The battle for the Alabama House and Alabama Senate has already ended. Democrats did not file candidates in a majority of either chamber, meaning that Republicans have already won flat-out majorities in both chambers. There are 58 Uncontested Republican seats in the House out of 105 seats, and there are 19 Uncontested Republican seats in the Senate out of 35 seats.
Not only have Republicans won both chambers by simply filing in a majority of the districts, but our forecast shows that it is certain that the Republicans will hold their supermajorities in both chambers, with a >99% chance of supermajorities in both chambers.
In the House there are three competitive seats, with two being held by Democrats.
The first is District 85, which has all of Henry County and most of the town of Dothan. Incumbent Democrat Dexter Grimsley is seeking another term in his overwhelmingly Republican district: it went to Trump by 15 points in 2020. Grimsley has been able to win tough races before; he did 24 points better than Biden’s 2020 margin in his 2018 re-election. Grimsley will face Payne Henderson (R) in the general election. We’ve got this seat as Tilt Republican.
The other seat that Democrats hold that’s at risk of flipping is District 68 in the Black Belt which went to Biden by 6 points. Democratic incumbent Thomas “Action” Jackson, who has represented the area since the early 1990s, will finally face a Republican this year, Fred Kelley. Despite Jackson’s nearly three-decade incumbency advantage, we’ve seen districts like this flip before in Republican-friendly environments. We also don’t know if Jackson knows how to run in a competitive race, so he may be at a disadvantage. Our rating for this district is Tilt Democratic.
The final competitive district sits in Huntsville, and it’s the only opportunity Democrats have to flip in their column. District 10 is an open Trump +1 seat that will be difficult for Democrats to flip in a red wave environment, but a blue wave midterm probably flips the seat. This year though, we’ve got the race as Likely Republican.
In the State Senate there are two competitive seats, one held by a Democrat and the other held by a Republican.
The Black Belt features another competitive seat here in District 23, a Biden +12 seat where incumbent Democrat Malika Sanders-Fortier has opted out of re-election to run for Governor, she will compete against Yolanda Rochelle Flowers in the runoff primary. Sanders-Fortier did not face a Republican in her 2018 election, she faced an Independent instead. With low enough black turnout, this district could flip. Our rating for the seat sits at Likely Democratic.
The other competitive seat sits in Huntsville, where incumbent Republican Tom Butler is running for re-election in a district that went to Trump by 1 point. Butler only did half a point better in his 2018 election than Trump’s 2020 margin when he had a slightly redder district. The Huntsville area is trending leftward, and as a result Butler could be in some trouble this year. Still, it’s hard to see a Trump-won district in Alabama flipping, so we have this seat as Likely Republican.
Given the lack of competition in both chambers, don’t expect a lot of change in the Alabama legislature. The gerrymander in place has eliminated opportunities for both parties to make substantial gains, especially for the Democrats. Democrats are on defense this year here, but they don’t have a lot of seats they have to sweat over.
The best-case scenario for the Democrats is having a net gain of 1 seat in each chamber. For the Republicans, it’s a net gain of 2 seats in the House, and one seat in the Senate.