The 1996 United States Senate election in Alabama was held on November 5, 1996. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Howell Heflin decided to retire. Republican Jeff Sessions won the open seat, becoming just the second Republican U.S. Senator elected to represent Alabama since Reconstruction.
Since 1980, conservative Alabama voters have increasingly voted for Republican candidates at the Federal level, especially in Presidential elections. By contrast, Democratic candidates have been elected to many state-level offices and, until 2010, comprised a longstanding majority in the Alabama Legislature.
Three-term incumbentHowell Heflin decided not to seek re-election. A 75-year old moderate-to-conservative Democrat, who was re-elected in 1990 with over 60% remained to date the last member of the Democratic Party who won a Senate seat in Republican-turning Alabama (his colleague, Richard Shelby, elected twice as a Democrat, switched to Republican in 1994 and still remains in Senate).