Republicans Sweep Alabama

In my former home state of Alabama, Republicans won every major contest, save the one House seat specifically drawn to ensure a Democratic victory.

In my former home state of Alabama, Republicans won every major contest, save the one House seat specifically drawn to ensure a Democratic victory.

Richard Shelby was re-elected to the Senate.

Robert Bentley was elected Governor, succeeding two-term Republican Bob Riley, who was ineligible for another consecutive term.

They won Congressional Districts 1 through 6, most by confortable margins — three with no Democratic opposition candidates.  They lost the Gerrymandered 7th, of course, but that’s a “majority minority” district which was drawn to ensure a black Representative.   It went 72% Democrat.

The most interesting race was in the 3rd district, in which incumbent Democrat Bobby Bright, longtime mayor of Montgomery, lost to Martha Roby, a young attorney with a music degree from NYU.

Now, Republicans sweeping one of the reddest of the Red States may not seem like such a shocker.   But when I moved to Alabama in 1980, the Democratic primary was the election.  Yes, the state frequently supported Republican presidents starting with Richard Nixon and even sent a Republican Senator, Vietnam War hero Jeremiah Denton, in on Ronald Reagan’s coattails.   (He lost to Richard Shelby, then a Democrat, six years later.)   But the road to the governorship, US House, and (mostly) the US Senate was the Democratic primary.

That ceased being the case after an incredibly controversial decision by the Democratic Party overturned the results of the 1986 primary, removing winner Charlie Graddick for Bill Baxley on account of Republican cross-over voting in the run-off (which was technically illegal but always allowed previously).  Angry voters put in the hapless Guy Hunt, the token Republican, in protest.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, Quick Takes,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.