Rep. Mike Rogers (R)
Elected: 2002, 4th term.
Born: July 16, 1958, Hammond, IN .
Education: Jacksonville St. U., B.A. 1981, M.P.A. 1984, Birmingham Schl. of Law, J.D. 1991.
Family: Married (Beth); 3 children.
Elected office: Calhoun Cnty. Commission, 1986-90; AL House of Reps., 1994-2002, Min. ldr., 1998-2000.
Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1991-2002.
The congressman from the 3rd District is Mike Rogers, a Republican elected in 2002. He is a fifth-generation resident of Calhoun County who, at the age of 28 in 1986, was the first Republican elected to the county commission. In 1994, he won a seat in the Alabama House, and in his second term he became minority leader. In 2002, after Republican Bob Riley gave up the 3rd District seat to run for governor, Rogers easily won the GOP nomination to succeed him. But in the general election, he had stiff competition from Democrat Joe Turnham Jr., who served three years as state party chairman and challenged Riley unsuccessfully in 1998. Turnham and Rogers tried to “out-bubba” each other, with Turnham calling for a congressional auto racing caucus and demanding that Rogers prove he had hunting and fishing licenses. Rogers touted his working-class values and support from the National Rifle Association. He also emphasized his opposition to abortion rights and support for a constitutional amendment for prayer in the public schools. Though both national parties targeted the district, Turnham did not risk bringing in national Democrats to campaign for him in this socially conservative district, while Rogers got frequent visits from national Republican leaders. Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois promised him a seat on the Armed Services Committee. The contrast in national party support was evident in Rogers’s big fundraising advantage. Still, Rogers won by only 50%-48%. He did well in his base, Calhoun County, where he got 60% of the vote. In contrast, Turnham lost Lee County, his home, by 52%-46%, and carried the district’s portion of Montgomery County by only 57%-42%.
|Mike Rogers (R)||150,819||(53%)||($2,056,912)|
|Joshua Segall (D)||131,299||(46%)||($1,089,890)|
|Mike Rogers (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (59%), 2004 (61%), 2002 (50%)
Rogers is one of two Republicans of the same name in the House; the other is from the 8th District of Michigan. Alabama’s Mike Rogers has a conservative voting record, though he is more centrist on economic issues. He bucked the Bush administration and won local praise by opposing the free-trade agreement with Morocco on the grounds that it would reduce local textile and apparel jobs. On the Armed Services Committee, he won House passage of a bill to ensure that universities provide access to their facilities for military recruiters and ROTC personnel. As chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Management, Investigations, and Oversight, Rogers spotlighted in 2005 the defective equipment in a $239 million camera system installed on the borders with Mexico and Canada. He also secured $47 million for an Anniston-based consortium that develops antiterrorism training for emergency responders. In 2008, he added a provision to the defense bill that required the Pentagon to move toward buying only American-bred dogs for bomb-sniffing and related tasks. On the farm bill in 2007, he passed an amendment to require arbitration to settle conflicts between poultry growers and the companies to which they sell.
In this ancestrally Democratic district, Rogers has worked hard to entrench himself and raise money to discourage strong Democratic opposition. In his first two re-election campaigns, his Democratic challengers were inadequately funded and never posed serious threats. But in 2008, Rogers faced a serious contest with Josh Segall, a 29-year-old Montgomery bankruptcy lawyer who stuck with Democratic doctrine on most issues except gay rights and gun control, spent over $1 million, and had the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He attacked Rogers for backing the $700 billion bailout of the financial markets, and also accused him of harming the local textile industry with his support of the Central America Free Trade Agreement. Rogers attacked Segall for his “Hollywood and New York” campaign contributions, and his liberal views that “don’t reflect east Alabama’s conservative values.” Segall took Montgomery County 62%-38% and three nearby counties, but Rogers won 53%-47% overall. The outcome invites a possible serious challenge to Rogers in 2010.