March Super Tuesday preview #2 – Alabama

Welcome to the Wednesday, February 28, Brew. 

By: Mercedes Yanora 

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. March Super Tuesday preview #2 – Alabama
  2. Join the Ballotpedia Society today 

March Super Tuesday preview #2 – Alabama

Five states are holding primaries for congressional and state offices on March 5: Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, California, and North Carolina.  

Yesterday, we previewed Texas’ statewide primary. Today, we’ll take a closer look at Alabama. Voters will decide primaries for congressional, judicial, and state executive offices next week. 

U.S. House

Thirty-six candidates are running for Alabama’s seven U.S. House districts, including 15 Democrats and 21 Republicans. That’s 5.14 candidates per district, more than in the previous three election years. There were three candidates per district in 2022, 3.57 candidates per district in 2020, and 3.28 in 2018.

All seven incumbents are running for re-election — one Democrat and six Republicans.

Here is some additional context for next week’s congressional primaries:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines that a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama approved on Oct. 5, 2023.
  • The 36 candidates running this year are a decade-high. Twenty-one candidates ran in 2022, 25 in 2020, 23 in 2018, 16 in 2016, 20 in 2014, and 23 in 2012.
  • Two incumbents — Reps. Jerry Carl (R) and Barry Moore (R) — are running against each other in the redrawn 1st Congressional District. Carl is the incumbent in the current 1st District, and Moore is the incumbent in the 2nd Congressional District. 
  • The redrawn 2nd District is the only one where no incumbent is running.
  • Nineteen candidates — 11 Democrats and eight Republicans — are running for the open 2nd District, the most candidates running in a district this year. 
  • Eight primaries — two Democratic and six Republican — are contested this year, a decade-high. Five primaries were contested in 2022 and 2020, seven were contested in 2018, four were contested in 2016 and 2014, and six were contested in 2012.
  • Rep. Dale Strong (R), the incumbent in the 5th District, is the only incumbent without a primary challenger. 
  • The 3rd, 4th, and 5th congressional districts are guaranteed to Republicans because no Democrats are running. Republicans are running in every congressional district. 

Ballotpedia is covering two of these primaries as battlegrounds:

  • Alabama’s 1st Congressional District (Republican primary): Two incumbents, Jerry Carl and Barry Moore, are running against each other. Following court-ordered redistricting, The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter shifted its Partisan Voter Index for the 1st District from a +16 Republican advantage to a +28 Republican advantage. This tied the 1st District as the sixth most Republican-leaning congressional district nationwide. 
  • Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District (Democratic primary): Eleven candidates are running, including six candidates who lead in local media attention — Napoleon Bracy Jr., Merika Coleman, Anthony Daniels, Shomari Figures, Juandalynn Givan, and Jeremy Gray. As of Feb. 20, The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball each rated the general election Likely Democratic.

Statewide courts

Five of nine seats are up for election on the Alabama Supreme Court

The court is made up of nine justices who are elected to six-year terms in partisan elections. Judicial elections take place during Alabama’s general elections, which are held every two years in even-numbered years. 

All nine justices are Republicans. Seven of the justices were elected to office, while Gov. Kay Ivey (R) initially appointed two to fill vacancies. Those two justices, William Sellers and Brad Mendheim, then won election in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

  • Seven candidates are running for the five seats, with Places 1, 2, 3, and 4 uncontested.  
  • Tom Parker, the court’s chief justice, did not run for re-election because Alabama does not allow the election or appointment of judges who reach 70 years of age. 
  • His seat, and Place 1, are the only open seats. One Democrat and two Republicans are running for the chief justice seat. 

Three of five seats are up for election on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.

  • Four candidates are running for the three seats, with Places 1 and 3 uncontested.
  • Incumbents are running for all three seats, with Chad Hanson, of Place 2, facing Stephen Davis Parker in the Republican primary.

Three of five seats are up for election on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

  • Four candidates are running for the three seats, with Places 1 and 3 uncontested.
  • Place 2 is the only open and contested seat. Rich Anderson and Thomas Govan are running in the Republican primary. 

State executive 

Two state executive offices are up for election on March 5: four positions on the Alabama State Board of Education and the president seat on Alabama’s Public Service Commission. Districts 3 and 7 on the state board of education are open. 

Here is some additional context for next week’s state executive primaries:

  • Twelve candidates are running this year, including one Democrat and 11 Republicans.
  • The most candidates — four — are running for State Board of Education District 3, all in the Republican primary.  
  • Three incumbents are running for re-election. Only one incumbent — Alabama Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh (R) — is contested in a primary.  
  • In 2020, the last time when the same two offices were on the ballot, 18 candidates ran for election. This was 33% more than the 12 candidates running this year.

Other races

In addition to the congressional, judicial, and state executive elections highlighted above, we are covering municipal elections in Jefferson County and school board elections in both Jefferson and Mobile counties.

Alabama is not holding elections for U.S. Senate or the state legislature in 2024. The state holds state legislative elections every four years, with the next elections coming in 2026.

A primary candidate in Alabama must win a majority of the vote to be declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, the top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff on April 16.

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