GOP Rep. Spencer Bachus' retirement from Alabama's 6th District will likely spark a crowded GOP primary in 2014 to succeed him. A host of GOP candidates are expected run — many of whom have been waiting for his exit for two decades.
Alabama Republican operatives say the race is likely to include a wide array of candidates, from tea party stalwarts to popular state legislators in this heavily Republican district located in suburban Birmingham.
Potential Republican candidates include:
- State Sen. Cam Ward, who served as Bachus' district director in the late 1990s before leaving to run for the state legislature.
- State Sen. Scott Beason, a member of the tea party who waged an unsuccessful primary challenge to Bachus in 2012.
- Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead, a social conservative who used to serve in Ward's state Senate seat.
- State Rep. Jack Williams, chairman of Alabama's House Commerce Committee.
- State Rep. Paul DeMarco, chairman of Alabama's House Judiciary Committee.
- State Sen. Slade Blackwell, whose district is located in the most affluent part of the 6th District.
- Cliff Sims, president and CEO of Yellowhammer Politics, a political blog in Alabama.
- Chad Mathis, an orthopedic surgeon and member of the tea party.
"It's not a free shot," one Alabama Republican consultant said. "That’s certainly a calculus for these guys."
The next member of Congress will be selected in the GOP primary — Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won the district with 74 percent in 2012.
Alabama's 6th District is rated a Safe Republican seat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.