Congressman Martha Roby Retires as Alabama Prepares to Fight Looming Redistricting Battle
By Paul DeMarco, former state representative
There is concern that after the 2020 census, Alabama may lose a Congressional seat.
An early look at the state’s population shows slow growth as compared to other states which means bad news for the upcoming Congressional reapportionment.
And we may have seen our first casualty this past week with the announcement that Congresswoman Martha Roby is leaving her seat after serving the state’s 2nd Congressional District for five terms.
The retirement came as a surprise to those that follow Alabama politics, as the Congresswoman is only 43 years old and was expected to continue to run for reelection next year.
While she did not give a reason for her upcoming departure, several of the state’s incumbents districts will be merged if the expected loss of a district happens as predicted and somebody will lose their seat.
If Alabama goes from seven to six Congressional Districts, there will be a scrum in Montgomery as state legislators fight over which regions of the state will lose power with districts being combined.
While it may not be the 2nd Congressional District that gets merged in with another district, Roby is not going to wait to find out and it will be her replacement that will have to fight to keep their seat. The district stretches from Montgomery to the Alabama Wiregrass Region surrounding Dothan.
Candidates are lining up now to run for the seat, with the party primary election set for March 3, 2020. This region is strongly conservative and the winner of the Republican primary will be the prohibitive favorite to serve as the next representative for this district.
The decision on whether Alabama will lose or keep its Congressional districts as is will be decided after the calculations are made following next year’s census.
However, do not be surprised to see other shoes drop as we approach the final outcome on redistricting.