Alabama's 6th congressional district

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Coordinates: 33°18′35.54″N 86°44′23.31″W / 33.3098722°N 86.7398083°W / 33.3098722; -86.7398083

Alabama's 6th congressional district
Alabama US Congressional District 6 (since 2013).tif
Alabama's 6th congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
U.S. RepresentativeGary Palmer (RVestavia Hills)
Area4,649 sq mi (12,040 km2)
Distribution
  • 69.17[1]% urban
  • 30.83% rural
Population (2016)706,308[2]
Median income$61,413
Ethnicity
Occupation
Cook PVIR+26[3]

Alabama's 6th congressional district is a United States congressional district in Alabama that elects a representative to the United States House of Representatives. It is composed of the wealthier portions of Birmingham, nearly all of Jefferson County outside Birmingham, and the entirety of Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Coosa, and Shelby counties.

It is currently represented by Republican Gary Palmer.

Character[edit]

Once encompassing all of Birmingham and Jefferson County, Alabama's 6th Congressional District is now the suburban Birmingham-area district, with nearly all of the urban precincts having been removed since 1992. Due to a continual process of redistricting by Republican state governments since the late 1990s, the 6th District has taken on an increasingly unusual shape (typical of gerrymandered districts) and become one of the most Republican districts in the country. In 2004 it voted 78% for Republican George W. Bush in the presidential election (in keeping with the current proportion of white majority of its population). John McCain swept the district in 2008, taking 75.91% of the vote while Barack Obama received 23.28%.

The demography of the district consists mostly of middle and upper middle-class white-collar white families whose adults work in Birmingham. Increasingly, the population of the Birmingham districts has become racially and politically polarized. Since the 1990s, most wealthier whites moved from the city to the suburbs, settling in newer housing in nearby Shelby County (which increased in population by 44% in the 1990s and is now more than 90% white). The African American population of the region has remained largely in more urban areas, even as the upper-class live in income-related neighborhoods.

Birmingham was once the vanguard district for steel production and metalworking in the South, but restructuring of heavy industries hollowed out the economy of the city, taking many jobs with it. The economy of the 6th district since the late 20th century has centered on the banking industry (Birmingham is the second-largest banking area in the South) and health care/medical research. Voters are socially conservative; however, fiscal conservatism is the most salient feature of this district.

History[edit]

Alabama's 6th Congressional District was originally created in 1843. It encompassed the northeastern portion of Alabama, approximately the modern counties of DeKalb, Jackson, Madison, Marshall, Etowah, St. Clair, Blount and Cullman.

The district had a population of 66,111 as of the 1840 U.S. Census, which made it the second least populous district in Alabama.[4] Neither Cullman County nor Etowah County existed at the time, so only the eastern portion of what today is Cullman County was in the district. In the case of St. Clair County, it appears that only about half of St. Clair County in 1843 was in the district.

The district was redrawn in 1855. This was done in time for the election of representatives to the 34th Congress which was held August 6, 1855. The new boundaries put Cherokee County in the 6th District and removed St. Clair County. These boundaries remained in place until the Civil War.

When Alabama again elected representatives to the U.S. Congress in 1868 for the halfway completed 40th Congress, the 6th District consisted of northwestern Alabama. The only county remaining in the district from before was Blount County. It also encompassed Jefferson, Marion, Walker, Morgan, Limestone, Franklin, Lauderdale and Winston counties. Colbert County did not exist at the time, but was part of Franklin County. This was one of the areas of Alabama where the Democrats soonest regained control after the Civil War.

In 1876, the 6th District was redrawn again. The sixth-most northern counties (including Colbert County which now existed) were transferred to the new Alabama 8th Congressional District, while the six counties southwestward from Jefferson County were transferred to the 6th District.

This set of boundaries only existed for one election. By the time of the 1878 election, Cullman County had been formed. It was in the 6th District, but Blount County was moved to the 8th District. The boundaries did not exactly correspond to county lines at that time, and with another change in county boundaries by 1880 even more area in the general vicinity of Blount County was moved to the 7th District. This process was continued in 1884 with the removal of Cullman County from the district.

The year of 1892 saw more changes in the boundaries of the 6th District. Winston County was moved to the 7th District. At the same time Jefferson County was placed in the new 9th District. By this time the 6th District consisted of west central Alabama. In the 1892 election there were about 22,000 votes cast in the 6th District as opposed to 30,000 cast in the 9th District.[5]

In 1902, Perry County and some other areas in the southern portion of Alabama's 9th Congressional District were transferred to the 6th District. The state legislature did not redistrict for several decades, resulting in urban and industrial areas being under-represented in congressional and state districts. It was forced to redistrict after a 1972 Supreme Court case based on the principle of one man-one vote.

Voting[edit]

Election results from statewide races
Year Office Results
2016 President Trump 71 - 26%
2012 President Romney 74 - 25%
2008 President McCain 76 - 23%
2004 President Bush 78 - 22%
2000 President Bush 74 - 25%

List of members representing the district[edit]

Congress Representative Party Years Electoral history
District created March 4, 1843
28th
29th
Governor Reuben Chapman.jpg
Reuben Chapman
Democratic March 4, 1843 –
March 3, 1847
Redistricted from the at-large district.
Re-elected in 1842.
Re-elected in 1844.
30th
31st
32nd
33rd
34th
35th
36th
Williamson Robert Winfield Cobb Democratic March 4, 1847 –
January 30, 1861
Elected in 1846.
Re-elected in 1848.
Re-elected in 1850.
Re-elected in 1852.
Re-elected in 1854.
Re-elected in 1856.
Re-elected in 1858.
Withdrew.
36th
37th
38th
39th
40th
Vacant January 30, 1861 –
July 21, 1868
Civil War and Reconstruction
40th Hon. Thomas Haughey, Ala. Surgeon, U.S. Army - NARA - 527423.jpg
Thomas Haughey
Republican July 21, 1868 –
March 3, 1869
Elected to finish the partial term.
41st William Crawford Sherrod - Brady-Handy.jpg
William Crawford Sherrod
Democratic March 4, 1869 –
March 3, 1871
Elected in 1868.
42nd
43rd
Joseph Humphrey Sloss Democratic March 4, 1871 –
March 3, 1875
Elected in 1870.
Re-elected in 1872.
44th
45th
GWHewitt.jpg
Goldsmith W. Hewitt
Democratic March 4, 1875 –
March 3, 1879
Elected in 1874.
Re-elected in 1876.
46th Burwell Boykin Lewis Democratic March 4, 1879 –
October 1, 1880
Elected in 1878.
Resigned to become President of the University of Alabama.
Vacant October 1, 1880 –
December 8, 1880
Newton Nash Clements Democratic December 8, 1880 –
March 3, 1881
Elected to finish Lewis's term.
47th
48th
GWHewitt.jpg
Goldsmith W. Hewitt
Democratic March 4, 1881 –
March 3, 1885
Elected in 1880.
Re-elected in 1882.
49th John Mason Martin Democratic March 4, 1885 –
March 3, 1887
Elected in 1884.
50th
51st
52nd
53rd
54th
55th
56th
57th
58th
59th
JohnHBankhead.jpg
John H. Bankhead
Democratic March 4, 1887 –
March 3, 1907
Elected in 1886.
Re-elected in 1888.
Re-elected in 1890.
Re-elected in 1892.
Re-elected in 1894.
Re-elected in 1896.
Re-elected in 1898.
Re-elected in 1900.
Re-elected in 1902.
Re-elected in 1904.
60th
61st
62nd
63rd
Lieut Richmond Pearson Hobson 001.jpg
Richmond P. Hobson
Democratic March 4, 1907 –
March 3, 1915
Elected in 1906.
Re-elected in 1908.
Re-elected in 1910.
Re-elected in 1912.
64th
65th
66th
67th
68th
69th
70th
71st
72nd
73rd
74th
William Bacon Oliver2.jpg
William B. Oliver
Democratic March 4, 1915 –
January 3, 1937
Elected in 1914.
Re-elected in 1916.
Re-elected in 1918.
Re-elected in 1920.
Re-elected in 1922.
Re-elected in 1924.
Re-elected in 1926.
Re-elected in 1928.
Re-elected in 1930.
Re-elected in 1932.
Re-elected in 1934.
75th
76th
77th
78th
79th
80th
PeteJarman.jpg
Pete Jarman
Democratic January 3, 1937 –
January 3, 1949
Elected in 1936.
Re-elected in 1938.
Re-elected in 1940.
Re-elected in 1942.
Re-elected in 1944.
Re-elected in 1946.
81st
82nd
E DeGraffenried.jpg
Edward deGraffenried
Democratic January 3, 1949 –
January 3, 1953
Elected in 1948.
Re-elected in 1950.
83rd
84th
85th
86th
87th
Armistead Selden.jpg
Armistead I. Selden Jr.
Democratic January 3, 1953 –
January 3, 1963
Elected in 1952.
Re-elected in 1954.
Re-elected in 1956.
Re-elected in 1958.
Re-elected in 1960.
Redistricted to the at-large district.
88th Vacant January 3, 1963 –
January 3, 1965
District inactive, all representatives elected at-large on a general ticket
89th
90th
91st
92nd
93rd
94th
95th
96th
John Hall Buchanan, Jr.jpg
John H. Buchanan Jr.
Republican January 3, 1965 –
January 3, 1981
Elected in 1964.
Re-elected in 1966.
Re-elected in 1968.
Re-elected in 1970.
Re-elected in 1972.
Re-elected in 1974.
Re-elected in 1976.
Re-elected in 1978.
97th Albert Lee Smith, Jr.jpg
Albert L. Smith Jr.
Republican January 3, 1981 –
January 3, 1983
Elected in 1980.
98th
99th
100th
101st
102nd
Ben Erdreich 102nd Congress 1991.png
Ben Erdreich
Democratic January 3, 1983 –
January 3, 1993
Elected in 1982.
Re-elected in 1984.
Re-elected in 1986.
Re-elected in 1988.
Re-elected in 1990.
103rd
104th
105th
106th
107th
108th
109th
110th
111th
112th
113th
Spencer Bachus official photo.jpg
Spencer Bachus
Republican January 3, 1993 –
January 3, 2015
Elected in 1992.
Re-elected in 1994.
Re-elected in 1996.
Re-elected in 1998.
Re-elected in 2000.
Re-elected in 2002.
Re-elected in 2004.
Re-elected in 2006.
Re-elected in 2008.
Re-elected in 2010.
Re-elected in 2012.
114th
115th
116th
Gary Palmer official portrait.jpg
Gary Palmer
Republican January 3, 2015 –
present
Elected in 2014.
Re-elected in 2016.
Re-elected in 2018.

Previous election results[edit]

2002[edit]

Alabama's 6th Congressional District House Election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Spencer T. Bachus III* 178,171 90%
Libertarian J. Holden McAllister 19,639 10%
Write-in Write-ins 536 0.27%
Majority 158,532 80%
Total votes 198,346 100%
Republican hold

2004[edit]

Alabama's 6th Congressional District House Election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Spencer T. Bachus III* 264,819 99%
Write-in Write-ins 3,224 1%
Majority 261,595 98%
Total votes 268,043 100%
Republican hold

2006[edit]

Alabama's 6th Congressional District House Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Spencer T. Bachus III* 163,514 98%
Write-in Write-ins 2,786 2%
Majority 160,728 96%
Total votes 166,300 100%
Republican hold

2008[edit]

Alabama's 6th Congressional District House Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Spencer T. Bachus III* 280,902 98%
Write-in Write-ins 6,335 2%
Majority 274,567 96%
Total votes 287,237 100%
Republican hold

2010[edit]

Alabama's 6th Congressional District House Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Spencer T. Bachus III* 205,288 100%
Majority 205,288 100%
Total votes 205,288 100%
Republican hold

2012[edit]

Alabama's 6th Congressional District House Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Spencer T. Bachus III* 219,016 71%
Democratic Penny Bailey 88,102 29%
Majority 130,914 42%
Total votes 307,118 100%
Republican hold

2014[edit]

Alabama's 6th Congressional District House Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Gary Palmer 135,935 76%
Democratic Mark Lester 42,291 24%
Majority 93,754 52%
Total votes 178,449 100%
Republican hold

2016[edit]

Alabama 6th congressional district election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gary Palmer* 245,313 74.96%
Democratic David Putnam 83,709 24.95%
No party Write-ins 284 0.09%
Total votes 329,306 100.00%
Turnout  
Republican hold

Living former Members[edit]

As of April 2015, there are three former members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Alabama's 6th congressional district that are currently living. The most recent representative to die was John H. Buchanan, Jr., March 5, 2018 (1965-1981)

Representative Term in office Date of birth (and age)
Ben Erdreich 1983 - 1993 (1938-12-09) December 9, 1938 (age 80)
Spencer Bachus 1993 - 2015 (1947-12-28) December 28, 1947 (age 70)

Historical district boundaries[edit]

2003 - 2013

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Geography, US Census Bureau. "Congressional Districts Relationship Files (state-based)". www.census.gov.
  2. ^ Bureau, Center for New Media & Promotion (CNMP), US Census. "My Congressional District". www.census.gov.
  3. ^ "Partisan Voting Index – Districts of the 115th Congress" (PDF). The Cook Political Report. April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  4. ^ Parson, Stanley B., William W. Beach and Michael J. Durbin. United States Congressional Districts and Data, 1843-1883 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1986) p. 1
  5. ^ United States Congressional Elections. Michael J. Dubin. p. 295