African American Democrats to announce bids for revamped Alabama congressional district
State House member Napoleon Bracy, Jr. announced a bid for Alabama's revamped 2nd Congressional District, kicking off what is expected to be a competitive race in the newly drawn Democratic-leaning district in the Deep South state.
Bracy is among the first candidates to announce a bid in the district that is expected to draw a crowded field. State Senator Kirk Hatcher, a Democrat from Montgomery, told news outlets that he also plans to run.
Federal judges last month selected new congressional district boundaries in Alabama after ruling the previous map likely violated the federal Voting Rights Act. The three-judge panel said the state, which is 27% Black, should have two districts out of seven where Black voters are the majority, or close to it, so that they have a reasonable opportunity to elect candidates of their choosing.
"This is our time, our time to have a seat at the table built on the backs of those who, my entire lifetime, had been disregarded by their Congressional representatives due to their voting record or area code," Bracy, a Democrat from Prichard, said in a statement announcing his campaign.
The new map sets the stage for potentially flipping one U.S. House of Representatives seat from Republican to Democratic control and could lead to the election of two Black Congressional representatives to the state's delegation for the first time. Black residents make up 48.7% of the voting age population in the revamped district that stretches across south Alabama.
Bracy, who is the manager of diversity and inclusion for Austal USA, a defense contractor, said health care, economics and workforce development are the heart of progress and too many people have been left behind in communities "where poverty is still real and economic development is scarce."
Hatcher similarly emphasized economic issues.
"I was looking at the grocery store yesterday and thinking about how are these single-parent mothers able to go into the grocery store and get groceries, any sort of quality of food offerings for our families and children. That's a real concern," Hatcher, an English teacher and Head Start director, told al.com.
The seat will be open in 2024 as two Alabama Republicans face off in a primary battle in another district.
Republican Congressman Barry Moore, who currently represents the district but was drawn out when the new map was selected, announced he will challenge fellow Republican U.S. House member Jerry Carl in the 1st Congressional District. Moore's home is now in that district.