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Potential field quickly emerging in Alabama’s Second Congressional District

After U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) on Friday announced that she will not seek reelection in 2020, a field of potential candidates is already shaping up in the southeast Alabama district.

While some former and current elected officials are among the crowd still weighing bids, two popular state legislators strongly rumored to be in the mix have already made up their minds not to run.

State Sen. Donnie Chesteen (R-Geneva) and State Rep. Wes Allen (R-Troy) confirmed to Yellowhammer News on Sunday that they will not seek Alabama’s Second Congressional District seat in the upcoming election cycle.

Chesteen explained that the state senate is where he wants to be serving right now, and Allen advised that he did not want to miss important memories back at home with two children currently in high school.

However, two of their colleagues are seriously considering a run.

State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) and freshman State Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville) are both taking a close look at the race. One key factor to consider here is that their bases, with Chambliss’ being slightly larger, mostly overlap geographically.

Dismukes would look to run as an outsider, but, somewhat ironically, one of his biggest selling points could be the seniority he could go on to accumulate in Congress, as he has not yet turned 30. He could put in a solid amount of personal money to kickstart his potential campaign, however Dismukes would still have a large way to go in name identification.

Chambliss was first elected to the Alabama Senate in 2014, having previously served on the Autauga County Commission. A civil engineer, he championed two hot-button pieces of legislation in the chamber just this past spring alone: the Rebuild Alabama Act and the Human Life Protection Act. Chambliss would also have a long way to go with name identification.

Additionally, three officeholders from the past are thinking about running: former attorney general Troy King of Montgomery and former state representatives Barry Moore of Enterprise and Perry Hooper, Jr. of Montgomery.

King, out of the potential candidates mentioned in this article, would certainly have the most name identification. However, his unfavorable numbers are also the highest by far, potentially giving him a low ceiling.

Moore, garnering 19.3% of the vote, finished third in the Second Congressional District’s 2018 GOP primary behind Roby and former U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright (R-Montgomery).

Another candidate who has prominently run against Roby in the past is also considering running.

Wetumpka Tea Party founder and current Eagle Forum of Alabama executive director Becky Gerritson is looking at a 2020 bid for the seat she ran for in 2016. She could enjoy unique grassroots support in the district’s river region.

Finally, a different sort of outsider is weighing a candidacy in Jeff Coleman of Midland City.

Coleman, a prominent Yellowhammer State CEO who has built a successful business career with moving conglomerate Coleman World Group, could invest personal money in the race, which would be needed to increase his name identification. He is a past chairman of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), current vice chairman of the Alabama Trucking Association and current Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army — a position that affords him unique experience with Fort Rucker, which is integral to the district.

Coleman is “prayerfully considering” a run. Sources familiar tell Yellowhammer News that he was previously approached to run for the U.S. Senate, a possibility Yellowhammer News wrote about in the fall of 2018.

That being said, it has only been two days since this seat surprisingly became in play. The Alabama political landscape can change in a heartbeat, just as this potential field could.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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