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New SPLC memo warns 2nd Congressional win is not a foregone conclusion for Dems

A new memo released Monday provides data that suggests a Democratic candidate should not be the presumptive representative for the redrawn 2nd Congressional District.

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A new memo released Monday provides data that suggests a Democratic candidate should not be the presumptive representative for the redrawn 2nd Congressional District.

In October the 2nd district was redrawn to encompass a higher percentage of Black voters and give Alabama a second majority Black district. Many candidates have since filed to run for the congressional district seat with the Democratic candidates being seen as the favorites.

Because Black voters primarily tend to vote for the Democratic Party the belief has widely been that a Black Democratic candidate is poised to win the congressional race for District 2. However, according to new data analyzed by Blue Lab Analytics and the SPLC Action Fund, there are several concerns suggesting a Democratic candidate winning is not a foregone conclusion. 

The issues highlighted include low voter registration particularly among young Black and other people of color and how engaged voters are to turnout for the elections.  

There are over half a million voting age citizens in the district with 450,000 individuals designated as active registered voters. However, according to estimates by BlueLabs, there are approximately 155,924 that are unregistered or need to re-register to be able to vote. As previously stated most of the unregistered voters are younger people of color.

Black voters maintain a slim majority of voters at about 51 percent and 53 percent of the Black voters leaning Democratic. There is an expectation, according to the data, that three quarters of Black voters and three-fifths of voters under 35 will support the Democratic Party.

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Previous election turnout could indicate what voters may do in the 2024 congressional primary. About 300,000 registered voters participated in the 2020 presidential election. Of those voters less than 20 percent were under the age of 35 and half were Black voters. 

Given that amount of participation in a presidential election, which generates more attention, it may not be hard to assume low voter turnout for a primary election with no polarizing figures.

Brandon Jones, director of political campaigns for the SPLC Action Fund, stated the organization was calling for increased efforts ahead of the primary registration deadline to address these problems.

“The SPLC Action Fund is calling for increased voter education, engagement and registration efforts ahead of the primary registration deadline – Feb. 19, 2024 – to ensure better representation for all voters in the 2nd District,” Jones stated.

With this data in mind it will be interesting to see how voters react to the candidates and their engagement strategies with the primary inching closer on March 5. 

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

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