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Democratic primary heads to runoff in Birmingham-area House seat

The runoff is scheduled for July 16, with the winner set to face Carlos Crum in the general election.

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The race for the Democratic nomination in Birmingham’s House District 52 is headed to a runoff, though the identity of the second candidate remained uncertain as of Tuesday evening.

Unofficial returns showed Kelvin Datcher, Birmingham’s Deputy Director for Community Development, leading with 510 votes (38 percent), securing his place in the runoff. However, the battle for the second spot was exceptionally close. Frank Woodson, a nonprofit leader, received 239 votes (17.78 percent), while LaTonya Millhouse, a community relations manager at Oak Street Health, garnered 236 votes (17.56 percent). The slim margin of fewer than three votes could trigger a recount.

This election marks a significant change for Alabama Democrats, as it is the first time in over 40 years that the seat will not be held by John Rogers. Rogers, who had served since 1982, resigned following his guilty plea to federal charges of wire and mail fraud and conspiracy.

Six Democratic candidates entered the race to replace Rogers: Kelvin Datcher, Eric Major, Dedra Campbell, LaTonya Millhouse, Eyrika Parker, and Frank Woodson. On the Republican side, Carlos Crum stands alone, marking the first Republican bid for the district in over a decade. Despite his candidacy, Crum is considered a longshot in the predominantly Democratic district.

Datcher’s frontrunner status is bolstered by endorsements from prominent local leaders, including Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Fairfield Mayor Eddie Penny, state senators Rodger Smitherman and Linda Coleman-Madison, Birmingham City Council President Darrell Quinn, and Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson. Additionally, he has the backing of the Business Council of Alabama.

The runoff is scheduled for July 16, with the winner set to face Carlos Crum in the general election on October 1.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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