No African-American senators likely in near future

By | April 4, 2012

Few might realize it, but Tuesday’s primary elections might have quietly sealed the racial and ethnic makeup of the U.S. Senate for a couple of more years.

On Tuesday, C. Anthony Muse, thought to be the strongest black candidate for U.S. Senate this year, lost his Democratic primary race in Maryland, coming in a distant second to Sen. Ben Cardin, the incumbent. CNN found only one other African-American on a Senate ballot, a Florida candidate who isn’t getting much attention among a wide field of contenders.

Out of 100 U.S. senators, two are Latino, two are of Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry, but none are African-American. Tuesday’s primary losses mean a Senate body with relatively little racial or ethnic diversity will likely continue to have no black members for two more years.

“When I tell this to people, most of them are shocked and don’t understand how in America that could be the case,” said Muse, a Maryland state senator and preacher.

There have been 1,931 members of the Senate, the chamber historian’s office said. Six African-Americans have served in the U.S. Senate, Muse said, and that includes Roland Burris of Illinois, who was appointed to President Barack Obama’s former seat and served less than a full term. (CNN)

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