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Crowded race for new congressional district settles at 21

Thirteen Democrats and eight Republicans qualified for the seat ahead of the 2024 primary election.

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The field of candidates is set for what will be a hotly contested race for Alabama’s newly drawn Second Congressional District.

By the end of the day Friday, 21 candidates had qualified in the district that is expected to lean Democratic.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, the Democratic candidates were:

  • James Averhart, a retired U.S. Marine and former 2020 congressional candidate;
  • Rep. Napoleon Bracy, Jr., D-Prichard;
  • Sen. Merika Coleman, D- Pleasant Grove;
  • House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville;
  • Shomari Figures, a former deputy chief of staff to the U.S. attorney general and the son of Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile;
  • Brian Gary;
  • Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham;
  • Rep. Jeremy Gray, D-Opelika;
  • Phyllis Harvey-Hall, an education consultant and 2020 and 2022 congressional candidate;
  • Willie J. Lenard;
  • Vimal Patel;
  • Larry Darnell Simpson;
  • Darryl Sinkfield.

Eight Republicans qualified for the seat: 

  • Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore;
  • former Sen. Dick Brewbaker, R-Pike Road;
  • Caroleene Dobson;
  • Karla M. DuPriest;
  • Wallace Gilberry, former University of Alabama and NFL player;
  • Hampton Harris;
  • Stacey T. Shepperson;
  • Belinda Thomas, Newton City Council member.

The end of qualifying was closely watched Friday as major candidates such as Coleman finally formally announced her campaign, while Democrat State Sen. Kirk Hatcher, one of the few candidates to actually reside in the district, announced he had decided to pull out of the race.

The new district was drawn by a special master after a federal panel of judges found the Alabama Legislature had disregarded its order to draw a new map that gave Black voters an opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice.

The new district isn’t quite majority-Black—the Black Voting Age Percentage comes in just under 49 percent—but judges said that is close enough to remedy the state’s prior violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

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“It always amazes me how many ordinary citizens are willing to step up and make the incredible sacrifice to serve our wonderful state, and nation,” said ALGOP Chairman John Wahl. “Running for public office is no easy task, and I want to thank each of our candidates for stepping forward. The Alabama Republican Party is committed to standing for fiscal responsibility, fighting the woke agenda, and defending our rights and freedom. It takes an iron will to tackle all of the issues we face, and we entrust our candidates to stand strong for our conservative values.”

Primaries will be held for the seat in March.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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