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Alabama - 7th District

Incumbent -- Artur Davis (D) ; Defeated by Ron Sparks, D, in gubernatorial primary on June 1, 2010

Safe Democratic
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

After winning a primary runoff against Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot in July, attorney Terri Sewell (D) is poised to become the first black woman ever elected to Congress in Alabama.

Despite a tough national environment for Democrats, Sewell won't have any trouble winning in this majority-black Birmingham- and Tuscaloosa-based district, where President Barack Obama got 71 percent of the vote in 2008.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Marked by stark regional contrasts, the 7th District includes chunks of Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, as well as struggling rural areas in west central Alabama. Health care and banking sectors have taken root, but the 7th remains Alabama's poorest district overall.

Economic growth in the 7th's part of Birmingham, the densely populated downtown area that includes a Civil Rights District, has trailed the rest of the city. Decades of redevelopment efforts have yielded some success, and the sprawling University of Alabama at Birmingham continues to expand.

To the west, manufacturing, medical services and the University of Alabama's flagship campus anchor Tuscaloosa's economy. Nearby Vance is home to a Mercedes-Benz plant.

Almost all of the rest of the 7th falls into the state's portion of the Black Belt, a historically poverty-filled region of rich soil that stretches from Texas to Virginia. Agricultural diversification has been modestly successful, but jobs remain scarce and the population has been declining for decades.

In contrast to its white, well-to-do neighbor -- the Republican 6th -- the bulk of the 7th's residents are poor to middle class blacks who overwhelmingly back Democrats. The district, as redrawn after the 1990 census, has been held by three African-American representatives, including Alabama's first black female U.S. House member.

Major Industry

Agriculture, manufacturing, higher education

Cities

Birmingham (pt.), 184,129; Tuscaloosa (pt.), 78,408; Bessemer (pt.), 25,216

Notable

Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge was the site of "Bloody Sunday," when state troopers assaulted peaceful civil rights activists on their way to Montgomery in 1965.

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