One of the most remarkable yet least reported developments stemming from Tuesday's stunning GOP landslide was the return of two African-American Republicans to Congress for the first time in over a decade.
Allen West in Florida's 22nd congressional district, and Tim Scott in South Carolina's 1st congressional district, have been declared the likely winners in their respective races.
Scott defeated eight other candidates in his GOP primary including Paul Thurmond, son of late South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond.
In the general election, Scott defeated Democrat Ben Frasier Jr. Scott becomes the first black congressman to represent South Carolina since Reconstruction.
West is the fiery Iraq war hero and retired Army lieutenant colonel who emerged as a GOP fund-raising powerhouse. His rousing speech to the South Florida Tea Party went viral, attracting over 2.3 million page views.
West defeated incumbent Rep. Ron Klein, who voted the Democratic Party line about 98 percent of the time, despite a flurry of personal attacks.
Ultimately, however, it was West who proved more skilled at hand-to-hand combat. He won back the seat formerly held by GOP Rep. Clay Shaw.
Also, in another high-profile victory for African-Americans, Jennifer Carroll won her bid to serve as lieutenant governor of Florida as part of Gov.-elect Rick Scott's gubernatorial ticket.
Black Republican leaders hailed the electoral wins as evidence of continued progress toward expanding the GOP's "big tent."
Frances Rice, the retired Army lieutenant colonel who serves as chairman of the National Black Republican Association, tells Newsmax that the victories of black Republicans on Tuesday could help usher in "a new era of black influence."
Timothy F. Johnson, the founder and chairman of The Frederick Douglass Foundation, says last night's victories for African-American candidates mean "we can say with pride that America is a diverse and unique country. Its people are not monolithic looking, thinking, or voting."
He added: "The best candidates won, and that includes the black Republicans who will take their seats in the U.S. House of Representatives January 2011."
The last time more than one black Republican served in Congress was in the 104th Congress, when Rep. Gary Franks and Rep. J.C. Watts served from 1995 to 1997.
Reflecting the spirited, grass-roots tenor of the incoming Congress, Rice tells Newsmax: "One powerful message sent by voters this election cycle is a resounding rejection of President Barack Obama’s and the Democrats’ patronizing, socialist-leftist policies that have fostered in the black community a debilitating cycle of economic dependency, poor education, crime-ridden neighborhoods, low self-esteem, and a belief that we are powerless victims who should be grateful for their paltry handouts."
Rice has previously charged that the media consistently overlooks black Republican candidates who don't "fit into the media template."
Johnson has predicted that electing more black Republicans will have far-reaching political effects, changing "the way that people view the black community, as it relates to representation in Congress.”
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