In Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, incumbent Democrat Rep. Bobby Bright is facing Republican challenger Martha Roby, a member of the Montgomery City Council. Despite party differences, each candidate is identifying as a conservative to court voters in a Republican district.
Candidates for the Alabama 2nd Congressional District (two-year term)
(The district is in the southeast corner of Alabama and includes most of Montgomery and the counties of Autauga, Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lowndes, Montgomery (partial) and Pike. See a boundary map here.)
Candidate: Bobby Bright (incumbent)
Political experience: Bright was elected mayor of Montgomery in 1999 and was re-elected in 2003. Though he had previously not declared a party, he ran for Congress in the 2nd District of Alabama when long-term incumbent Terry Everett retired in 2008. Bright beat Republican State Rep. Jay Love by a narrow 1,766-vote margin. Bright is part of the Blue Dog Coalition and is considered one of the most conservative Democrats in the 111th Congress. Bright serves on the Armed Services, Agriculture and Small Business Committees.
Professional experience: Bright practiced law for 15 years after graduating from The Thomas Goode Law School at Faulkner University.
Key issues: Bright is running as a conservative against the health care reform bill passed in Congress. According to his campaign website, he’s pro-veteran, pro-defense, anti-spending, pro-gun rights and supports pro-growth economic policies. Bright also wants to extend the Bush tax cuts. He supports conservation and agricultural subsidies, the latter of which is directed toward the 2nd’s farming constituency. Bright may be vulnerable on the immigration issue for his initial opposition to the Arizona anti-immigration law. When assured that Arizona residents would be asked about their immigration status during a legitimate police stop, Bright swung his support to the Arizona law.
Endorsements: According to his campaign’s Facebook page, Bright has been endorsed by the United States Chamber of Commerce and the Alabama Farmers Federation PAC.
Chances of maintaining his seat: Bright was a popular mayor of Montgomery and is a conservative as one can be while still remaining a Democrat. However in 2010, when politicians with a D by their names are vulnerable, Bright may have trouble holding on to this seat in this heavily Republican district. Bright is emphasizing his “non partisanship” and his mainly conservative voting record.
Candidate: Martha Roby
Political experience: Roby was elected to the Montgomery City Council in 2003. She was re-elected overwhelmingly in 2007.
Professional experience: Roby practiced law after graduating from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 2001.
Key issues: According to her campaign website, Roby is in favor of health care savings accounts and the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines. She supports a balanced budget, tax simplification, securing America’s borders and opposes amnesty for illegal aliens. She opposes estate taxes and supports bio fuels as a way to help the family farm. She is pro-veteran, pro-military, pro-gun, and supports local control of education.
Endorsements: No key endorsements so far.
Chances of unseating Bobby Bright: The main advantage that Roby has in the race against Bright is the R after her name. While they hold similar views on issues, the national tide in 2010 is trending against Democrats and toward Republicans. With an anti-incumbent mood, Roby’s fresh face may propel her into national office. Roby can also paint Bright as “another vote for Pelosi” in this Republican-leaning district. Roby is using immigration as an issue against Bright, attacking his initial opposition to the Arizona illegal immigration law. On the minus side, Roby has no political experience aside from her city council races.
Key differences between Bobby Bright and Martha Roby: Party identification. Any differences they may have on the issues seem to be of detail and emphasis. Bright emphasizes conservation more than Roby, for instance. Both are conservative, as would befit a district that has trended heavily Republican in recent decades.
Bright does currently have a large fund-raising advantage over Roby. According to OpenSecrets.org, as of late July, Bright has raised $1.1 million to Roby’s $569,000. They’ve both spent roughly $400,000, but Bright has $734,000 cash on hand to Roby’s $122,000.
Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District
The Cook Report classified the race as a tossup or leans Democrat, though the partisan index puts the district at Republican +16.
Location: The district is in the southeast corner of Alabama and includes most of Montgomery and the counties of Autauga, Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lowndes, Montgomery (partial), and Pike.
2008 results: Bright, with 50.31 percent, eked by Republican Jay Love, who had 49.69 percent of the vote.
Demographics: According to the U.S. Census, the 2nd District is: 66.1 percent white and 30.9 percent black with other races making up less than 1 percent each. 2.1 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino.
Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District & Map, GovTrack USA
Bobby Bright For Congress
Martha Roby for US Congress, A Better Way
The Cook Political Report, 2010 House Race, Alabama District 2
Race Profile, Alabama’s 2nd District, U.S. Census