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Black Republicans elected in historic numbers

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At least five black Republican lawmakers will serve concurrently in Congress next year, a number the Republican Party has not seen since the early 1870s.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Rep. Burgess Owens of Utah, Byron Donalds of Florida, Reps. John James of Michigan and Wesley Hunt of Texas will serve together in the 118th Congress.

“A story featuring 5 dynamic black men elected by Republicans to serve together in the 118th Congress!” Paris Dennard, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, tweeted on Wednesday night after Mr James was elected: “Congratulations to each and every one of you!”

Although small compared to black Democrats who had 55 black members from congressional districts and two delegates from the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands in the 117th Congress, it is still a watermark. which could potentially increase in the near future.

The first five black members of Congress, all Republicans, were sworn in to the 42nd Congress in 1871. By 1873, their number had increased to seven. This remained the case until the beginning of the 45th Congress in 1877, when the number of black Republicans was reduced to three. legislators.

This number continued to decline after the end of Reconstruction in the South. Between 1901 and 1929, not a single black member of the Republican Party served in Congress.

After Representative Oscar Stanton DePriest of Illinois left office in 1935, there were no black Republicans in Congress until Representative Gary Franks of Connecticut was sworn in in 1991.

The number of black Democrats in Congress has grown steadily every decade since 1935, beginning with Representative Arthur Mitchell of Illinois.

Back in March, the National Republican Congressional Committee counted 81 black candidates running as Republicans in 72 congressional districts this year, compared to 27 in the 2020 election cycle.

The NRCC called the number “a record in the modern era” for the party.

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