The Almanac of American Politics 2014by Michael Barone, Chuck McCutcheon, Sean Trende, Josh Kraushaar
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The Almanac of American Politics is the gold standard—the book that everyone involved, invested, or interested in American politics must have on their reference shelf. Continuing the tradition of accurate and up-to-date information, the 2014 almanac includes new and updated profiles of every member of Congress and every state governor. These profiles cover everything from expenditures to voting records, interest-group ratings, and, of course, politics. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories. The new edition contains Michael Barone’s sharp-eyed analysis of the 2012 election, both congressional and presidential, exploring how the votes fell and what they mean for future legislation. The almanac also provides comprehensive coverage of the changes brought about by the 2010 census and has been reorganized to align with the resulting new districts.
Like every edition since the almanac first appeared in 1972, the 2014 edition is helmed by veteran political analyst Michael Barone. Together with Chuck McCutcheon, collaborator since 2012, and two new editors, Sean Trende, senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics, and Josh Kraushaar, managing editor at National Journal, Barone offers an unparalleled perspective on contemporary politics.
Full of maps, census data, and detailed information about the American political landscape, the 2014 Almanac of American Politics remains the most comprehensive resource for journalists, politicos, business people, and academics.
“It’s simply the oxygen of the political world. We have the most dog-eared copy in town.”
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The Almanac of American Politics 2014
THE Senators, THE Representatives AND THE Governors: THEIR Records AND Election Results, THEIR States AND Districts
By Michael Barone, Chuck McCutcheon, Sean Trende, Josh Kraushaar, David Wasserman
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESSCopyright © 2013 National Journal
All rights reserved.
* ALABAMA *
although the French founded Mobile near the Gulf of Mexico in 1702, the interior of Alabama remained Indian country until 1814, when Andrew Jackson defeated the Red Stick band of the Creek Indians at Horseshoe Bend, in what is now Tallapoosa County. Jackson immediately imposed a treaty on the Red Sticks and on his own Indian allies expropriating almost all of what five years later became the state of Alabama. The Indians were removed, as Jackson insisted, and the first white settlers poured in, farmers from Tennessee sweeping into the red clay hills in the north. You can see their early Greek Revival buildings in historic Huntsville, surrounded by the boomtown that has grown up around the Marshall Space Flight Center. But the coolness of the classical columns is misleading. Alabama's first settlers brought the folkways of the Scots-Irish, a willingness to live and let live, but also a grim determination to avenge any insult to honor and to fight to the death against any threat to family or country. The second surge of settlement into Alabama came a decade later, when entrepreneurial Southern planters arrived with their slaves to pick cotton in the fertile Black Belt (named for its soil) in central Alabama, east and west of Montgomery. The interplay between the Scots-Irish farmers and the plantation grandees has run through Alabama politics ever since. The Jacksonians and planters were determined to secede from the Union after the election of Abraham Lincoln, and the first Confederate Congress convened, with Jefferson Davis taking the oath of office as president of the Confederacy, in the Alabama Capitol in February 1861.
After the Civil War, Alabama, like other Southern states, became solidly Democratic, with an angry populist accent. Birmingham, with its solid-iron Red Mountain, became the South's first steel producer in the 1880s. In the first half of the 20th century, Alabama politics was a struggle between plantation owners of the Black Belt and the local economic potentates called "the Big Mules" and populists who favored the New Deal. The latter included some influential and colorful figures—Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Sen. Lister Hill, 1952 vice presidential nominee John Sparkman, and Gov. "Kissin' Jim" Folsom.
Alabama went on to become, kicking and screaming, one of the birthplaces of the civil rights movement. Down the hill from the Capitol is the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, where in December 1955 the 26-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. led the boycott following Montgomery seamstress Rosa Parks' refusal to move to the back of the bus. A hundred miles north in Birmingham, two weeks after King penned his Letter from Birmingham Jail in 1963, Birmingham Police Commissioner Bull Connor, then Alabama's Democratic national committeeman, ordered police dogs and fire hoses to be turned on peaceful demonstrators. Four months later, four girls were killed when a bomb exploded in Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church. (The bombers were convicted in 1977, 2001 and 2002.) In March 1965, dozens of marchers, catalyzed by the murder of a young civil rights advocate in Marion, were beaten by police at Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge en route to Montgomery. Another activist was shot and killed in Lowndes County that August. These events had reverberations far beyond Alabama. In June 1963, President John F. Kennedy endorsed what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and in July 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act.
While Alabamians like Parks and King were leading the nation toward civil rights, Alabama's most prominent politician of the time, George Wallace, was pulling the other way. During his first term as governor, Wallace made national news in June 1963 by standing in a schoolhouse door to defy a federal court desegregation order. In 1964, Wallace ran in the Democratic presidential primaries against Lyndon Johnson and got surprising support outside the South in Indiana and Wisconsin. In 1968, as a third-party candidate, he won 13.5% of the popular vote and carried five states and 46 electoral votes. He ran in the Democratic primaries again in 1972, and was shot and partially paralyzed while campaigning. He had many national convention delegates and remained a formidable figure nationally until Jimmy Carter beat him in the 1976 Florida primary. In Alabama state politics, he was the central figure for three decades, winning the governorship in 1962, running his wife to succeed him in 1966 (she died midterm), regaining the governorship in 1970 and 1974, then running and winning one last time in 1982. He spent his final sad years apologizing for his acts, meeting with the student he tried to block in the schoolhouse door, and proclaiming, "The South has changed, and for the better." He died in September 1998.
During Wallace's last term as governor, in 1983, the state government started publishing a black heritage guide, and today civil rights tourism is a major business. Montgomery boasts artist Maya Lin's circular Civil Rights Memorial, Troy University's Rosa Parks Museum, the Dexter Parsonage, and the end point of the Selma-to-Montgomery march. The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, the Selma-to-Montgomery Interpretive Center in Lowndes County, and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site are all on the Alabama Civil Rights Museum Trail. It has helped to inspire other tourism trails, including the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the Scenic River Trail, and the Bass Trail.
Economically, Alabama in recent years has been gaining ground lost during the Wallace years. While Atlanta was peacefully desegregating and beginning decades of vibrant white-collar growth, Birmingham was violently resisting the civil rights movement, only to see its once substantial blue-collar base in the steel industry shrink and its most talented residents of all races flee to calmer climes. Automobiles have played a major part in Alabama's growth, and not just at the Talladega NASCAR racetrack or the Porsche Sport Driving School in Leeds. Mercedes chose a site near Tuscaloosa for its first American plant in 1997, while Honda has a big plant in Talladega County and Hyundai has one in Montgomery. These operations spawned dozens of auto supplier and subcontractor firms. ThyssenKrupp built a big steel mill north of Mobile (but put it on sale in fall 2012) and Carpenter Technologies built another in Morgan County in the north. Airbus, which planned a big assembly plant near Mobile if it won the contract for the Air Force's new refueling tanker, lost out on the contract but decided to build a plant there for its A320 airliners. Unions have tried to organize these plants without success. About 10% of Alabama's workers belong to unions, but most are public employees, like the teachers of the politically potent Alabama Education Association.
Alabama is now one of the top states for auto production, and the new manufacturing jobs tend to pay better than the textile jobs which, aside from Birmingham steel, dominated its industrial sector in the past. Still, manufacturing makes for volatile employment. Alabama's unemployment rate was only 3.6% in October 2007 but zoomed during the recession to 10.5% in fall 2009, then fell to 7.2% in March 2012 as demand for Alabama models rebounded. The state has other economic assets. The Redstone Arsenal and Marshall Space Flight Center near Huntsville have been big job generators, and a new Raytheon missile integration facility opened in 2012. The economy in northern Alabama suffered a setback when tornadoes hit the area in April 2011, killing 253 people and destroying more than 5,000 homes. But, in contrast to the Wallace years, there has been net migration into Alabama for more than a decade; blacks have remained 26% of the population, while the percentage of Hispanics more than doubled to 3.9% in 2010.
In the 30 years since George Wallace's name last appeared on an Alabama ballot, the state has become solidly Republican in national politics. But for many years, most talented state politicians were Democrats, and Democratic interest groups—the AEA, the major black political associations, the trial lawyers—backed attractive statewide candidates against, in many cases, inexperienced Republicans. Democrats remained competitive in governor races from 1990 through 2002. Although Republicans for a time were rent by divisions between affluent suburbanites and white evangelical Protestants, they made breakthroughs in state Supreme Court races and down-ballot statewide offices in the 2000s. And in 2002, Republican Bob Riley narrowly defeated incumbent Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman, even as the latter carried the central cities, the Black Belt, and many poor, white rural counties in the north.
In 2010, the spotlight was on two very different candidates for governor: Artur Davis, the black U.S. House member running as a moderate, and former Chief Justice Roy Moore, a Republican whose placing of a huge model of the Ten Commandments in the Supreme Court building in 2001 triggered a controversy that resulted in his removal from the bench. But in the GOP primary in June, Moore finished fourth, with only 19% of the vote. The more consequential result was the 166-vote margin by which state Rep. Robert Bentley beat Tim James, the son of former Republican Gov. Fob James, in the first round of primary voting. The results moved Bentley ahead to a runoff, and in that contest, he prevailed 56%-44% over Bradley Byrne, a former state senator and college system chancellor who had Riley's backing. In the Democratic primary, Davis was beaten 62%-38% by Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, a white candidate who was supported by prominent black organizations. Some 493,000 votes were cast in the Republican primary, more than the 318,000 cast in the Democratic primary—a vivid contrast with 1986, the year that Wallace retired, when 830,000 Alabamians voted in the Democratic primary and only 25,000 participated in the GOP primary.
In the general election, Bentley beat Sparks 58% to 42%. Voters rejected by a similar margin a ballot proposition, supported by Sparks, to divert $100 million of Gulf natural gas royalties to highway construction. They evidently preferred Bentley's no-new-taxes pledge and his proposal for business tax deductions for firms hiring unemployed workers. There were Republican victories up and down the line. Democratic Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr., who served as governor when the Mercedes plant deal was made, was defeated for reelection 51%-48%. And GOP Sen. Richard Shelby was reelected with 65%. In 2008, Democrats secured three of the state's seven seats in the U.S. House.
Democrats' longstanding majorities in the state legislature disappeared in 2010. Some incumbents lost because they violated a policy of holding part-time jobs in state two-year colleges. But there was damage to the party brand even in the old Tennessee Valley Authority country in north Alabama. Republicans ended up with a 22-12-1 margin in the state Senate and 66-39 in the state House—the first Republican majorities since 1874. In 2011, Bentley and the legislature cut spending as revenues came in lower than expected; Bentley backed an amendment to use $146 million each of the next three years from the $2.5 billion trust fund to meet expenses and stoutly opposed any tax increase.
Although the 2010 census showed only 4% of Alabama residents are Hispanic, concentrated in several counties with low-wage textile mills, the legislature was determined to restrict or discourage illegal immigration, and in June 2011, passed a bill, signed by Bentley, that required all adults to carry government identification and all employers to use E-Verify to determine the citizenship status of employees. It required public schools to determine the status of students and their parents, criminalized rental of houses to illegal immigrants, and barred businesses from deducting wages paid to them. It went into effect in September, with some embarrassing results: A Mercedes company executive was arrested and jailed because he could show only a German identification card. Bentley defensively declared, "We are not anti-foreign companies. We are very pro-foreign companies." In October, a federal appeals court barred enforcement of some provisions, and there was evidence that Latinos were leaving Alabama.
Presidential Politics Alabama has been solidly Republican in presidential politics for three decades. John McCain won it 60%-39% in 2008 and Mitt Romney won it four years later by a nearly identical 61%-38%. Nearly 100% of the state's African-Americans voted for Barack Obama and well over 80% of whites for the Republicans, in both elections. These margins were in line with the Republicans' margin in the popular vote in Alabama for U.S. House seats, 67%-31% in 2010 and (with no Democratic candidate in the 1st District) 64%-36% in 2012.
Alabama moved its traditional June primary to Super Tuesday, February 5, for the 2008 cycle, in hopes of getting national attention. But it was predictably overshadowed by larger states voting that day. For the first time, more votes were cast for Republican candidates (552,000) than for Democrats (537,000). In 2008, Mike Huckabee, with big margins in Jacksonian northern counties, edged McCain 41%-37%, with 18% for Romney. Among Democrats in 2008, Obama won 56%-42%. In 2012, Alabama voted in the second week of March, on the same day as Mississippi and a week after Republican Newt Gingrich won big in Georgia and Romney narrowly carried Ohio over Rick Santorum in GOP primaries. No candidate spent much time or money in Alabama, and Santorum won with 35%, to 29% each for Gingrich and Romney.
Congressional Redistricting In 2010, Republicans won back the state legislature for the first time in 136 years, granting them exclusive power to redistrict. After the 2000 census, Democrats drew a fairly partisan map with an eye towards holding onto the Huntsville area 5th District and gaining the 3rd District in the east-central part of the state. Democrats did unexpectedly pick up the heavily GOP 2nd District for a term in 2008, but were never able to defeat Republican Mike Rogers in the 3rd and held the 5th only until 2009.
So in 2011, Republicans simply unraveled the Democrats' old map. They solidified Brooks by moving the old Yellow Dog stronghold of Colbert County into the 4th District and boosted their other freshman, Republican Martha Roby, by moving most of Montgomery's black precincts back into the African-American packed 7th District. Republicans have likely locked Democrats out of six of the state's seven seats for the foreseeable future.
Republican Robert Bentley came out of nowhere to be elected governor of Alabama in 2010, succeeding term-limited GOP Gov. Bob Riley. Bentley joked that not even his wife gave him a chance when he launched his campaign. Since taking office, however, he has been criticized for passivity and has had trouble earning the respect of fellow Republican lawmakers.
Bentley grew up in rural Columbiana, southeast of Birmingham, where his father worked at a saw mill. He put himself through college at the University of Alabama, majoring in chemistry and biology and earning a bachelor's degree in three years. Fulfilling a childhood dream to become a doctor, he went on to Alabama's medical school and received his M.D. in 1968. It was the height of the Vietnam era, and Bentley joined the Air Force. He was commissioned as a captain and served as a general medical officer at Pope Air Force Base at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. After completing his three-year residency, he moved to Tuscaloosa to start what became a successful dermatology practice.
Bentley entered politics in 2002 by winning a seat in the state House of Representatives with nearly 65% of the vote. He was an advocate of conservative causes, such as lowering taxes, and he was the main force behind revising the state's organ donor laws. But he was never known as a rhetorical firebrand, displaying a low-key and mild-mannered style. He was reelected without opposition in 2006, and in 2010, introduced a constitutional amendment to freeze property taxes for homeowners.
Excerpted from The Almanac of American Politics 2014 by Michael Barone, Chuck McCutcheon, Sean Trende, Josh Kraushaar, David Wasserman. Copyright © 2013 National Journal. Excerpted by permission of THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS.
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Meet the Author
Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner and a Fox News Channel contributor. Chuck McCutcheon is a freelance writer and editor in Washington, DC. Sean Trende is a senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. Josh Kraushaar is the managing editor of politics at National Journal.
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