The offices of shadow U.S. Representative and shadow U.S. Senator are elective offices in the District of Columbia. While the holders of these offices are not seated in either house of the United States Congress, they promote the District's efforts to gain full voting rights. Historically, shadow congressmen were elected by organized incorporated territories prior to their admission to the Union. The name was based on the traditional practice of the Official Opposition appointing shadow cabinets in parliamentary systems.
The first shadow senators, William Blount and William Cocke of the Southwest Territory, were elected in March 1796, before being seated as senators representing the newly formed state of Tennessee. Michigan, California, Minnesota, Oregon, and Alaska likewise elected shadow senators before statehood. The Alaska Territory also elected the first shadow U.S. Representative, Ralph Julian Rivers, in 1956. All were eventually seated in Congress as voting members, except for Alaska Shadow Sen. William A. Egan, who instead became governor. The election of shadow congresspersons from the District of Columbia is authorized by a "state" constitution, which was ratified by D.C. voters in 1982 but was never approved by Congress.
Current District of Columbia officeholders
The voters of the District of Columbia elect two shadow U.S. Senators who are known as U.S. Senators by the District of Columbia, but who are not officially sworn or seated by the U.S. Senate. Shadow senators were first elected in 1990.
List of District of Columbia Senators (Seat 1)
List of District of Columbia Senators (Seat 2)
The voters of the District of Columbia elect one Shadow Representative who is recognized as equivalent to U.S. Representatives by the District of Columbia, but is not recognized by the U.S. government as an actual member of the House of Representatives. A shadow representative was first elected in 1990. The current shadow representative is Nate Bennett-Fleming.
List of District of Columbia Shadow U.S. Representatives
- Charles Moreland (D), 1991–1995
- John Capozzi, Jr. (D), 1995–1997
- Sabrina Sojourner (D), 1997–1999
- Tom Bryant, Jr. (D), 1999–2001
- Ray Browne (D), 2001–2007
- Mike Panetta (D), 2007–2013
- Nate Bennett-Fleming (D), 2013–present
- Strauss, Paul. "A Brief History of the Shadow Senators of the United States". The Honorable Paul Strauss – United States Senator for the District of Columbia. Archived from the original on February 11, 2003.
- Sheridan, Mary Beth (2008-05-29). "D.C. Seeks to Fund Lobbying Effort for a Voting House Member". The Washington Post. p. B01. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- Election profiles Michael D. Brown (D), The Washington Post, 2006, retrieved, September 30, 2012.
- Sullivan, Patricia (February 18, 2010). "Ray Browne, fought for D.C. voting rights, dies at 71". The Washington Post.