Our Alabama Congressional delegation will all be reelected next month, as usual. We are no different than any other state when it comes to the incumbency advantage of being a congressperson. When someone is elected to the U.S. Congress, they are usually there for life unless they run for higher office. They probably would not be defeated unless they killed someone and that probably would not be enough. It would probably depend on who they killed. The Congress is so divided and acrimonious along party lines that if they killed another member of Congress from a different party it would probably help them and enshrine them in their seat for life. The reelection rate for members of the U.S. Congress is over 93 percent. That is similar to the Communist Russian Politburo. Our Congress is more akin to the British parliament where they quasi own their seat.
Our delegation will have one new member. Dale Strong will take the Republican seat of Mo Brooks in the fifth district, the Huntsville-Tennessee Valley area. He started early and stayed late. He began the campaign as the favorite and remained the frontrunner throughout the two year campaign to capture the open seat. Strong has been a popular chairman of the Madison County Commission. He is a native Huntsvillian and was even educated grade school through college in the Madison County area. He was backed, strongly, by the Huntsville/Madison business community. They realize the importance of having a pragmatic, pro-business, conservative who will be a GOP team player in Washington. It is imperative for the Redstone Arsenal to have a workhorse in that seat. They will miss Richard Shelby, who has done all of the heavy lifting for the federal growth. They are glad and fortunate to swap Mo Brooks for Strong. Strong is relatively young and will probably be a long-termer.
Jerry Carl will be reelected to his first district Mobile/Baldwin GOP seat next month. He has taken to Congress like a duck to water. He also has long-term workhorse written all over him.
Barry Moore will be reelected to his second term as the congressman from the second district, which encompasses the Wiregrass and east Montgomery. It is a very Republican district.
Mike Rogers of
Anniston will be reelected to his 11th term in November. He is gaining seniority and power. If the GOP takes over control of the U.S. House as is expected next month, he is in line to possibly be chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Robert Aderholt of the fourth district is the dean of the delegation, thus under the entrenched seniority system he is our most powerful Congressman. Aderholt got to Congress at a very early age. He will be reelected to his 14th two-year term. He serves on the important and prestigious appropriations committee.
Gary Palmer will begin his fourth term representing the Jefferson/Hoover/Shelby GOP district. Palmer is a policy and issues guy. The GOP leadership recognized this early, and he has advanced as a policy leader in the House.
The lone Democrat in our delegation is Congresswoman Terri Sewell of Birmingham. She will be reelected to her seventh term in the U.S. House in a few weeks. She has emerged as a leader within the Democratic House caucus. She is very well respected in Washington. She is a native of Selma and holds Ivy League undergraduate, and law degrees. Hopefully, for Alabama, she is a long-timer. She has a large, sprawling district that covers most of Birmingham, Montgomery and all of the Black Belt, including her hometown of Selma.
Sewell, being the only African American Democrat in our seven member Congressional district, is the subject of a case pending in the U.S.
Democratic leaders contend that Alabama could and should have two majority minority districts in the state rather than one. The argument is that Sewell’s seventh district contains only 14 percent of the black voters in the state. Alabama’s African American population is 27 percent. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, then our delegation may go from six Republicans and one Democrat to five Republicans and two Democrats.
The two prominent, powerful, young African American mayors of Birmingham and Montgomery, Randall Woodfin and Steven Reed, would both be eyeing the new Democratic Congressional seat.
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. Flowers served 16 years in the state legislature and may be reached at steveflowers.us.
See complete story in the Journal Record.