According to an analysis by David Bositis, an expert on African American politics, a historic number of black politicians are running for federal office this year.
Currently, there are 82 black candidates in the two major parties running for Congress, compared with the record 72 candidates in 2012. Of the 82 candidates, 64 are Democrats and 18 are Republicans; all but three are running for an office in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In addition to Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Joyce Dickerson and Sen. Tim Scott, both of South Carolina, there are four black women running for office. The candidates are Democrats Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, Alma Adams of North Carolina, and Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands, as well as Republican Mia Love of Utah; Love, if elected, will become the first African American Republican woman in Congress.
While these gains are historic, Bositis notes that the growth of African Americans in politics has been prominent within the Democratic party, but mostly due to whites in the Deep South switching to the Republican party.
“I wish I could write with confidence that these increases in black major party nominees was a positive development, but the fact is that many of the increases are occurring in states (especially in the South) where most whites are withdrawing from Democratic party politics — leaving black candidates the nominations by default,” USA Today reports Bositis saying.
Currently, there are 44 black politicians in Congress, but with 82 nominees on the ballot, that number is certainly expected to hit a historic high after November elections.