Alabama 2nd District
Thick green countryside blankets southern Alabama. Even in Montgomery, the stone and brick buildings of the downtown district do not mask the contours of the hills or hide the lush foliage. One can look downhill from the restored Greek Revival capitol toward Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where the young Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor in the 1950s, or out past the impressive Carolyn Blount Theater, host of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, toward new subdivisions and shopping malls, and easily imagine when this land was covered with cotton fields and pine trees. The atmosphere is even more rural in southeast Alabama’s Wiregrass region, named for the stiff native grass. There is the fishing town of Eufaula, along the Chattahoochee River; the Army’s Fort Rucker, the home of Army aviation flight training; and Enterprise, site of the Boll Weevil Monument that commemorates the insect that destroyed two-thirds of the cotton crop in 1915 and then spread throughout the South. Timber is an important resource here, and peanuts are now the main crop in the area surrounding Dothan. The region ranks second in the nation in acres harvested for peanuts. But the area is diversifying: Hyundai built its first U.S. assembly plant in southwest Montgomery County, with about 3,000 local jobs.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 2nd Congressional District covers the southeast corner of the state. It includes most of the city of Montgomery but only a small part of Montgomery County. Democratic redistricters put the rest, including the capitol and many black precincts, into the 3rd District in an attempt to make that seat more Democratic. The result was to make the 2nd District strongly Republican. The Montgomery County precincts, plus suburban Elmore and Autauga counties, vote heavily Republican, as does the area around Dothan and Houston County in the Wiregrass region. The area outvotes by a large number the district’s “black belt” counties—Lowndes, Bullock, with a large black majority, and Barbour on the Georgia border, which was George Wallace’s home base. It would be a mistake to see these preferences as purely racial, however. African-Americans here tend to support a larger and more generous government, and hence vote Democratic. Alabama whites tend to take a hard line on defense and crime and want government to promote traditional cultural values, and hence vote Republican.