This is the third edition of a research project at PoliticusUSA known as Taking Back the House. You can check out the previous edition here. The purpose of this project is to analyze each Republican Congressional district in the United States and see how likely the district can go ‘Blue.’ To do this, I will take a look at the overall demographics of the district, as well as review the historical voting patterns and the record of the Congressperson representing the district. This series will run until we’ve looked at every single district in the country, which should take us right into the 2014 campaign season.
Congressional District: Alabama 4th
U.S. Representative: Robert Aderholt
Median Household Income: $36,336 (National Average: $51,017)
Unemployment Rate: 11.6% (National Rate: 7.2%)
Gender: 51% Female, 49% Male (National Percentages: 50.8% Female, 49.2% Male)
Age: 15.9% 65 and over (National Percentage: 12.8%)
Race: 87.9% White, 7.3% Black, 0.5% Asian (National Percentages: 72.4% White, 12.6% Black, 4.8% Asian)
Ethnicity: 94.4% Non-Hispanic, 5.6% Hispanic (National Percentages: 83.6% Non-Hispanic, 16.4% Hispanic)
Urban/Rural Population Split: Urban 34.6%, Rural 65.4% (National Split: 82% Urban, 18% Rural)
District Voting Patterns: Aderholt has served continuously in Congress since first being elected in 1996. He hasn’t had to deal with an election result closer than 20 points since 1998, when he defeated Democrat Don Bevill by 13 points. However, in his first campaign, he barely won. He defeated Democrat Robert T. Wilson, Jr. by a little over 3,000 votes. Prior to Aderholt taking office, the 4th District was a Democratic stronghold, as Tom Bevill (Don’s father) was a popular Congressman who was elected to 15 consecutive terms before retiring. Of course, Bevill was a carryover from the old Dixiecrat/George Wallace days of the Alabama Democratic Party.
In 2012, Aderholt was easily reelected, as he beat his opponent, Daniel H. Boman, by 48 points. In 2010, Aderholt ran completely unopposed. Back in 2008, while Aderholt did have an opponent, Democrat Nicholas Sparks, he won reelection by 50 points. The district went for Mitt Romney in the 2012 Presidential election by a margin of 51 points. In 2008, John McCain carried the district 73-26.
Congressional Activity by Aderholt: Aderholt is on the Appropriations Committee and is Chair of the Subcommittee on Agriculture and Rural Development. He is a member of the Tea Party Caucus. However, despite his membership in that caucus, he has been known in the past to secure quite a bit of pork for his district. That seems to fly in the face of ideology of limited government and domestic spending that the Tea Party is always spouting. Per OpenCongress, he votes with the Republican Party 94% of the time. He is one of the 144 Republicans who voted against raising the debt ceiling and reopening the federal government on October 16th.
Aderholt is known as being a rather staunch social conservative. He is opposed to same-sex marriage and is pro-life. He is also close friends with Roy Moore, more famously known as the ‘Ten Commandments Judge.’ He is also a big 2nd Amendment supporter and has received glowing reviews from the NRA. To top it all off, he is a climate change denier, as he refuses to believe that any changes in the Earth’s climate are related to human activities.
Notable Quotes by Aderholt:
“The issue of abortion and the sanctity of life is something that I feel strongly about and I encourage my colleagues to look for ways to curb and stop abortions in the United States, while compassionately educating on this important issue.” – Made at the March for Life rally in Washington on 1/22/2010.
“I fall into the second group of people who believe, as do many very credible scientists, that the earth is currently in a natural warming cycle rather than a man-made climate change.” – Op-Ed in The Daily Mountain Eagle on 12/13/2010. Aderholt wrote the piece to explain his position on climate change.
Odds of District Going Blue in 2014: None. It just isn’t going to happen. Sure, the unemployment rate is far greater than the nation as a whole. And the median income is more than 20% less than the rest of the nation. However, it seems pretty apparent that the voters in this district just don’t care. They love Aderholt, and if he decided to make a run at Senate or Governor in the future, they’d only vote Republican. It’s just that simple.
The district is overwhelmingly white and rural. Also, it trends older than the country as a whole. Aderholt’s constituents aren’t going to hold his vote to not raise the debt ceiling against him. In all likelihood, they support that stance. As long as Aderholt continues to be a white, bible-thumping, gay hatin’, gun lovin’, fetus saving, Obama despising, Tea Party conservative, they will continue to vote him in by 50 point margins.
Justin is the Managing Editor and a Contributing Writer for Politicus Sports, PoliticusUSA’s very own sports site. You can check out the site here.