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Congressional Incumbents Appear In Good Shape As Elections Wind Down

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

In the election of 2010, incumbents Parker Griffith (R from Huntsville) was easily defeated by Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks in the Republican Primary. Griffith has been elected as a Democrat with President Barack H. Obama in 2008, but that relationship rapidly soured and he switched political parties amidst much fanfare by the National GOP.

Republicans in the Fifth Congressional District of Alabama never bought into Griffith’s sudden conversion to conservatism and jettisoned the Huntsville oncologist for the candidate with the stronger conservative credentials: Commissioner Brooks.

In the Second Congressional District that same year, Montgomery City Council woman Martha Roby (R) narrowly defeated conservative Democrat Bobby Bright in the November General Election that same year (2010).

2014 has not been 2010. None of the Congressional incumbents faced credible challengers in their primaries, and according to every pundit we are aware of the incumbents should win easily on Tuesday, November 4th.

Congressman Robert Aderholt (R from Haleyville) does not even have to go through the charade of dispatching another outclassed Democratic Party opponent because none qualified to run in Alabama’s Fourth Congressional District.

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R) will be on the ballot on Tuesday; but he has no challenger there. National Democrats did not want to waste resources in a race that everyone considered a hopeless quest from the very beginning.

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Similarly Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D from Selma) faces no Republican challenger in the majority minority Seventh Congressional District of Alabama.

In the Fifth Congressional District of Alabama, Congressman Mo Brooks faces no Democrat on the ballot. The struggling Alabama Democratic Party abandoned any hope of fielding a credible challenger in the increasingly conservative Fifth District. Rep. Brooks does however face a challenger in independent Mark Bray.

Congressman Mo Brooks has raised $532,737 this campaign cycle and has $798,626 in cash on hand according to his pre-general election Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing to spend in the closing days of the campaign against Bray.

Without any party support, Mark Bray was only able to raise $24,465 for his campaign and his total cash on hand is just $7,226.

Congresswoman Martha Roby is seeking a third term in the United States House of Representatives representing Alabama’s Second Congressional District.

Her opponent is Erick Wright (D).

Congresswoman Roby has raised $1,047,288 this cycle and has $511,504 remaining in cash on hand.

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Despite running as a Democrat in a district that Democrats held just four years ago, Erick Wright has only been able to raise $3,676 in contributions and is reporting just $441 left in cash on hand. Wright has had to dip heavily in to his own finances to fund much of his campaign. We could not find Wright’s pre-general election report on the FEC website so his totals are from his October 1 report.

In the Third Congressional District, incumbent Congressman Mike Rogers (R from Saks) also appears to be secure. Rogers has raised $974,324.99 and has $456,360 left to spend in the final stretch of his campaign.

Democratic Party challenger Jesse T Smith reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that he had only $4,100 in reported contributions and just $1,300 in cash on hand.

In Alabama’s First Congressional District, incumbent Congressman Bradley Byrne (R from Montrose) has had less than a year since his special election to raise money for this campaign; but he still reports in with a respectable $487,953 in contributions. Rep. Byrne faces the last days of the race with $238,831 in cash on hand.

The Alabama Democratic Party candidate is Burton LeFlore, whom Byrne defeated in the special election last December 71:29 percent of the vote. LeFlore has only reported contributions of $1270 this time around and has just $2,592 in cash on hand to spend on this race.

In the Sixth Congressional District, incumbent Spencer Bachus is retiring. In his bid to replace Bachus, Republican Gary Palmer has raised $ 1,639,614. Most of that however was spent in the Republican Primary and Runoff elections. Palmer reports just $225,620 in cash on hand.

His Democratic opponent, Mark Lester, reports raising $112,235 in contributions. Lester reported $23,560 in cash on hand in October.

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According to the Center for Responsive Politics, almost $4 billion will be spent before this Congressional midterm is over. If that estimate is correct, that would make it the most expensive midterm ever by nearly $400,000. Spending is up from $3.6 billion in 2010 and $2.8 billion in 2006. Of the $4 billion spent this cycle, about $2.7 billion is projected will be spent by candidates and parties. Outside groups spending is estimated to be close to $900 million.

Voters will go to the polls on November 4 to decide who will represent them in the U.S. Congress for the next two years.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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