Since 1980, 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; see Dixiecrat.
In 2004, George W. Bush won Alabama's nine electoral votes by a margin of 25 percentage points with 62.5% of the vote. The eleven counties that voted Democratic are part of the Black Belt counties, where African Americans are the majority racial group.
On January 10, 2007, Rep. Artur Davis announced that he would not run for the seat. Despite voting heavily for George W. Bush in 2004, Alabama still had a strong Democratic presence in 2008, and Democrats controlled majorities in both chambers in the Alabama Legislature. Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Ron Sparks appeared to be preparing for a run, but on June 12, 2007, he announced that he would not seek the Senate seat, in order to avoid a primary battle with State Senator Vivian Davis Figures.
Poll results showed Sessions with an exceptionally comfortable lead, which was verified by the election results. CQ Politics rated this race as 'Republican Favored'.The Cook Political Report considered it 'Solid Republican'.The Rothenberg Political Report considered it a 'Safe Republican'.