A record number of African-American candidates are running for congressional seats in 2014.
Eighty-two black nominees are campaigning this year for office in both political parties, USA Today reported on Wednesday, according to analysis by David Bositis, an expert on African-American politics. The figure exceeds the previous record of 72 candidates in 2012.
Although the individuals represent both parties, the majority — 64 —are Democrats, and 18 are Republicans. Among the candidates on the ballot for Senate seats are Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey and Joyce Dickerson of South Carolina, and Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina. Meanwhile, Mia Love of Utah could become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress.
In South Carolina, where a record seven African-Americans will run in statewide elections next month, residents could elect their first black candidate to statewide office in 142 years. Richard Howell Gleaves, who became a lieutenant governor, was the last black person to be elected in the southern state — in 1872. South Carolina is considered one of five states in the Deep South.
There are currently 44 black members of Congress. If their ranks grow as expected, the new Congress in January will include the highest numbers of African-Americans serving in U.S. history.
Following the 2012 elections, the majority of House Democrats were women and minorities, a historical first. White men continue to dominate the Republican party and Senate Democrats.