Inside the Statehouse

Steve Flowers

Congressional Delegation Reelected in November


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 in Congress. 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. 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%. 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 5th District, 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 from 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 Brooks for Strong. Strong is relatively young and will probably be a long-termer.

Jerry Carl will be reelected to his 1st 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 2nd 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 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 4th 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.  Gary 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. Supreme Court. 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 7th District contains only 14% of the Black voters in the state.  Alabama’s African American population is 27%. 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.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist.  His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers.  Steve served 16 years in the state legislature.  Steve may be reached at:


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