NATIONAL NEWS

Shomari Figures and Anthony Daniels advance to Democratic runoff in Alabama’s 2nd US House District

Mar 4, 2024, 9:09 PM | Updated: Mar 5, 2024, 8:14 pm

Robert Ward leaves the volunteer fire station in Cusseta, Ala., after voting during a primary elect...

Robert Ward leaves the volunteer fire station in Cusseta, Ala., after voting during a primary election, Tuesday, March 5, 2024. Sixteen states and a U.S. territory hold their 2024 nominating contests on Super Tuesday. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Shomari Figures and Anthony Daniels are advancing to a Democratic runoff in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District.

The two were the top finishers in a crowded field vying for the party’s nomination for the newly redrawn district. A runoff is required when no candidate captures more than 50% of the primary vote.

They will meet again in an April 16 runoff, and the winner will face the Republican nominee in November.

Daniels is the minority leader in the Alabama House of Representatives. Figures served as deputy chief of staff to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Democrats are hoping to flip the seat after the district was redrawn by a federal court to boost the voting power of Black residents. Federal judges approved new district lines in October after ruling Alabama’s previous map violated the Voting Rights Act. The three-judge panel said the state should have two districts where Black voters are the majority or close to it.

However, Republicans are hoping to maintain control of the seat. The outcome of the November election, with control of the U.S. House of Representatives on the line, will be closely watched.

The district spans the width of the state and includes Montgomery, parts of Mobile and rural counties in the state’s Black Belt.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The race for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, which was redrawn by a federal court to boost the voting power of Black voters, has sparked congested and competitive primary contests.

Democrats see an opportunity to flip the Deep South congressional seat in November. Republicans aim to keep hold of the seat, as control of the U.S. House of Representatives is on the line. A total of 18 candidates — 11 Democrats and seven Republicans — are running in the new district.

The revamped 2nd Congressional District, which stretches from Mobile through Montgomery to the Georgia border, is being viewed as a once-in-a generation opportunity for Democrats in a state where Republicans dominate.

The contest is one of two heated congressional primaries in the state on Super Tuesday. In the 1st Congressional District, two Republican congressmen — Rep. Jerry Carl and Rep. Barry Moore — are facing off in a primary showdown that will end with one of them leaving office next year.

A federal court in November drew new congressional lines after ruling Alabama had illegally diluted the voting strength of Black residents. The three-judge panel said Alabama, which is 27% Black, should have a second district where Black voters make up a substantial portion of the voting age population and have a reasonable opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice.

The large number of people competing in the 2nd Congressional District makes it likely that the race will go to an April 16 runoff between the top two finishers. A runoff is required unless a single candidate captures more than 50% of the vote.

Candidates include Shomari Figures, a resident of Mobile and former deputy chief of staff to the U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, plus high-profile members of the Alabama Legislature such as: House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels of Huntsville; state Rep. Napoleon Bracy, Jr. of Prichard; state Sen. Merika Coleman of Pleasant Grove; state Rep. Juandalynn Givan of Birmingham and state Rep. Jeremy Gray of Opelika.

Also running are former U.S. Marine James Averhart, education consultant Phyllis Harvey-Hall, retired businessman Willie J. Lenard, businessman Vimal Patel and Larry Darnell Simpson.

The eight Republicans who have qualified to run are: state Sen. Greg Albritton of Atmore; former state Sen. Dick Brewbaker of Pike Road; attorney Caroleene Dobson; business owner Karla M. DuPriest; real estate agent Hampton Harris; Stacey T. Shepperson of Saraland; and Newton City Council member Belinda Thomas.

The shifting district lines have led to an unusual competition in the GOP primary for south Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.

Moore challenged Carl, the incumbent in the 1st Congressional District after being drawn out of the 2nd Congressional District, which he currently represents.

The two Republicans and their supporters have traded accusations over voting records, late tax payments and loyalty to former President Donald Trump.

Both are in their second terms in Congress after being elected in 2020 to their respective districts. Moore is a former member of the Alabama Legislature. Carl served as president of the Mobile County Commission.

The winner will face Democrat Tom Holmes in November.

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Shomari Figures and Anthony Daniels advance to Democratic runoff in Alabama’s 2nd US House District