Shomari Figures Poised to Make History in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District Runoff

Shomari Figures Poised to Make History in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District Runoff

Former US Justice Department official Shomari Figures is expected to win the Democratic primary runoff in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, a seat that was reconfigured under a new map, perhaps resulting in two Black House members from Alabama serving together for the first time in history.

Figures is expected to defeat state House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels in the runoff election, which was called after neither received more than 50% of the vote in a crowded 11-candidate first round last month. The Republican primary was also determined in a runoff Tuesday, with real estate lawyer Caroline Dobson defeating former state Sen. Dick Brewbaker.

Figures will be the favorite against Dobson in November in a seat that spans the southern half of the state and would have supported President Joe Biden by 12 points in 2020. If Figures wins, he will most certainly make history alongside Rep. Terri Sewell, a fellow Black Democrat who is widely expected to win an eighth term in the neighboring deep blue seat. Alabama has never had two Black members of its congressional delegation serving simultaneously.

The new seat was created after a three-judge court approved a new map last fall that considerably increased the district’s Black population, offering a pickup chance for Democrats with control of the US House up for grabs in the next elections. The argument over Alabama’s new map went all the way to the US Supreme Court, which in a surprising vote upheld the panel’s opinion ordering the state to include a second Black-majority district or “something quite close to it.”

Former US Attorney General Eric Holder, who leads a national Democratic redistricting committee, stated that Tuesday’s election was “another step toward progress and increased voter turnout as a result of the state’s new, fair map.”

“Alabama voters now stand on the cusp of making history in November, when Black Alabamians could — for the first time — elect two members of Congress who truly reflect their political desires,” Holder said in a statement. Before the court move, Alabama, which is 27% Black, had one Black-majority district out of seven seats.

Before entering the campaign, Figures was the deputy chief of staff to US Attorney General Merrick Garland. He also served in the Obama administration and as a counsel to Congress.

Figures come from an influential family in Alabama politics. His late father, Michael Figures, was a state senator and lawyer who helped file a successful case against the United Klans of America and others for the hanging of a Black teenager in 1981, virtually bankrupting the organization. Shomari Figures’ mother, Vivian Davis Figures, succeeded her husband in the state Senate, where she continues to serve.

The 2nd District election attracted more than $8 million in total ad spending until Monday, including all sponsors during both the first primary contest and the runoff on both sides. A big influence on the Democratic side has been the establishment of a pro-Figures super PAC, Protect Progress, which is backed by bitcoin interests and has spent the most money on advertising in the campaign ($2.7 million).

Dobson’s campaign spent approximately $1.7 million on commercials through Monday, promoting herself as a “Trump conservative” and attacking her primary opponent, Brewbaker, as “just another tax-raising, Trump-hating politician.”

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