Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Alabama 3: Another Democratic Youngster Faces Battle

By Nathan L. Gonzales

Add 29-year-old attorney Josh Segall (D) to the list of young candidates running for office.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently included Segall’s bid in Alabama’s 3rd district on its list of emerging races — notable races not yet worthy of the committee’s “Red to Blue” program. The Democrat raised more than $300,000 through May 14 and plans to show more than $550,000 raised through June.

But if early polling is any indication, Segall will need considerable resources against incumbent Rep. Mike Rogers (R), who started the race in good standing — especially considering the national political environment — and had almost $950,000 in the bank through the middle of May.

A Nov. 16-20, 2007, Anzalone Liszt Research survey conducted for Segall before he entered the race showed Rogers with 58 percent favorable/14 percent unfavorable ratings. Rogers’ re-election number was only 40 percent, but a mere 12 percent said they would vote to replace him. And the Congressman’s job-approval rating was 63 percent excellent or good compared to 20 percent not so good or poor.

The Segall campaign plans to take another poll in mid-July.

Approximately one-third of the 3rd district’s population is African-American, fueling excitement among Democrats that with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D) at the top of the ticket, they can make major inroads — even though President Bush won the district with 58 percent in 2004.

Democrats redrew the district following the 2000 census, included a sizable black vote, and planned to take over the seat. But Rogers proved to be a tremendous fundraiser, and won the open seat narrowly in 2002, 50.3 percent to 48.2 percent, over businessman Joe Turnham (D) in one of the hottest races in the country.

Two years later, Rogers took 61 percent against former state House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Fuller (D). And in 2006, Rogers won re-election with 59 percent.

This item first appeared on on June 30, 2008. 2008 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.