New Congressional Pairing

The second round of redistricting has just led to the first, and possibly only, incumbent pairing of the 2024 congressional election cycle.

The recently completed court-driven Alabama congressional map that creates a new majority minority district anchored in the capital city of Montgomery, but then stretches southwest to encompass downtown Mobile, results in a pairing of two Republican Congressmen.

Two-term Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) announced that he will challenge Rep. Jerry Carl* (R-Mobile), also serving his second term, in the state’s new 1st District. This seat now spans the entire width of southern Alabama from the Mississippi border all the way to Georgia.

This will be a short-term paired campaign in that the Alabama state primary is held concurrently with the Super Tuesday presidential vote on March 5th. Should no one receive majority support, the top two finishers will advance to an April 2nd runoff election. A pair of minor candidates are also in the race, so if the field does not grow it is probable that the prevailing incumbent will win the primary election outright.

The geographic sections within the new district boundaries favor Rep. Carl in that he already represents 59% of the new territory as compared to 41% for Rep. Moore.

The former also leads in fundraising and cash-on-hand. According to the September 30th Federal Election Commission disclosure filing, Rep. Carl reported raising $1.3 million for the campaign-to-date; $257,000 in the 3rd Quarter just completed; and holds $869,000 in his account. By contrast, Rep. Moore has raised just $309,000 for the cycle-to-date; $109,000 during the Q3 period; and shows $647,000 cash-on-hand.

Rep. Moore, a member of the Freedom Caucus, may be viewed as the more conservative of the two, which often proves to be the defining factor in a safe district Republican primary. From his opening comments, Mr. Moore clearly plans to develop an ideological contrast campaign.

Rep. Carl, however, disputes that he is less conservative. The Congressman responded to the Moore challenge by saying, "bring it on. I have a proven track record of putting Alabama first every day and delivering conservative results for Alabama’s First Congressional District."

According to Dave’s Redistricting App, the new 1st has a partisan lean of 74.5R – 24.2D. The demographics yield a 74.8% white population, 16.2% black, 3.8% Hispanic, and 1.8% Asian. It is clear the Republican nominee from this election, and any other in the foreseeable future, will easily win the general election.

The court’s special masters certainly did not want to draw a competitive southern Alabama. The new open 2nd District finds a majority minority district registering 55.6% of the new domain’s inhabitants. The black population accounts for 48.7% of the district; whites comprise 44.4%, with Hispanics and Asians tallying 3.1 and 2.2%, respectively. The new AL-2 partisan lean, again according to Dave’s Redistricting App, is 55.6D – 43.2R.

Already we see a crowded Democratic primary building, one that is virtually assured of advancing to a secondary April runoff election. So far six Democrats have announced for the seat, including two state Senators, one state Representative, a Jefferson County Commissioner, a former congressional contender, and a political consultant. Several more could join the race before candidate filing concludes on November 10th.

With Rep. Moore now making his political plans clear, we will likely see a Republican primary develop, even though the eventual party nominee’s general election chances are poor. Gaining the 2nd District will give the Democrats two members of the Alabama delegation as compared to what will be five Republicans. This means an increase of one Democratic seat in the state’s US House delegation.

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