Alabama, Arkansas races to watch on Super Tuesday

Mary Ellen McIntire, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

Tuesday night will be the beginning of the end of either Rep. Jerry Carl or Rep. Barry Moore’s House career, after redistricting pushed them into a faceoff for Alabama’s 1st District.

Alabama adopted a new congressional map last year after the Supreme Court said the state needed to give African American voters a second district where they could influence the election of a representative. Under the new map, Democrats are likely to pick up a seat in the 2nd District, where there are crowded primaries for both parties’ nominations.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes in Alabama, the top two candidates with the most votes head to a runoff election, scheduled for April 16.

In Arkansas, Rep. Steve Womack is the only member of the state’s all-GOP delegation facing a primary challenge on Tuesday after he was one of several Republicans not to support Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan’s bid for speaker on the House floor in October.

Here’s a rundown on those races.

Member vs. member

Alabama’s 1st District: Moore and Carl face off in the first, and so far only, member-vs.-member race of the year after redistricting moved them into the same district. The campaign has largely been a race to the right in a ruby red district that would have backed former President Donald Trump by 50 percentage points in 2020, but took a more aggressive turn in the final weeks.

Both second-term lawmakers, Moore and Carl have both drawn support from other House colleagues during the campaign. Moore, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, has touted endorsements from fellow members of that group, as well as from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Carl got financial support from Majority Leader Steve Scalise and other members who are, like Carl, considered more pragmatic. Outside groups have spent almost $2.5 million on the race, with House Freedom Action, Dare to Defend Our Rights and School Freedom Fund putting in almost $962,000 to support Moore or oppose Carl, while South Alabama Conservatives PAC and Conservatives for American Excellence spent a combined $1.5 million attacking Moore.

Carl currently represents the 1st District, but parts of Moore’s current 2nd District, including his home county, were moved into the new district. Democrat Tom Holmes is unopposed for the nomination. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the November race Solid Republican.


Will speaker votes come back around?

Arkansas’ 3rd District: Womack, a seven-term Republican, faces a challenge from the right by state Sen. Clint Penzo. Penzo says he entered the race after Womack voted against Jordan’s speakership bid and has labeled Womack, who is part of the Republican Governance Group, as “Washington Womack.” Womack joined several other appropriators (he chairs the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee) in voting against Jordan during a series of votes in October as House Republicans struggled to select their next speaker.

But Penzo had far fewer resources than Womack as of mid-February, according to Federal Election Commission filings, which could make it difficult to go up against the incumbent. Womack had $2 million on hand compared to Penzo’s $66,000. Womack also had more spending on his behalf from outside groups than Penzo had. Inside Elections rates the November race Solid Republican.

New blue seat

Alabama’s 2nd District: Candidates signed up in droves to run for this new open seat. There are 11 Democrats and eight Republicans on the ballot, although one Republican terminated his campaign fund in January.

The Democrats running are James Averhart, the executive director of the NAACP Alabama state conference; state Rep. Napoleon Bracy Jr.; state Sen. Merika Coleman; state House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels; former federal official Shomari Figures; state Rep. Juandalynn Givan; state Rep. Jeremy Gray; education consultant Phyllis Harvey-Hall; retired businessman Willie J. Lenard; real estate broker Vimal Patel; and retired businessman Larry Darnell Simpson.

The eight Republicans are state Sen. Greg Albritton; former state Sen. Dick Brewbaker; real estate attorney Caroleene Dobson; former Senate candidate and small-business owner Karla M. DuPriest; real estate broker Hampton Harris; Bishop State Community College instructor Stacey T. Shepperson; and Newton City Council member Belinda Thomas. Former NFL and University of Alabama defensive end Wallace Gilberry terminated his campaign fund earlier this year, but remains on the ballot.

Many of the candidates have at least partially self-funded their campaigns. In addition, a group called Protect Progress spent at least $1.3 million supporting Figures in the Democratic primary. Brewbaker and Albritton both have outside groups supporting them in the Republican primary as well, according to FEC filings.

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