the vote and over 100,000 more votes than his Republican opponent got in his primary.

District 2 Robin Kelly also got over 70% in primary.

District 7 Danny Davis is running against long shot Republican Jeffrey Leef whose unusual road to the ballot got Tribune coverage.


District 7 Andre Carson got more than twice the votes in his primary than his Republican opponent got in hers.


District 2 Cedric Richmond is running against three other Democrats and a Libertarian.  (Louisiana  will have a runoff in December if no one gets 50% or more.)


District 4 - see above discussion of Donna Edwards running (and losing) in the Democratic primary for US Senate.

District 7 Elija Cummings got 13 times as many votes in the Democratic primary than his opponent got in the Republican primary.


District 13 John Conyers

District 14 - after redistricting there were two Democratic Members of Congress in this district. African-American/Bangladeshi Hansen Clarke was pitted against white Gary Peters in 2012.  Peters won.  In 2014, Peters ran successfully for the US Senate and was replaced in the House by African-American Brenda Lawrence who defeated Clarke in the 2014 Democratic primary.


District 5 Keith Ellison -


District 1  Wm. Lacy Clay

District 5 Emanuel Cleaver II


District 2 Bernie Thompson

New Jersey

District 10 Donald Payne   It appears there were no opponents in the primaries. 5% of the district is Republican.

District 12 Bonnie Watson Coleman was the first African-American to win this district in 2014.  This district is 75% white, but leans Democratic.


District 4 Black Rep. Steven Horsford lost his 2014 reelection bid to the Republican Cresent Hardy.  The Democratic candidate this year, Ruben Kihuen was born in Mexico and faces Hardy.

New York

District 5 Gregory Meeks

District 8 Hakeem Jeffries  Appears unopposed in primary, no Republican candidates, one Conservative.

District 9 Yvette Clarke

District 13 Charles Rangel - retiring - discussed above.

North Carolina

The two black districts in North Carolina (1 and 12) were subject to gerrymandering and ordered to be redrawn.

District 1 G.K. Butterfield - 

District 12  Alma Adams (who was first elected in a special election in 2014 to replace Rep. Melvin Watts who was appointed Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.)


District 3 Joyce Beatty

District 11 Marcia Fudge


District 2  Chaka Fattah was convicted on 22 counts of corruption in July 2016 and resigned from Congress.  He had already lost in the April primary to Dwight Evans (also African-American)

South Carolina

District 6  James Clyburn


District 9  Al Green

District 18  Sheila Jackson Lee

District 23  William Hurd's (R) Democratic opponent Pete Gallego got more votes in his primary than Hurd got in the Republican primary. Gallego won this seat in 2012 but was defeated by Hurd in 2014.  This race is rated as a tossup, though the district is 55% Hispanic and  Wikipedia says:
"In the Texas House, Gallego served on the board of directors of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), and four terms as Chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC), a caucus of Texas representatives who are of Mexican-American descent or who serve a significant Mexican-American constituency."

District 30  Eddie Bernice Johnson

District 33  Marc Veasey


District 4 Mia Love (R)  The district is 84% white, 2% black, 15% Hispanic.  Love is the first Haitian American Member of Congress and the first black Republican woman in Congress.


District 3  Bobby Scott  - see note above about him hoping to be appointed to US Senate if Kaine becomes vice president.

Virgin Islands

Long-time Virgin Islands delegate to Congress Donna Christensen ran unsuccessfully for governor of the Virgin Islands in 2014.  Stacy Plaskett was elected to replace Christiansen as the Virgin Island's delegate to Congress in 2014.


District 4  Gwen Moore

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