Two in and one out for Alabama’s new 2nd Congressional District.
Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels announced Thursday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for the newly-drawn seat, almost certainly becoming the frontrunner in the race. His announcement came just after state Rep. Juandalynn Givan announced her intentions to enter the race.
At the same time, state Sen. Kirk Hatcher, who told APR three weeks ago that he somewhat reluctantly planned to enter the race for the seat, apparently had a change of heart. According to numerous sources close to Hatcher, he no longer plans to qualify before Friday’s deadline. Numerous attempts to reach Hatcher on his cell phone throughout the day on Thursday were unsuccessful.
For Daniels, the opportunity to do more for the state was too big to pass up.
“I’m going to do it – I’m committed to it and I think I can make a truly positive impact for the state and particularly for that district,” Daniels said during an interview on the Alabama Politics This Week Podcast.
Daniels, who currently represents a district in the Huntsville area, dismissed criticisms about not living in the 2nd Congressional District. He noted that he grew up in Midway and spent the majority of his life within the district.
“I would also point out that while I represent the Huntsville area, I’ve been serving as Minority Leader for the entire state,” Daniels said. “I’ve already been working with mayors and other leaders from this district to deliver the things that the people need. I’ve had mayors from towns in this district come to me to get things done during my time as Minority Leader. I already have those relationships and I have an understanding of the challenges and issues that face this area.”
Daniels said he would be running primarily on the issue of expanding health care throughout the counties within the 2nd District. He noted the recent closing of Monroe County’s only maternity ward, which will leave residents in that county driving up to an hour to deliver a baby.
Daniels also said he wanted to continue his strong record of economic development work and focus on bringing new industry to the district, but doing so by making the area more attractive to business by providing proper workforce development, infrastructure and well performing schools.
To punctuate his pro-worker positions, Daniels made his announcement just a couple of hours after attending a signing ceremony in which his bill eliminating taxes on overtime pay was signed by Gov. Kay Ivey in front of workers at Montgomery’s Hyundai plant.
In the meantime, Givan, an attorney who represents a district in Birmingham in the Alabama House, said she wants to be a voice for the downtrodden around the state. Touting her work in the legislature, she said she would focus on bringing more services to the Black Belt area, which makes up much of the 2nd District.
“The people that deserve to have their voices heard, I will be a vessel for those whose voices cannot be heard,” Givan told the Alabama Reflector. “There is a need for new, fresh progressive leadership in Alabama.”
The inclusion of Givan and Daniels, and the apparent exit of Hatcher, leaves five candidates – Reps. Napoleon Bracy and Jeremy Gray, and Shomari Figures in addition to Givan and Daniels– seeking the Democratic nomination. Qualifying runs through Friday.