Newly elected Florida Republican Allen West said he wants to join the Congressional Black Caucus, and after days of silence the all-Democrat body has reached a verdict: The CBC will welcome him.
In an e-mail to The Daily Caller this morning, CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee, California Democrat, wrote that both of the recently elected African-American Republicans, West and South Carolina’s Tim Scott, will be accepted if they decide to join.
“During the 40-year history of the Congressional Black Caucus there have been three African-American Republican members of the House of Representatives. Two, Congressmen Melvin Evans of the Virgin Islands and Gary Franks of Connecticut, decided to join the Congressional Black Caucus, however, Congressman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma did not,” Lee wrote.
She continued, “Membership in the Congressional Black Caucus has never been restricted to Democrats. Should either of the two African-American Republicans recently elected to the House of Representatives request membership in the Congressional Black Caucus they will be welcomed.”
Monday, West told CNN that he would absolutely join.
“I think I’m more than qualified. I am a congressmember-to-be, and I am black, so I think that I have every right to be a member of the Congressional Black Caucus,” he said. “Unless all the sudden before I get there they decide to change the name.”
If all goes according to plan, it looks like the currently Democratic body will have at least one Republican in its ranks during the 112th Congress. Scott has not announced his intentions.
The caucus has not had a Republican since Connecticut Rep. Gary Frank’s defeat in 1996.