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Steve Flowers: New Second Congressional District is race to watch

The most interesting race to watch this year in Alabama will be for the newly drawn Second Congressional District.

The new seat was drawn by the federal courts to create a second majority minority district in Alabama. Currently, we have six Republicans and one Democrat representing Alabama in Washington. If a Democrat wins the seat, we will have five Republicans and two Democrats on the Potomac in 2025. The new seat includes all of Montgomery and extends through the Black Belt and gathers most of the black voters in Mobile.

The race to fill the new open second congressional district is very crowded. When the federal courts drew the new lines, they strived to make sure that the new district would favor a Democrat. The proof in the pudding was an index attached to the plan presented by the Special Master selected by the Court, which revealed that, in 16 of the last 17 general elections. a Democrat would have won this seat had it been on the ballot.

It is a monster of a field seeking the seat. The Montgomery and Mobile television stations will make some money on this race, both preceding the March 5 primary and after the primary because there will be a runoff in both Republican and Democratic primaries six weeks later. There will be a boatload of money spent by both national parties, shipped into Alabama for the November general election. 

This will be one of the most pivotal, marginal swing seats in the nation.

The Democratic field includes State House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, who lives in and represents a district in Huntsville. Although Anthony has deep ties to the district, he was born and raised in Bullock County where he graduated high school and was a basketball star, and he has extensive family in Troy. His uncle is a recently retired city administrator and his grandmother, Mrs. Eva Daniels, was a revered leader in the Bethel Baptist Church in Troy.

State Rep. Napoleon Bracy, who actually lives in the district and has represented Prichard in the State House, for a decade will be formidable.  

Shomari Figures, the son of legendary state Sen. Vivian Figures, has ties to the district having been born and raised there. However, he currently resides in Washington where he has been Deputy Chief of Staff to the U.S. Attorney General.

Two Jefferson County legislators, Sen. Merika Coleman of Pleasant Grove/Bessemer and Rep. Juandalyn Givan of Birmingham, have joined the fray in the Mobile/Montgomery seat, as well as Opelika State Rep. Jeremy Gray, who is also from outside the district but at least close to it.

Federal law does not require a candidate be a resident of the congressional district to be elected to it. In fact, the early favorite to win this crowded Democratic race is probably Anthony Daniels of Huntsville. If indeed he does ultimately win, it will be the first time in my lifetime that I have ever seen someone elected to a congressional district they did not live in and actually represented a legislative district in a distant part of the state.

There are eight Republican candidates in the race for the new district. The Republican favorite will be former Montgomery State Rep. and Sen. Dick Brewbaker.  His family has owned a car dealership in Montgomery for three generations. His four terms in the legislature, along with the Brewbaker Motors advertising in the Montgomery media market over the last 30 years, give him immense name identification in Montgomery and the surrounding counties.

Brewbaker’s biggest Republican challenge may come from veteran South Alabama State Sen. Greg Albritton, who is from Conecuh/Escambia counties. He will be able to raise sufficient funds because he is Chairman of the State Senate Budget Committee. He also has some name identification in the Mobile area of the new district.

The third major Republican to watch in this race could well be young Montgomery attorney Caroleene Dobson. She hails from Monroe County in the southern part of the new second district. Her family has deep roots in that area and are prominent cattle farmers. By garnering the coveted Alfa endorsement, she has become a player in the race.

A Republican can win this seat, especially one from Montgomery/Pike Road. This one will be fun and interesting to watch.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers’ weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state Legislature and may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

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