Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Who Remembered MLK? (US House Edition)

Bookmark and Share

Democratic U.S. Representatives honored Dr. King via press releases at more than three times the rate of Republicans over the holiday weekend

mlk10.jpgWhile many news outlets featured front-page stories about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King in recent days, only a small fraction of the 433 U.S. Representatives issued formal press releases honoring the civil rights leader over the nearly one-week stretch from his birthday (January 15th) through the federal holiday that bears his name (January 20th).

That said, even though a majority of members of the lower legislative chamber did not make such public statements, there was a definite partisan tilt among those who did - and not simply along racial lines.

A Smart Politics review of press releases by U.S. Representatives on their official government websites finds that Democrats issued statements about Martin Luther King at more than three times the rate (21.2 percent) of Republicans (5.9 percent) with non-black Democrats doing so at nearly three times the rate (17.2 percent).

Overall, 48 of the 433 U.S. Representatives currently serving in the legislative body issued an official press release acknowledging, honoring, or otherwise mentioning Dr. King over the last week, or 11.1 percent.

(Note: Tweets or other more informal mentions about MLK on various social media were not compiled for this report).

A total of 35 of 200 Democrats issued press releases about Dr. King, or 21.2 percent, compared to just 13 of 233 Republicans, or 5.9 percent.

U.S. Representative MLK Press Releases by Party

Party
Yes
No
% Yes
Democrat
35
165
21.2
Republican
13
220
5.9
Total
48
433
11.1
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

While each of the 43 African-Americans currently serving as U.S. Representatives - those one would expect to be most likely to pause and commemorate the day - are all members of the Democratic Party, that fact does not explain the entire partisan variation regarding the frequency of public statements made about Dr. King between the GOP and the Democrats.

Black members of the chamber issued press releases honoring Dr. King at only a slightly higher rate than the Democratic Party overall with 12 of these 43 representatives issuing press releases over the past week (27.9 percent).

Even after removing black U.S. Representatives from the analysis, non-black Democrats still issued statements about Martin Luther King at nearly three times the rate of Republicans, with 23 of 134 doing so over the weekend, or 17.2 percent.

Notable Republicans who did issue statements include House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA-07), freshman firebrand and U.S. Senate candidate Tom Cotton (AR-04), and the caucus' latest member, Bradley Byrne (AL-01) who won a special election last month.

Others GOPers publishing press releases are Mike Rogers (AL-03), Tim Griffin (AR-02), Mike Coffman (CO-06), Tom Price (GA-06), Marlin Stutzman (IN-03), Candice Miller (MI-10), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), Steve Pearce (NM-02), Glenn Thompson (PA-05), and Scott Rigell (VA-02).

Miller was the only Republican woman of the 19 in the chamber who issued a statement about MLK over this past week.

African-American U.S. Representatives publishing a statement about Dr. King include Terri Sewell (AL-07), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), civil rights leader John Lewis (GA-05), André Carson (IN-07), Donna Edwards (MD-04), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Charlie Rangel (NY-13), Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Chaka Fattah (PA-02), and Marc Veasey (TX-33).

Democrats not only honored Dr. King at a much higher rate than Republicans, but their statements also tended to be much longer than those issued by the GOP.

The average Democratic press release on MLK was nearly twice as long, averaging 201 words, as those written by Republicans, averaging just 104 words.

The longest statements were written by Democrats Joyce Beatty (OH-03) at 427 words, Barbara Lee (CA-13) at 414 words, Janice Hahn (CA-44) at 362 words, and John Dingell (MI-12) at 358 words, who was in office when Dr. King came to national prominence for his civil rights leadership.

Mike Coffman (CO-06) issued the longest statement on the GOP side at 196 words.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: How Often Do Special Elections Flip US Senate Seats?
Next post: David Vitter Launches Historic Gubernatorial Bid in Louisiana

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

Mary Burke: English First?

While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting