Alabama's 6th Congressional District elections, 2012

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Alabama's 6th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
March 13, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Spencer Bachus Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Spencer Bachus Republican Party
Spencer Bachus.jpg

Alabama U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7

2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Alabama.png
The 6th Congressional District of Alabama held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.
This is the 6th Congressional District prior to the 2010 redistricting.

Spencer Bachus won re-election on November 6, 2012.[1]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
January 12, 2012
March 13, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Alabama has an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by March 3. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 28.[2]

See also: Alabama elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent was Spencer Bachus (R), who was first elected in 1992. He has not faced a major party opponent in a general election since 1998. In the years that Bachus has run for office, he has raised $11.7 million to support his congressional campaigns. Of that money, 56% was given to Bachus by PACs.[3]

The March 13 primary received national attention because the Super PAC Campaign for Primary Accountability targeted incumbent Bachus.[4][5][6]

Bachus was considered vulnerable in the primary because, as the Washington Post reported in early February 2012, he was under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) for possible violations of insider-trading laws.[7] It was the first time such a case has involved a member of Congress since the OCE was created in March 2009.[8][9]

The 6th District primary was called the top race to watch in Alabama.[10]

Despite all of the media attention, Bachus easily defeated his three challengers in the race without going to a runoff. He then defeated Penny Bailey in the November 6 general election.[11]

The 6th District is located in central Alabama and includes Bibb, Shelby, Childton and Coosa counties and portions of Blout and Jefferson counties.[12]

Candidates

General election candidates

Democratic Party Penny H. Bailey
Republican Party Spencer BachusGreen check mark transparent.png


March 13, 2012 primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Note: Justin Barkley was included on preliminary candidate lists, but he withdrew on January 27, 2012.[14]
Note: Stan Pate was included on preliminary candidate lists, but he withdrew on February 3, 2012.[15]

Election results

General Election

U.S. House, Alabama District 6 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Penny H. Bailey 28.6% 88,267
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSpencer Bachus Incumbent 71.2% 219,262
     Write-In N/A 0.2% 573
Total Votes 308,102
Source: Alabama Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Republican Primary

U.S. House, Alabama District 6 Republican Primary Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngSpencer Bachus Incumbent 58.5% 61,485
Scott Beason 27.4% 28,854
David Standridge 11.2% 11,728
Al Mickle 2.6% 2,781
Stan Pate 0.2% 190
Justin Barkley 0.1% 128
Total Votes 105,166

Democratic Primary

U.S. House, Alabama District 6 Democratic Primary Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngPenny H. Bailey 59.8% 4,529
William Barnes 40.2% 3,046
Total Votes 7,575

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Alabama

Alabama did not gain or lose any seats from the reapportionment after the 2010 census. The state population increased by more than 300,000 residents, about 7.5 percent.[16] The Alabama Legislative Committee on Reapportionment is responsible for drafting plans for redistricting and, with majorities in both the state Senate and state House and control of the governorship, Republicans were in charge for the first time in 12 decades.[16]

The map was passed by the legislature in June 2011, quickly signed by the governor and approved by the U.S. Department of Justice on November 21.[17] The map was expected to strengthen the seats of the Republican delegation, allowing them to hold on to their 6-1 majority.

The boundaries of the 6th District were largely unchanged during redistricting. One of the most Republican districts in the country, the 6th is oddly shaped and surrounds nearly all of the city of Birmingham.

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. Alabama's 6th District was projected as Safe Republican in 2012.[18]

  • 2012: 22D / 78R
  • 2010: 20D / 80R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measures each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. Alabama's 6th Congressional District has a PVI of R+28, which is the 3rd most Republican district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by John McCain (R), 75-25 percent over Barack Obama (D). In 2004, George W. Bush won the district 78-22 percent over John Kerry (D).[19]

Campaign contributions

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2012 elections season. Below are candidate reports.

Spencer Bachus

Spencer Bachus (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Pre-Primary[20]March 1, 2012$1,080,999.03$317,229.10$(751,979.51)$646,248.62
April Quarterly[21]April 13, 2012$646,248.62$505,455.67$(638,192.23)$513,512.06
Running totals
$822,684.77$(1,390,171.74)

Penny Bailey

Penny Bailey (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[22]April 19, 2012$0$10,243$(5,036.14)$5,206.86
Running totals
$10,243$(5,036.14)

Issues

Insider trading investigation

On February 9, 2012, the same day that the U.S. House voted 417-2 to pass new ethics requirements on legislators and federal agency officials, The Washington Post reported that Rep. Spencer Bachus was under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) for possible violations of insider-trading laws.[23] It was the first time such a case has involved a member of Congress since the OCE was created in March 2009.[8] The ethics bill began after a "60 Minutes" profile of Peter Schweizer's book "Throw Them All Out," which addressed stock trading in Congress, including activity by Bachus.[24]

In the summer of 2008, while as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Bachus made several options bets on railroads. On two occasions he bet the stock of Burlington Northern Railroad would rise - in July he made a $16,588 profit on the bet, while in August he lost $2,900.[8] In September 2008, Bachus, the highest ranking Republican member of the Financial Services Committee, took part in a closed-door meeting with then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The next day, Bachus placed trades betting the nation's financial markets would broadly decline, which netted him $5,715. The same day he made $12,713 on a bet that General Electric stock would rise. The book, however, stated incorrectly that Bachus bet GE's stock would fall. Schweizer conceded his mistake, but Bachus wrote to the publisher that “The book is absolutely false and factually inaccurate when it states that I ‘shorted General Electric options’ and did so ‘four times in a single day.’ ” He went on to say that no insider information was passed during the meeting.[8]

Bachus acknowledged on February 10 that he was the target of an investigation, but said he believes the inquiry will clear his name. In a statement, Bachus said, “I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight. I respect the congressional ethics process. I have fully abided by the rules governing Members of Congress and look forward to the full exoneration this process will provide.”[25]

Super PACs


Advertisement against Spencer Bachus sponsored by the Campaign for Primary Accountability.

Advertisement against Spencer Bachus sponsored by the Campaign for Primary Accountability.

Advertisement against Spencer Bachus sponsored by the Conservative Action Fund.

The Campaign for Primary Accountability, a Houston-based super PAC, had their sights set on defeating Spencer Bachus (R) in the 2012 primary. Curtis Ellis, a spokesman for the CPA, said "Incumbents like Mr. Bachus...are longtime passengers on the inside-the-beltway gravy train."[26] They backed Bachus' challenger in the Republican primary Scott Beason.

The CPA, which went after incumbents of both parties, stated on their website "Our goal is to bring true competition to our electoral process, to give voters real information about their choices, and to restore fair, not fixed, elections."[27] Bachus said he asked a friend from Houston to contact Leo Linbeck, the grandfather of Leo Linbeck III, one of the CPA's largest donors. He, however, has long been deceased.[28]

According to a Washington Post report, as of March 7 the CPA had spent $53,000 on TV ads and phone calls to Republican voters in Bachus's district.[29] A Politico report on March 9 said the CPA had spent $125,000 in the race.[30]

Following Bachus' win in the primary, he, along with some media outlets, tried to paint the victory as a clear defeat for the CPA, stating, "We overcame a lot of big money. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars distorting my record, but the voters of the 6th District didn't go for it."[31] According to a report in the LA Times, the group spent $322,000 in Alabama, targeting Bachus as well as congressman Jo Bonner in the 1st District. However, Bachus' campaign alone spent more than five times that sum, dumping $1.5 million into the primary.[32]

As of February 16, 2012, Bachus has been in office longer than 345 members of congress. Thirty-one have been in office the same number of years as Bachus, while 59 have been in office longer than him. In the Alabama delegation, he is the senior representative out of the seven members.

Endorsements

Republicans

Spencer Bachus
  • National Right to Life[33]
  • Business Council of Alabama[34]
  • National Association of REALTORS®.[35]
  • Birmingham News[36]
  • Former Governor Bob Riley[37]
  • U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions[38]
  • Central Alabama Fire Chief’s Association[39]

Democrats

Penny Bailey
  • Birmingham News[36]

Money in the race

Campaign finance reports

Campaign finance reports showing activity though late February showed Bachus continuing to hold a commanding lead in fundraising. Scott Beason's report showed he raised $54,300 since declaring his candidacy in January. During that time he spent $36,900, leaving him with $17,434 cash on hand.

David Standridge's report showed he raised about $33,300 and loaned his campaign $8,000. Of this total, he spent $37,700 leaving him with $3,600.

Bachus reported having $1.08 million as of December 31, 2011.[40] In the first two months of 2012, he raised $308,000. As of February 22, he had $646,000 cash on hand.[41]

Bachus told reporters in early March that the size of his campaign coffer is the only thing that gives him a shot at re-election: "If I hadn’t had a million dollars in my account, I would be underwater right now."[42]

Personal income

Disclosure reports released in late February showed Republican challengers Beason and Standridge get their primary income from government jobs, while Mickle did not file a disclosure form.

Beason reported his legislative salary of $52,336 as his only earned income in 2011. In the first three weeks of 2012 he earned $1,000 from the Leonidas Group, his public relations and consulting firm. He listed compensation of at least $5,000 as owner of Custom Renovators.

Standridge reported his 2011 salary of $81,474 as chairman of the Blount County Commission and probate judge, while his wife received $11,563 from Auburn University. He listed additional income of between $7,900 - $22,000 from a judicial retirement fund, teacher's retirement fund and other investments.[43]

Outside spending

This chart details spending in the race by outside groups and was current as of March 13, 2012.[44]

Outside spending, Alabama Congressional District 6, 2012
Committee Candidate supporting Candidate opposing Amount supporting Amount opposing Total spent
Conservatives for Freedom Spencer Bachus - $31,500 - $31,500
Credit Union National Association Spencer Bachus - $27,771 - $$27,771
Campaign for Primary Accountability - Spencer Bachus - $203,109 $203,109
Conservative Action Fund - Spencer Bachus - $43,170 $43,170

PACs

The website Open Secrets tracks campaign contributions for congressional members. As of February 22, 2012, Bachus had raised $11,762,872 in his career in Congress. Of those funds, 40 percent ($4,691,857) have come from individuals and 56 percent ($6,567,163) from PACs.[45]

Spencer Bachus's campaign contributions - PACs vs. Individuals
Year Amount from PACS Amount from Individuals
2009-2010 $1,021,400 (72%) $582,778 (41%)
2007-2008 $895,867 (35%) $521,439 (36%)
2005-2006 $1,028,133 (63%) $425,331 (26%)
2003-2004 $867,989 (53%) $637,879 (39%)
2001-2002 $662,086 (60%) $348,000 (31%)
1999-2000 $351,503 (52%) $226,008 (40%)
Career $6,567,163 (56%) $4,691,857 (40%)

Ads relating to the campaign

Spencer Bachus

Scott Beason

David Standridge

District history

Candidate Ballot Access
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Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

2010

General election

On November 2, 2010, Spencer Bachus won re-election to the United States House. He ran unopposed in the general election.[46]

U.S. House, Alabama District 6 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSpencer Bachus Incumbent 100% 205,288
Total Votes 205,288

Primary election

On June 1, 2010, Spencer Bachus won the Republican Primary. He defeated Stan Cooke.[47]

U.S. House, Alabama District 6 Republican Primary Republican Primary, 2010
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngSpencer Bachus Incumbent 75.6% 80,725
Stan Cooke 24.4% 25,997
Total Votes 106,722

2008

On November 4, 2008, Spencer Bachus won re-election to the United States House. He ran unopposed in the general election.[48]

U.S. House, Alabama District 6 General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSpencer Bachus Incumbent 100% 280,902
Total Votes 280,902

2006

On November 7, 2006, Spencer Bachus won re-election to the United States House. He ran unopposed in the general election.[49]

2004

On November 2, 2004, Spencer Bachus won re-election to the United States House. He ran unopposed in the general election.[50]

2002

On November 5, 2002, Spencer Bachus won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Libertarian J. Holden McAllister in the general election.[51]

2000

On November 7, 2000, Spencer Bachus won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Libertarian Terry Reagin in the general election.[52]

1998

On November 3, 1998, Spencer Bachus won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Democrat Donna Wesson Smalley in the general election.[53]

See also

External links

References

  1. ABC News, "2012 General Election Results," accessed November 6, 2012
  2. Alabama Secretary of State, "Voter Registration Info," accessed July 20, 2012
  3. Open Secrets, "Spencer Bachus Career Cycle," accessed March 9, 2012
  4. New York Times, "‘Super PAC’ Increasing Congress’s Sense of Insecurity," March 8, 2012
  5. Mother Jones, "This Texas "Anarchist" GOPer Is Taking Out Incumbents," March 8, 2012
  6. Washington Post, "One super PAC takes aim at incumbents of any party," March 7, 2012
  7. New York Times, "House Passes Bill Banning Insider Trading by Members of Congress," February 9, 2012
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Washington Post, "Rep. Spencer Bachus faces insider-trading investigation," February 9, 2012
  9. New York Times, "Bachus Expects ‘Full Exoneration’ in Insider-Trading Inquiry," February 10, 2012
  10. The Birmingham News, "Texas-based Super PAC Campaign for Primary Accountability targets US Rep. Spencer Bachus, backs challenger Scott Beason," February 15, 2012
  11. The Birmingham News, "U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus turns back three challengers in primary and wins without runoff," March 13, 2012
  12. Alabama Redistricting, "Map" accessed July 7, 2012
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Alabama Secretary of State "Republican Certification List," January 20, 2012
  14. Alabama Secretary of State "Amendment to certification list," January 27, 2012
  15. NBC 13 "Stan Pate withdraws from Alabama's 6th District race," February 3, 2012
  16. 16.0 16.1 News Courier, "Census: Alabama won't gain, lose House seats," December 21, 2010
  17. CNN, "Justice Department approves congressional redistricting for Alabama," November 21, 2011
  18. FairVote, "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Alabama," September 2012
  19. Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" accessed October 2012
  20. Federal Election Commission, "Spencer Bachus April Quarterly," accessed July 9, 2012
  21. Federal Election Commission, "Spencer Bachus April Quarterly," accessed July 9, 2012
  22. Federal Election Commission, "Penny Bailey April Quarterly," accessed July 9, 2012
  23. New York Times, "House Passes Bill Banning Insider Trading by Members of Congress," February 9, 2012
  24. New York Times, "Bachus Expects ‘Full Exoneration’ in Insider-Trading Inquiry," February 10, 2012
  25. ABC News, "Rep. Bachus Welcomes Ethics Probe to ‘Set Record Straight’," February 10, 2012
  26. The Birmingham News, "Texas-based Super PAC Campaign for Primary Accountability targets US Rep. Spencer Bachus, backs challenger Scott Beason," February 15, 2012
  27. Campaign for Primary Accountability, "About," accessed February 2, 2012
  28. New York Times, "‘Super PAC’ Increasing Congress’s Sense of Insecurity," March 8, 2012
  29. Washington Post, "One super PAC takes aim at incumbents of any party," March 7, 2012
  30. Politico, "Super PAC's next target: Spencer Bachus," March 9, 2012
  31. Chicago Tribune, "Powerful Alabama Congressman Bachus survives tough primary," March 14, 2012
  32. LA Times, "Alabama congressman wins primary despite 'super PAC' offensive," March 14, 2012
  33. ReElect Spencer Bachus, "National Right to Life Endorsement," February 10, 2012
  34. ReElect Spencer Bachus, "Business Council of Alabama Endorses Spencer Bachus,"
  35. ReElect Spencer Bachus, "Spencer Bachus announces REALTOR® support for U.S. House Re-election bid,"
  36. 36.0 36.1 Birmingham News, "OUR VIEW: Spencer Bachus is the better choice for Republicans, and Penny Bailey is best for Democrats.," March 7, 2012
  37. Birmingham News, "Former Gov. Bob Riley backs U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus in Alabama primary," March 7, 2012
  38. Birmingham News, "Sen. Jeff Sessions endorses Rep. Spencer Bachus," March 6, 2012
  39. ReElect Spencer Bachus, "Central Alabama Fire Chief's Association Endorses Bachus," March 7, 2012
  40. The Birmingham News, "Alabama Campaign 2012: Bachus challengers file first campaign finance reports," March 2, 2012
  41. The Birmingham News, "Rep. Spencer Bachus shows big expenses for re-election campaign," March 2, 2012
  42. Politico, "Super PAC's next target: Spencer Bachus," March 9, 2012
  43. The Birmingham News, "Alabama Campaign 2012: Beason, Standridge release salary data," February 24, 2012
  44. Open Secrets, "Outside Spending - Alabama District 6
  45. Open Secrets, "Spencer Bachus Career Cycle," accessed March 9, 2012
  46. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"
  47. Alabama Secretary of State, "June 1 Republican Primary Results," accessed March 9, 2012
  48. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008"
  49. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006"
  50. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006"
  51. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002"
  52. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2000"
  53. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998"