African-American Women in Congress NPR Political Editor Ken Rudin answers your questions. This week: African-American women in Congress, and a look at Democratic contenders for the White House in 2008.
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African-American Women in Congress

Shirley Chisholm was the first. hide caption

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The senior Daley served as mayor of Chicago longer than anyone else. hide caption

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Lester Maddox was elected governor by the Georgia state legislature, not the voters. hide caption

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Q: Shirley Chisholm, who died last week, was the first African-American woman elected to Congress. How many have there been since? — Marcia Ross, Baltimore, Md.

A: There have been 22: Twenty-one in the House, and one in the Senate (Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, who won her seat in 1992 and served one term). Below is a chronological list of every black woman elected to the House, with the year of her election, how she got to Washington and, when applicable, why she left. The list does not include non-voting delegates elected to the House.

1968: Shirley Chisholm (D-NY). Won in newly created district. Retired in 1982.

1972: Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (D-CA). Won in newly created district. Gave up seat in 1978 in an unsuccessful bid for state attorney general.

Barbara Jordan (D-TX). Won in newly created district. Retired in 1978.

1973: Cardiss Collins (D-IL). Won special election to succeed her late husband, Rep. George Collins (D). Retired in 1996.

1982: Katie Hall (D-IN). Won special election following death of Rep. Adam Benjamin (D). Lost bid for renomination in the 1984 Democratic primary to Peter Visclosky, who won the seat and who still serves.

1990: Barbara-Rose Collins (D-MI). Won open seat being vacated by Rep. George Crockett. Lost bid for renomination in the 1996 Democratic primary to Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, also an African American, who won the seat and who still serves.

Maxine Waters (D-CA). Won open seat vacated by Rep. Gus Hawkins (D). Still serves.

1992: Corrine Brown (D-FL). Won in newly created district. Still serves.

Eva Clayton (D-NC). Won special election following the death of Rep. Walter Jones (D) in redrawn district. Retired in 2002.

Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). Won in newly created district. Still serves.

Cynthia McKinney (D-GA). Won in newly created district. Lost bid for renomination in the 2002 Democratic primary to Denise Majette, another African American, who won the seat. When Majette ran for the Senate in 2004, McKinney won back her old seat.

Carrie Meek (D-FL). Won in newly created district. Retired in 2002.

1994: Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). Unseated Rep. Craig Washington (D), another African American, in Democratic primary. Still serves.

1996: Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA). Won special election in March 1996 following resignation of Rep. Walter Tucker (D). Still serves.

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI). Unseated Rep. Barbara-Rose Collins (D), another African American, in Democratic primary. Still serves.

Julia Carson (D-IN). Won open seat vacated by Rep. Andy Jacobs (D). Still serves.

1998: Barbara Lee (D-CA). Won special election in April 1998 following resignation of Rep. Ron Dellums (D). Still serves.

Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH). Won open seat vacated by Rep. Louis Stokes (D). Still serves.

2001: Diane Watson (D-CA). Won special election in June 2001 following death of Rep. Julian Dixon (D). Still serves.

2002: Denise Majette (D-GA). Unseated Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D), another African American, in Democratic primary. Vacated seat in 2004 to run for the Senate.

2004: Gwen Moore (D-WI). Won open seat vacated by Rep. Gerald Kleczka (D).

Q: In your Nov. 19 column, you listed some Republicans you thought may run for president in 2008. What about the Democrats? — David Rizzo, Danville, Ill.

A: Some of the names are obvious. John Edwards, the now-former senator from North Carolina, has had the bug from the moment he was first elected to public office in 1998 (and probably before). I'm not sure if he had an impact as John Kerry's running mate last year, but I'm certain he's looking at another run in '08. Some say you shouldn't rule out Kerry either, though I can't imagine there would be any groundswell for another attempt. Other wannabes from 2004, such as Howard Dean and Wesley Clark, are on the list as well. Dean seems on the cusp of announcing a bid for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but there are those who argue he would be more attractive a candidate if he stayed out of the fray. (For the record, the last DNC chair to eye a presidential candidacy was Sen. Fred Harris of Oklahoma, who headed the party in 1969-70.)

Joe Biden, the Delaware senator who made an abortive bid for the nomination in 1987, seems ready to run again. Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh's name invariably appears on lists of possible candidates. And there is also the question about what Hillary Clinton wants to do, which I don't think anyone knows with any certainty. I don't buy the argument that she can't win, but truth be told, most of the people who have said to me they would love for her to run are Republicans.

The conventional wisdom this time says the party must look outside of Washington for its next nominee, and thus the Dem crop of governors may be the best pool of talent. Certainly on that list is Virginia's Mark Warner, who is wealthy, ambitious and soon to be out of a job. If he opts out of a Senate run against Republican incumbent George Allen in 2006, I'd say Warner is looking at a WH bid. Other governors should include Tennessee's Phil Bredesen and Tom Vilsack in Iowa. Vilsack was thought to be on Kerry's short list for VP the last go-around, and he clearly liked the attention. Both Bredesen and Vilsack are up for re-election next year.

Q: As George W. Bush is sworn in for a second term on Jan. 20, in which states will one party have a complete monopoly over these levers of power: U.S. Senate seats, governors, state attorneys general and state legislative chambers? — Nicholas Ohh, London, England, United Kingdom

A: Republicans will control all these posts in six states: Alaska, Idaho, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. Democrats will do likewise in just three states: Illinois, New Jersey and West Virginia. In New Jersey, however, the position of attorney general is appointed, not elected.

Q: Which Richard Daley served as mayor of Chicago longer, the father or the son? — Tom Adams, Fort Mill, S.C.

A: Richard J. Daley, the father. First elected in 1955, he served from April 20 of that year until his death on Dec. 20, 1976 — a period of 21 years, longer than anyone else in Chicago history. Richard M. Daley, the son, was first elected in 1989 and still serves. He would break the record if still in office at the end of 2010.

Leavitt or Leave It: My Dec. 8 column that listed the governors who left their states to find employment courtesy of the Bush administration somehow omitted Utah's Michael Leavitt; he replaced Christie Whitman at EPA and is now slated to take over Health and Human Services. Thanks to Randall Bohn of Orem, Utah, Brooke Harper of Chicago, Ill., and Marci Bishop for the catch.

In the same column, I also wrote that before 2001, the last governor on this list was South Dakota Democrat Richard Kneip in 1978. Sally Smith of Ashburn, Va., reminds me that Bill Weld left Massachusetts in August of 1997 to accept President Clinton's offer to become ambassador to Mexico — a job that ultimately vanished, as Weld's nomination was blocked in the Senate by then-Foreign Relations chair Jesse Helms. And Weld's successor, Paul Cellucci, also gave up his governorship to become Bush's ambassador to Canada in April of 2001.

Finally, there was a big response to my last column, which celebrated those in politics who passed away in 2004. In the week or so between that column and the end of year, two others died who deserve mention here. One was John Deardourff, the longtime Republican consultant who was instrumental in helping President Ford become competitive in his close-but-no-cigar race against Jimmy Carter in 1976. Professionally, I found Deardourff to be a really good guy, always available for a question or a quote, more often than not willing to appear in an NPR piece I was working on. He died on Dec. 24 at the age of 61.

The other was Jane Muskie. She never ran for office, but she played a key role in the campaigns of her husband, Ed Muskie, who served as Maine's governor and then senator, and who also was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 1968 and a contender for the 1972 presidential nomination. It was in that latter campaign where Jane Muskie became a household name. During the '72 New Hampshire primary, a choked up Ed Muskie stood outside the Manchester Union Leader in the snow to denounce the newspaper's publisher, conservative William Loeb, for repeating gossip about his wife in the paper. To this day, the debate goes on whether Muskie cried during his emotional attack on Loeb; either way, the incident was thought to have damaged his candidacy. Muskie won New Hampshire, but not nearly by the margin the pundits expected, and Sen. George McGovern (D-SD), the second-place finisher, went on to win the nomination. Jane Muskie died on Christmas Day at the age of 77.

This Day in Political History: Lester Maddox, a segregationist restaurant owner in Atlanta, is sworn in as governor of Georgia. The Georgia state legislature elected Maddox, even though he received fewer votes in the November election. But the popular vote leader, Republican Rep. Howard Callaway, failed to get a majority, and thus the arbiter of the election was the legislature, which was overwhelmingly Democratic (Jan. 10, 1967).