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.
Current Representative Gary Palmer (RVestavia Hills)
Area 4,649 sq mi (12,040 km2)
  • 69.17[1]% urban
  • 30.83% rural
Population (2016) 706,308[2]
Median income $61,413
Cook PVI R+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.


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.


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.


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 representatives[edit]

Congress Representative Party Years Notes
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
30th-36th No image.svg Williamson Robert Winfield Cobb March 4, 1847 – January 30, 1861
37th-39th (1861–1868) 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
41st William Crawford Sherrod - Brady-Handy.jpg William Crawford Sherrod Democratic March 4, 1869 – March 3, 1871
42nd-43rd No image.svg Joseph Humphrey Sloss March 4, 1871 – March 3, 1875
44th-45th GWHewitt.jpg Goldsmith W. Hewitt March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1879
46th No image.svg Burwell Boykin Lewis March 4, 1879 – October 1, 1880 Resigned after accepting position as President of the University of Alabama
46th No image.svg Newton Nash Clements December 8, 1880 – March 3, 1881
47th-48th GWHewitt.jpg Goldsmith W. Hewitt March 4, 1881 – March 3, 1885
49th No image.svg John Mason Martin March 4, 1885 – March 3, 1887
50th-59th JohnHBankhead.jpg John H. Bankhead March 4, 1887 – March 3, 1907
60th-63rd Lieut Richmond Pearson Hobson 001.jpg Richmond P. Hobson March 4, 1907 – March 3, 1915
64th-74th William Bacon Oliver2.jpg William B. Oliver March 4, 1915 – January 3, 1937
75th-80th PeteJarman.jpg Pete Jarman January 3, 1937 – January 3, 1949
81st-82nd E DeGraffenried.jpg Edward deGraffenried January 3, 1949 – January 3, 1953
83rd-87th Armistead Selden.jpg Armistead I. Selden, Jr. January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1963 Redistricted to the At-large district
88th January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1965 District inactive, all representatives elected At-large on a general ticket
89th-96th John Hall Buchanan, Jr.jpg John H. Buchanan, Jr. Republican January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1981
97th Albert Lee Smith, Jr.jpg Albert L. Smith, Jr. January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1983
98th-102nd Ben Erdreich 102nd Congress 1991.png Ben Erdreich Democratic January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1993
103rd-113th Spencer Bachus official photo.jpg Spencer Bachus Republican January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2015
114th- current Gary Palmer official portrait.jpg Gary Palmer January 3, 2015 –

Previous election results[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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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 {{{votes}}}
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 Albert L. Smith Jr. (1981-1993) on August 12, 1997.

Representative Term in office Date of birth (and age)
John Hall Buchanan, Jr. 1965-1981 (1928-04-19) April 19, 1928 (age 90)
Ben Erdreich 1983 - 1993 (1938-12-09) December 9, 1938 (age 79)
Spencer Bachus 1993 - 2015 (1947-12-28) December 28, 1947 (age 70)

Historical district boundaries[edit]

2003 - 2013

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  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