Internal poll shows wide-open race for newly created Black opportunity district in Alabama

Democrats are favored to pick up a seat in deep-red Alabama later this year. But with just a month to go until the primary in the 2nd Congressional District, it’s unclear who their nominee will be.

An internal poll, first shared with POLITICO and conducted by Lester & Associates for Democrat Shomari Figures’ campaign, shows no candidate in the crowded Democratic primary remotely close to the more than 50 percent needed to win the primary outright. If no candidate secures a majority on March 5 — which is unlikely, given 11 candidates are on the ballot — a runoff will be held on April 16.

State Rep. Napoleon Bracy has 16 percent of support in the poll. Figures, a former deputy chief of staff and counselor to Attorney General Merrick Garland, is not far behind with 13 percent.

The rest of the candidates in the poll — many of whom are local elected officials — register in the single-digits. State House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels has 8 percent; state Sen. Merika Coleman has 6 percent; NAACP Alabama State Conference executive director James Averhart has 4 percent; state Rep. Jeremy Gray has 3 percent; and state Rep. Juandalynn Givan has 1 percent.

Forty-nine percent of respondents were undecided, meaning that there’s plenty of room for that standing to change.

Figures outraised Bracy by more than $100,000, according to campaign finance filings this week covering the last three months of 2023.

Dems’ Alabama opportunity: Alabama’s congressional map was redrawn last fall after federal judges ruled that lines drawn by the GOP-dominated state legislature likely violated the Voting Rights Act by weakening the power of Black voters, who make up about one-quarter of the state’s population. Newly drawn AL-02 has a Black voting age population of just under 49 percent.

Republican Rep. Barry Moore, who currently represents AL-02, was drawn out of this district and now faces a contentious member-vs.-member primary with Rep. Jerry Carl in AL-01.

Despite Democrats’ strong position to add a seat, Republicans aren’t ceding it entirely: Former state Sen. Dick Brewbaker and attorney Caroleene Dobson have both been active on the airwaves, and each has already loaned their campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to recent campaign finance filings.

The survey includes 400 likely Democratic primary voters, and was conducted Jan. 19-24 via telephone interviews. The margin of error is +/- 4.9 percentage points.