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Alabama legislative districts under fire, GOP hopeful Cruz in Tuscaloosa

Federal judges want lawyers for black lawmakers to come up with their own map for redrawing Alabama's legislative districts.

The request came Tuesday in Montgomery during a hearing over the new voting lines.

Lawyers for black legislators contend Republicans illegally sorted voters by race when they drew new district lines.

The three-judge panel put tough questions to both sides during two hours of arguments.

They challenged the plaintiffs to draw a map that keeps districts the same size without following similar racial patterns. Attorneys replied they could have something done in a few weeks.

The hearing comes after the U.S. Supreme Court questioned how blocks of black voters were moved.

A state attorney says race was a factor in the decision making but not the predominant one.

Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is making a stop in Tuscaloosa tonight.

Cruz is the keynote speaker at the annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The event is a fundraiser for the Tuscaloosa County Republican Party.

Jim Zeanah** is the county chairman of the Tuscaloosa County Republican Party. He says having Cruz as the headliner for the event is the main goal of the dinner… 

“The Lincoln-Reagan Dinner has two objectives.  One, to honor Alabama political Figures and two, to bring to West Alabama people of national importance and to get West Alabama more involved in national politics.”

Candidates such as Mitt Romney, Bush White House adviser Karl Rove and former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour have attended the dinner in the past.  Tickets are sold out for the event.

Montgomery voters will head to the polls today to elect a new mayor.

Incumbent mayor Todd Strange is running for reelection.

Challengers include Buena Browder, Montgomery County Commission vice-chairman Dan Harris, longtime AEA board member Ella Bell and former U.S. Congressman Artur Davis.

D’Linell Finley is a professor of political science at Alabama State University. He says one major issue in this race is economic development, especially in west Montgomery.

“There is a big contention by the black candidates – Ella Bell, Dan Harris, and Ms. Browder – that the West has lagged behind in terms of economic development.”

Political analysts are predicting this race could have one of the highest voter turnouts in the city’s history.

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