Alabama's redrawn US House map spurs primary runoffs and ousts an incumbent on Super Tuesday

  • Canadian Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama voters shook up the state’s congressional delegation Tuesday, throwing out one Republican incumbent and sending four candidates to runoffs in a district redrawn by a federal court to give Black voters greater opportunity to elect a representative of their choice.

Republican Rep. Barry Moore won an unusual and closely fought primary in the 1st Congressional District against fellow GOP Rep. Jerry Carl. After the courts overhauled the district lines, Moore was drawn out of the 2nd Congressional District. While he could have run for his current House seat — and moved into the district if he won — Moore opted to challenge Carl in the more solidly Republican 1st District.

Runoffs will be required to decide the general election match−up in the revamped 2nd District, a race that will be closely watched in November as Democrats seek to flip a once reliably GOP congressional seat in the Deep South.

For the Democratic nomination, Shomari Figures and state Rep. Anthony Daniels will meet in an April 16 runoff. Daniels, of Huntsville, is the minority leader in the state House of Representatives. Figures served as deputy chief of staff to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. Figures and Daniels have both stressed their government experience, Figures at the federal level and Daniels in Montgomery.

On the Republican side, former state Sen. Dick Brewbaker will face attorney Caroleene Dobson to decide the party’s nomination. Republicans are keen to maintain their hold on the seat this November, with control of the U.S. House of Representatives on the line.

The 2nd District was redrawn by a federal court last fall after judges ruled the state’s previous map likely violated the Voting Rights Act.

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 new 2nd Congressional District stretches from Mobile through Montgomery to the Georgia border.

The race drew a crowded field with 11 Democrats and seven Republicans in the primaries, making it likely that a runoff would be needed to decide the nomination. A runoff is triggered when one candidate does not capture 50% of the primary vote.

Carl and Moore’s primary was also heated, with the two Republicans and their supporters trading 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, and Carl served as president of the Mobile County Commission.

“I am grateful to God, my family, the voters, my staff and the many dedicated volunteers and supporters who made tonight possible,” Moore said Tuesday night.

Moore will face Democrat Tom Holmes in November.

In addition to Figures and Daniels, Democratic candidates in the 2nd District 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.

The other five Republicans who qualified to run were state Sen. Greg Albritton of Atmore; business owner Karla M. DuPriest; real estate agent Hampton Harris; Stacey T. Shepperson of Saraland; and Newton City Council member Belinda Thomas.

Kim Chandler, The Associated Press

Photo: AP