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Updated Oct. 14, 2010
Bright's 2008 race was decided by fewer than 2,000 votes, and his first re-election may come down to the wire as well.
Although Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby was an early recruit of the national party, she has proved to be somewhat green on the campaign trail and struggled a bit with a feisty tea-party-backed primary challenge. But she's a solid conservative, and that may be enough in this cycle's environment.
Bright boasts one of the most conservative voting records in the Democratic Caucus, but Republicans think his first vote, which was to elect Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as Speaker, will be enough to sink his re-election chances. In fact, in this conservative southwest Alabama district, Republicans seem intent on making the contest as much about Pelosi as about Bright.
When the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched its first ads against Roby in September, Roby's camp quickly sent out a press release titled "Pelosi and Bright Launch False Negative Attacks."
Bright, who grew up in the Wiregrass region of the district and served as mayor of Montgomery, is hoping his personal connections throughout the region will help keep Republicans from nationalizing the contest. He has worked to distance himself from Pelosi and downplay her importance (he recently called her position a "largely ceremonial" one).
Bright and the DCCC are trying to draw as many distinctions between Roby and the Congressman as they can and have attacked her for everything from wanting to privatize Medicare to being in the pocket of special interests.
District Profile from Politics in America
The 2nd takes in a chunk of Montgomery, the growing city of Dothan, and small towns that dot the southern Alabama coastal plain. Agriculture, still vital to the economy in rural areas here, includes peanut, cotton and soybean farming. Tourists visit the antebellum homes in Eufaula and fish on Lake Eufaula, on the border with Georgia.
Defense and state government still provide many jobs in the Montgomery area, and Maxwell Air Force Base and its Gunter Annex host many of the Air Force's computer systems and training centers. Dothan, in the southeast, relies on manufacturing and retail development and is a regional distribution hub. Fort Rucker, 20 miles to the northwest, is an Army aviation training center and supports activities at the Dothan Regional Airport.
A large military retiree population underscores the district's conservative bent overall -- of the 15 counties wholly in the 2nd, only black-majority Bullock and Lowndes voted for Democrat Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. In 2010, the GOP regained its nearly four-decade hold on the district, unseating conservative Democrat Bobby Bright after one term.
Agriculture, defense, manufacturing, government
Fort Rucker (Army), 4,460 military, 2,402 civilian; Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, 3,089 military, 3,914 civilian (2009)
Montgomery (pt.), 122,409; Dothan, 65,496; Prattville, 33,960
The Boll Weevil Monument in Enterprise honors the insect, whose taste for cotton compelled local farmers to grow peanuts.
|2010||general||Martha Roby (R)||111,645||51%|
|Bobby Bright (D)||106,865||48.8%|
|2008||general||Bobby Bright (D)||144,368||50.2%|
|Jay Love (R)||142,578||49.6%|
|2006||general||Terry Everett (R)||124,302||69.5%|
|Charles James (D)||54,450||30.4%|
|2004||general||Terry Everett (R)||177,086||71.4%|
|Charles James (D)||70,562||28.5%|
|2002||general||Terry Everett (R)||129,233||68.8%|
|Charles Woods (D)||55,495||29.5%|
|Floyd Shackelford (LIBERT)||2,948||1.6%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 37%||John McCain: 63%|
|2004||John Kerry: 33%||George W. Bush: 66%|
|2000||Al Gore: 38%||George W. Bush: 61%|