After last month's 5-4 Milligan v. Allen decision, it seemed inevitable that two Republican congressional incumbents would be forced to face each other in a head-to-head match-up.
Early speculation included the possibility of a contest between U.S. Reps. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) and Mike Rogers (R-Saks).
However, a story in Saturday's Washington Post dismisses any threat to Rogers, the House Armed Services Committee chairman, or U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville), a high-ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee.
The most likely seemed to be between U.S. Reps. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) for the GOP nod in a newly drawn first congressional district that hugged the Alabama-Florida border.
Such a race would be costly for both candidates in a primary election cycle. It would include a heightened interest because of the fight for the Republican presidential nomination, with Alabama among the early primary states. It also could include outside groups buying up time on Alabama's airwaves, including the Club for Growth, to help preferred candidates.
However, lawmakers may attempt to avoid that scenario altogether when they convene for a special session to fulfill the U.S. Supreme Court's mandate on July 17.
While it is assumed the legislature's goal will be to create two minority-majority congressional districts, 1819 News has learned that some lawmakers interpret the Milligan decision to mean the legislature's new district could be drawn to be within the range of 50% minority representation, plus or minus 3%.
One proposal has Moore's Coffee County remaining in a newly drawn second congressional district, meaning the incumbent contest between Moore and Carl could be avoided.
According to the aforementioned Washington Post report, another reason legislative Republicans could be urged to avoid pitting Moore and Carl against one another is Carl is viewed as an ally of U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). The Post's Paul Kane suggests that the new district could favor Moore for his "fiery nature."
"Carl, a more mainstream conservative, just joined the Appropriations Committee, and Moore has staked out far-right positions with the Freedom Caucus," Kane wrote for the Post. "He voted against giving the Congressional Gold Medal to the Capitol Police and D.C. police for their heroics on Jan. 6 and has proposed designating an AR-15 style rifle as the 'National Gun of the United States.' This new district would crawl along the border with Florida and Mississippi, and Moore might be favored as someone whose fiery nature would appeal to the state's most conservative voters."
"That's why the court rulings weren't just a blow to GOP chances of holding the majority next November, but also a blow to the more establishment-friendly wing of McCarthy's caucus that he needs to govern Congress," he added. "Even if Republicans hold the majority into 2025, McCarthy needs more influence over his rowdy caucus to wield any power. And that can happen if he somehow makes sure that state legislators, with their own interests at stake, help protect allies like Carl, [Garret] Graves and [Julia] Letlow."
Alabama Republican Party chairman John Wahl insists Republicans will compete to win in all seven congressional districts in the 2024 general election. If that comes to be with the new districts, even Alabama's loudest left-wing voices acknowledge Republicans would have an organizational advantage over a flailing Alabama Democratic Party, led by chairman Randy Kelly, an ally of long-time Democrat party boss Joe Reed.
"Don't count out 7-0," Targeted Victory's Alex Schriver told the Post.
Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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