President Barack Obama‘s historic election shattered a racial glass ceiling for the nation’s highest office, but African-Americans are still struggling to win other major offices.
No African-American is expected to win a governor’s seat in 2012, and the U.S. Senate is likely to remain without a single black member after this November’s elections. State senator C. Anthony Muse lost in last week’s Maryland primary against incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin (D), eliminating virtually the only serious black Senate candidate for 2012.
What that means is that Massachusetts Deval Patrick is likely to remain the only African-American in the country who is a governor or a senator, two offices that are powerful, widely-coveted and traditional stepping-stones to the presidency. That would be two less than when Obama started his presidency in 2009, as then, along with Patrick, New York’s David Paterson (governor) and Illinois’ Roland Burris (senator) were still in office.
Experts say the next wave of black candidates after Obama is likely still at least a few years away from emerging, because many of would-be candidates haven’t yet reached the stage where they are ready to run for such large offices.
“We’re looking at a generation before we see some turnover in some of these senate seats,” said Mark Anthony Neal, an African-American studies professor at Duke University.