Countdown to Election: Al. District 4

Oct 23, 2012

As the November 6th elections draw near, APR News is taking a closer look at each of Alabama's congressional districts to understand what issues voters in those areas have on their minds leading into next month. This week, we take a look at Alabama's 4th Congressional District, which stretches from East to West Alabama and include the cities of Gadsden and Jasper. Doctor Larry Powell is an expert on political communications, political ads and polling from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He says there have been fewer campaign ads for both local and national races this year.

[Powell]: "Part of that is because we're not getting any presidential ads in the state and there aren't that many competitive races in the state. Bob Vance is running ads for Supreme Court Justice and he's been more visible than anybody else. But, some Republicans don't even have an opponent and those that do usually have weak opponents."

[Martin]: "U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt is facing Democrat Daniel Boman in November. Aderholt's been in office since 1996, so where do his chances stand this year?"

[Powell]: "Aderholt's going to win re-election and it's not going to be very difficult at all. Boman hasn't raised any money, at least has not reported raising any money. And if you don't have money, you can't run ads. You can't run a campaign."

[Martin]: "Where does Robert Aderholt stand as far as campaign money right now?"

[Powell]: "I haven't checked his lately. He's got plenty-into the six figures. He can do whatever he wants to on that, he just doesn't have to do much. And I assume that you're not going to see any ads from him until the final week of the campaign and that will be to remind people he's running."

[Martin]: "Now there's also been talks about the GOP party sending out people to rally support for Mitt Romney outside of the state. Does that surprise you that they don't feel the need to really drum up support here at home?"

[Powell]: "No. Mitt Romney is going to win Alabama probably by about 20 points. And from an election viewpoint we're just sitting on the sidelines watching. If you want to get involved you have to go to other states to work."

[Martin]: "Is District 4 left-leaning or right-leaning in politics?"

[Powell]: "That's a right-leaning district. Aderholt's been in there, like you say, since '96, and he's going to be in there as long as he wants to be. His only chance of being defeated would be by another Republican in a Republican primary, not in the general election."

[Martin]: "Are there any recent polls indicating who residents will vote for in this presidential election or in the local election or are we just going on historical votes from the past?"

[Powell]: "We're going on historical votes from the past. I'm sure that the Aderholt campaign has done a poll, but I haven't seen that data and I'm sure they're not giving it away to too many people. There's been no reason for anybody else to do a poll. The democrat doesn't have money to do a poll.  So this is going to be a relatively easy campaign for Aderholt."

[Martin]: "If Aderholt does handidly win this election, what kind of changes or improvements will residents want to see from him or do you think there are any improvements they'll want to see?"

[Powell]: "He's been in there long enough that he's beginning to build up some seniority and he's on the Appropriations Committee. That means he'll be able to direct some money to the state."