Covington County moves to District 1 in new congressional map for Alabama

Published 9:15 am Saturday, October 7, 2023

A three-judge panel has selected a new state congressional map that brings changes to the state’s southern-most districts, including Covington County.

Prior to selection of the new map, Covington County was in District 2, currently represented by Barry Moore of Enterprise.

With the new map, Covington joins Houston, Dale, Henry, Coffee, and Geneva as new counties within Dist. 1, joining Escambia, Baldwin and a portion of Mobile counties, remaining in the district. Dist. 1 is currently represented by Jerry Carl.

The panel of judges selected from three proposed maps drawn by a special master appointed by the court after efforts by state legislators failed to produce a map deemed acceptable by the court.

Last year, the three-judge court ruled that Alabama’s map likely violated the Voting Rights Act and in June the U.S. Supreme Court agreed.

The new map is designed to provide Black voters a ‘reasonable opportunity’ to win in at least two districts. Currently, Alabama has one Black majority district, Dist. 7 which is served by Democrat Terri Sewell. That district remains majority Black with the new map at 51.9 percent.

Under the new map, Dist. 2 is seen as the second best opportunity for Black candidates, where the Black voting population increased from 40 percent to 48.7 percent. The new Dist. 2 will consist of Pike, Barbour, Crenshaw, Conecuh, Monroe, Washington, Bullock, Macon, Russell, Montgomery, and a portion of Mobile county.

With the new districts, Dist. 1 has two incumbent U.S. Representatives within its borders — Carl and Moore.

The new map made no changes to Districts 3, 4, and 5 and only minimal changes to Districts 6 and 7.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall opposed all three map versions being considered by the panel, citing they are based on unconstitutional gerrymandering. Marshall said he does plan to appeal and pursue a trial in the case.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Wes Allen said his office will begin faciliating the new map for the 2024 election cycle.

“For years, we have been a part of the 2nd Congressional District,” said Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson. “The district lines previously have kept all of what we think of as the Wiregrass together. This new map puts all of Alabama’s southern-most counties, except Mobile County, which is divided in the new map, in one district. It now appears we have two incumbent members of the U.S. House of Representatives [who could run] against each other in 2024.

“These are very unusual circumstances,” he said. “Congressman Barry Moore has maintained an office in Andalusia City Hall and his staff has been very responsive to local residents. He has not yet announced if he will seek reelection in the newly-drawn district.

“Congressman Jerry Carl, who currently represents AL1, has announced that he will seek re-election. He has been in communication with community leaders in Covington County since it first became evident in the Alabama Legislature’s Special Session earlier this summer that the lines would be moved and Covington County would be in his district. He has reached out to me personally and am very pleased to see him take such an interest in all that we have happening here.”