Alabama House Races

Hi! I’m Vosem, and I am going to be looking at 2010 House elections, state by state. Today we begin with Alabama.

Alabama’s 1st congressional district: In 2008, Republican incumbent Jo Bonner did not even get a Democratic challenger. He was considered the strongest potential Republican gubernatorial candidate for 2010, but instead chose to seek reelection. The question here isn’t whether or not Bonner will get reelected; it’s whether or not he’ll get a challenger. This race is Safe Republican.

Alabama’s 2nd congressional district: McCain crushed Obama in this district by over 30% – meanwhile, Democratic candidate Bobby Bright defeated Republican Jay Love by less than 1%. This race is one of the NRCC’s top-tier, and for good reason: not only did Bright barely win in a good year for his party in a district safe for the opposition, but Republicans have already coalesced around a candidate: Martha Roby. Still, unlike the majority of races in the NRCC’s top-tier, Bright won not because of his opponent’s ineptitude, but because of his own aptitude. Bright may be a good candidate, but the race Leans Republican.

Alabama’s 3rd congressional district: In the final days of the ’08 campaign, an upset seemed to be brewing in Alabama, where Democratic lawyer Josh Segall was catching up to incumbent Republican Mike Rogers. Still, Rogers defeated Segall by 7%. Seeing the potential competitiveness of this district, Democrats attempted to recruit Ron Sparks, who opted to run for Governor instead. Rather than Sparks, they will run Segall again – but Segall failed to win in a year excellent for his party, and in a lean GOP climate, his task is much harder. Still, Rogers cannot be considered 100% safe. This race is Likely Republican.

Alabama’s 4th congressional district: One of the most Republican districts in the nation lived up to its status in 2008, when Republican incumbent Robert Aderholt defeated his Democratic challenger, Nicholas Sparks, by 50%. Like in the 1st, the thing to watch here is whether or not Aderholt will get a challenger. Safe Republican.

Alabama’s 5th congressional district: Although McCain won 61% of the vote here, Democratic candidate Parker Griffith won this open seat by 4%. In a list of congressmen likely to switch parties, Griffith must be #1 – he has said that he isn’t certain he’ll vote Pelosi for the speakership in 2010! He already has two Republican challengers lined up: establishment conservative politician Mo Brooks, and teabagging veteran Lester Phillip. The NRCC seems to be paying little attention to this prime pickup opportunity, but with McCain getting 61%, this race is a Tossup.

Alabama’s 6th congressional district: I am not fond of repeating myself twice – to say the same thing three times is completely dislikable – however, I am forced to. Spencer Bachus is in the same position as Robert Aderholt and Jo Bonner – in a very safe conservative Southern Republican district, where the thing to watch is if he’ll get a challenger. Safe Republican.

Alabama’s 7th congressional district: This minority-majority district is safe Democratic – the only one in Alabama to be styled thus. However, there will be drama in its borders came 2010, as Representative Artur Davis is running for Governor, leaving the seat open. I count 6 serious Democrats running in the primary. The two frontrunners are attorney Terri Sewell, who has money, and state Representative Earl Hillard, Jr., who inherited his father’s name recognition (his father, Earl Hilliard, was this district’s congressman in the 90s). Hilliard seems to be a bit ahead of Sewell at the moment.

So, after the election of 2010, Alabama’s congressional delegation should look like this (tossups are counted as .5 of a seat for both sides): 5.5 Republicans and 1.5 Democrats.

Next up: Alaska!

51 thoughts on “Alabama House Races”

  1. except for 3 and 5, I would put 3 as safe Repub, and 5 as leans Repub.

    I doubt that even Ron Sparks would have beat Rogers this year.  He might have beaten Rogers in 2008.

  2. Bright and Griffith will cruise.  Presidential years are bad in the south b/c repubs turn themselves out.  Alabamians will be splitting their tickets b/c the vast majority of local electeds are dems.  You won’t see nearly as much straight ticket repubs.  A Bright challenger has got to show why she can provide something to the district that Bright can’t, ie leadership, and the message isn’t there.  

    Griffith doesn’t have an opponent to speak of and the district cares about one thing, government support for Huntsville industry.  Griffith will be fine.  

    All the analysis by Vosem assumes this is a bad year for dems in Alabama bc it’s bad nationally.  But health care won’t be the prime subject, the economy will.  That bodes well in Alabama 3 where there’s a lot of manufacturing loss and where Rogers voted for the bailout (which is UNpopular: check out…  Moreover, Segall was outspent 2-1 and didn’t run ads in 1/3 of the district.  He ran no positive ads, no radio, no mail, and no cable tv.  If the district gets to know him and he has a strong positive message, he can win.  

    All over the country, both parties are unpalatable to voters.  The winners are the people who will revert to concrete proposals for economic development that really get people on board.  Segall’s good at that.  

  3. I’m just curious, where are you coming up with these rankings? I mean, how much are you studying each district before ranking them? What factors are you figuring in?

    The reason I ask is because in AL-02, Bright’s got a unique coalition that many fail to mention. Sure, he’s got his Montgomery base but he’s also got a base in the Wiregrass portion of the district, where he was born. Love, Bright’s opponent in 2008, had no ties to the Wiregrass region, his base being only in Montgomery. The same holds true in 2010 for Roby.

    Although it’d be unfair for me to leave out that Smith’s endorsement of Bright, along with a couple of neighboring GOP Mayors, helped as well in 2008.

    This is a seat that has a long Republican history, so that should be a factor too. Bright angering the liberal blogosphere and our party’s version of the teabaggers will likely to do him more good in the district. Whatever the case, I think people are highly underestimating Bright. At worst I’d rank it a “Toss-Up”.

    Finally, one could argue that in a state like Alabama, Obama hurt candidates like Bright more than he helped them.

    As far as Griffith is concerned, the idea of voting against the party’s choice for Speaker is nothing new. Gene Taylor did it a few times when the Democrats were in the minority. Anyway, the district has a long Democratic history, and it’s a typical Southern Democratic seat, socially conservative yet fiscally populist. The TVA, NASA, and other government programs and entities are important here. At worst it’s “Leans Democratic”.

  4. no good information on any of these races especially AL-07

    How could you call Terri who the frontrunner? She’s not even breaking double digits in the polls that have been released.  

  5. From probably the most objective wingnut blogger, Scott Elliot – http://www.electionprojection….

    He has Bright barely losing, and Griffith barely holding on.

    It’s interesting to realize that Elliot has a higher opinion of D chances in Alabama House elections than many of us do here.  

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