In Alabama, a Surprisingly Expected Democratic Victory

Superficially, Alabama's 22nd Senate District has a distinct Republican lean. Just look at the presidential results from its eight Southwest Alabama counties.   (Note: These ...
by | June 3, 2009

Superficially, Alabama's 22nd Senate District has a distinct Republican lean. Just look at the presidential results from its eight Southwest Alabama counties.

Senate District 22  

(Note: These are county-wide totals, but the 22nd only includes parts of some of these counties.)

Those results weren't a reaction against Barack Obama, but rather a reflection of the way this part of Alabama votes in presidential elections. Obama actually did better than John Kerry in seven of these eight counties.

So, as you'd expect, the special election yesterday in the 22nd wasn't all that close. But here's what you wouldn't expect unless you follow Alabama politics closely: the winner was a Democrat.

Here are the basics, from the Mobile Press-Register:

MONTGOMERY -- Democrat Marc Keahey appeared headed to victory Tuesday night in the special election for Senate District 22. 

Unofficial returns from the counties put Keahey, a 28-year-old attorney and state representative from Grove Hill, about 2,400 votes ahead of Republican Greg Albritton, a 57-year-old attorney from Range who served in the state House from 2003 to 2007.

This might sound like just another case of Republican electoral ineptitude. Since 2006, Republicans have lost a lot of seats, whether in Congress or state legislatures, that Democrats had no business winning.

But, that's not quite right. A Democrat previously held the 22nd District, until he died earlier this year. People in the know described the 22nd as Democratic-leaning seat (you wouldn't know it from those presidential vote totals) and expected Keahey to win.

The real story here, then, is that in some parts of the country presidential predilections still tell you next to nothing about state politics.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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