April 24th, 2024

Democratic race for Alabama’s redrawn US House district heads to runoff between Figures and Daniels

By The Associated Press on March 5, 2024.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – The top two finishers in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for Alabama’s redrawn 2nd Congressional District were Shomari Figures and Anthony Daniels, who will advance to a runoff after no candidate in the crowded field captured more than 50% of the primary vote.

Daniels is the minority leader in the Alabama House of Representatives. Figures served as deputy chief of staff to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. They will meet again in an April 16 runoff, and the winner will face the Republican nominee in November.

Democrats see an opportunity to flip the Deep South congressional seat in November. Republicans aim to keep hold of the seat, as control of the U.S. House of Representatives is on the line. A total of 18 candidates – 11 Democrats and seven Republicans – were running in the new district.

The revamped 2nd Congressional District, which stretches from Mobile through Montgomery to the Georgia border, is being viewed as a once-in-a generation opportunity for Democrats in a state where Republicans dominate.

The contest is one of two heated congressional primaries in the state on Super Tuesday.

Alabama’s shifting district lines led to an unusual Republican primary that pitted two sitting congressmen against each other in the 1st Congressional District. U.S. Rep. Barry Moore won the Republican nomination on Tuesday after upsetting incumbent Rep. Jerry Carl.

A federal court in November drew new congressional lines after ruling Alabama had illegally diluted the voting strength of Black residents. The three-judge panel said Alabama, which is 27% Black, should have a second district where Black voters make up a substantial portion of the voting age population and have a reasonable opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice.

The large number of people competing in the 2nd Congressional District made it likely that the race will go to a runoff.

In addition to Figures and Daniels, candidates included state Rep. Napoleon Bracy, Jr. of Prichard; state Sen. Merika Coleman of Pleasant Grove; state Rep. Juandalynn Givan of Birmingham and state Rep. Jeremy Gray of Opelika.

Also running were former U.S. Marine James Averhart, education consultant Phyllis Harvey-Hall, retired businessman Willie J. Lenard, businessman Vimal Patel and Larry Darnell Simpson.

On the Republican side, former state Sen. Dick Brewbaker of Pike Road has advanced to a primary runoff Tuesday but it was still too soon to call the other spot.

Brewbacker was one of eight Republicans who qualified to run. His opponents were: state Sen. Greg Albritton of Atmore; attorney Caroleene Dobson; business owner Karla M. DuPriest; real estate agent Hampton Harris; Stacey T. Shepperson of Saraland; and Newton City Council member Belinda Thomas.

In the 1st District’s bitter GOP primary battle, Moore, Carl and their supporters have traded accusations over voting records, late tax payments and loyalty to former President Donald Trump.

Both are in their second terms in Congress after being elected in 2020 to their respective districts. Moore is a former member of the Alabama Legislature. Carl served as president of the Mobile County Commission.

Moore will face Democrat Tom Holmes in November.

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