Last night, Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI) became the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus this primary season to lose a primary this year. Clarke lost to Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) in a member vs. member race in Michigan’s Democratic primary for the 14th district. Clarke is also the first freshman House member to lose a primary this year.
When the 113th Congress meets next year, it will be the first time in 47 years that only one African American has been in the Michigan congressional delegation. Two African Americans have represented parts of Detroit since 1965. Rep. Charles Diggs (D-MI) represented Detroit from 1955 to 1980. He was joined by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) in 1965. Conyers will likely begin his 25th term in the House in 2013 after winning his primary last night.
Reps. George Crockett, Barbara Rose-Collins and Carolyn Kilpatrick have represented parts of Detroit along with Diggs, Conyers and Clarke for close to 50 years. Kilpatrick was defeated in a primary by Hansen Clarke in 2010.
Though there will be one fewer African American member in the Michigan delegation, the 43 member Congressional Black Caucus has had a string of primary victories this year. Most have been by large margins of victory. Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), Mel Watt (D-NC), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Greg Meeks (D-NY) and Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) have all won primaries.