Steve Flowers previews upcoming congressional race at Troy Rotary Meeting

Published 2:20 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Political commentator and former State Legislator Steve Flowers spoke at the Nov. 28 Troy Rotary Club Meeting, discussing the upcoming congressional race in Pike County’s district.

Flowers, a native of Troy, served in the Alabama House of Representatives – serving Pike County’s district – from 1982 until 1998. Since 2002, his “Inside the Statehouse” political column has been syndicated in more than 60 publications across the state, including The Messenger. Flowers is also a noted Alabama political historian.

The upcoming 2024 political races in Alabama are going to be an unusually tame one, according to Flowers.

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“We won’t have a very interesting political year this year because we don’t have any statewide races,” he said. “We don’t have a Governor’s race or a Lt. Governor’s race or treasurer or Secretary of State. There are four judicial races in the state supreme court but most of them don’t have opposition, so it makes it even less interesting.”

One exception to this is Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, which now makes up portions of Montgomery County along with Autauga, Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Butler, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike Counties. A federal lawsuit overhauled the district’s lines to give more representation to the area’s African-American population, which has led many to believe it will swing to the Democrat party.

Due to the redistricting, current Congressman Barry Moore’s home county, Coffee County, will be moved into District 1 in 2025. Rather than running for District 2 again, Moore has opted to run for District 1, leaving District 2 open for the 2024 election.

A Republican has served as the second district’s representative in all but one term since 1963. That may all change in 2024, but Flowers isn’t convinced.

“This seat will be contested and I’m not sure the Democrat will carry this seat,” Flowers emphasized. “There is a pretty heavy Republican voting block in Montgomery and the (other) counties all vote Republican. A Republican from Montgomery can win that seat. It’ll be a swing seat and there will be a lot of money spent on that seat.”

Flowers pointed out that while many of the Democrats running in the primary are not natives of the district, all of the Republicans are, which will benefit the Republican candidate in the general election.

“There are 13 people running in the Democrat primary but only six live in the district,” said Flowers. “The federal law says that you can run for a congressional seat without living in the district. There are five state representatives from other parts of the state running in that district. All six of the Republicans running live in the district.”

Of the Republicans running for office, Flowers pointed to Alabama State Senator Greg Albritton, former Alabama State Senator Dick Brewbaker and Montgomery attorney Caroleene Dobson as names to watch out for in the primary.

“The Republican (primary) will be very contested,” Flowers said. “Dick Brewbaker is from Montgomery and will be the favorite. He’s a former State Senator and his family owns the car dealership there, so he has good name recognition. Greg Albritton is a senator from the Southern part of the district and will be running. A young lady named Caroleene Dobson is also in that race and I think is capable of spending some money. She may be a surprise.”

Of the 13 Democrats running, Flowers mentioned State Representative Anthony Daniels. While Daniels is a native of Huntsville, he has ties to Pike County.

“Even though he is a representative of the area in Huntsville, he has roots in our area of the state,” Flowers continued. “He will probably win that nomination. He’s being backed by the business community and he has family here. Vaughn Daniels, who works for the City of Troy, is his uncle and he has a brother named Posey that played high school basketball here. His grandmother Eva Daniels was one of the leaders of a local church.”

When the race moves into the general election, Flowers said it would be a tough one.

“It will be a really, really tough race in the fall with a ton of money spent by both the Republican and Democratic national parties on our congressional seat,” he said.

While Flowers said that it was far too early to speculate on Alabama’s next gubernatorial race, in 2026, he did mention a couple of names to follow in Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth and Attorney General Steve Marshall.

“It’s too early to tell,” he emphasized. “I think Ainsworth has done a lot of leg work but Marshall is pretty strong, too. With Ainsworth, I’ve never seen anyone as committed to being governor since George Wallace. I don’t think the book is written on that race and it won’t be for a while. Money talks in politics.”