|Poll||Date||Sample||Brooks (R)||Raby (D)||Spread|
|Final Results||--||--||57.9||42.1||Brooks +15.8|
|2008: Griffith (D) 51%, Parker (R) 48%||2008: McCain (R) 61%, Obama (D) 38%|
|2006: Cramer(D) 98%,||2004: Bush (R) 60%, Kerry (D) 39%|
|2004: Cramer (D) 73%, Wallace (R) 27%||2000: Bush (R) 54%, Gore (D) 44%|
Northern Alabama is in many ways a separate area from the state altogether. While the rest of the state is Deep South, this hardscrabble area is a part of Appalachia. Over the years it tended to eschew the conservative Democrats that characterized the rest of the state, instead sending more populist members to Congress. While most of Alabama at least toyed with voting for Eisenhower, the 5th (then the 8th) gave the Republican 20 percent of the vote; it continued to be the most heavily Democratic part of the state until African Americans began voting in large numbers elsewhere in the 1970s and 80s.
When the district came open after Ronnie Flippo’s retirement in 1990, the 37 percent of the vote the Republican candidate received against Democrat Bud Cramer was only the third time a Republican had received more than one-third of the vote in the district’s previous 100 years. When Cramer retired in 2006, Democrat Parker Griffith encountered a very different district. After a hard fought race, Griffith prevailed by only three points. Less than a year later, Griffith had had enough of the Democrats, and announced he was switching to the Republicans.
It was a fatal miscalculation. Griffith lost the Republican primary to Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks badly. Brooks will now face off against former congressional aide Steve Raby. We see 2010 as a very different year than 2008, and suspect that Griffith switched parties for a very good reason.