Parker Griffith Race in North Alabama Closely Watched

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith's switch to the Republican Party in December made him a target for challenger Mo Brooks in Tuesday's GOP primary as local Republicans still felt the sting of losing to Griffith in 2008.

Griffith's bid to win the GOP nomination in the north Alabama district was the most closely watched race among Alabama's U.S. House hopefuls.

But Republicans were also choosing a candidate to seek to reclaim southeast Alabama's 2nd Congressional District seat from Rep. Bobby Bright, who broke 44 years of GOP dominance in 2008. And both parties were picking nominees to succeed Rep. Artur Davis, who was vacating the post in the heavily Democratic district to run for governor.

Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus of Vestavia Hills was expected to win renomination in the 6th District over GOP challenger Stan Cooke of Kimberly.

Other incumbents had no opposition in their own party.

In the 5th District, Griffith kept the seat in Democratic hands in 2008 with a hard-fought victory over Republican Wayne Parker. A medical doctor from Huntsville and a former state senator, Griffith voted mostly conservative and switched to the GOP in December. [See who is donating money to Griffith's campaign.]

But it was a short time between the switch and the primary, and some top local GOP leaders didn't warm to Griffith. Brooks, a Madison County commissioner, called him a "flip-flopper."

Four lesser known Huntsville Democrats — lawyers Mitchell Howie, Steve Raby and Taze Shepard and missile defense scientist David Maker — were seeking the nomination amid hopes the party could reclaim the district in the fall.

In the 2nd District, four candidates sought the chance to challenge Bright, the former mayor of Montgomery: tea party activist Rick Barber, state school board member Stephanie Bell, former U.S. Marine John "Fighting Beau" McKinney and Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby. [See which industries are giving money to Bright's campaign.]

In the 7th District, the winner of the Democratic Primary was heavily favored to win the seat in the fall. Among those seeking the nomination was state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. of Birmingham, whose father held the seat in 2002 when upset by Davis. Rounding out Tuesday's ballot were two Birmingham lawyers, Terri Sewell and Martha Bozeman, and Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot.

The four Republicans running for the seat were Don Chamberlain, a businessman and inventor from Selma; Carol F. Hendrickson, a registered nurse from Birmingham; Birmingham-area businessman Chris Salter; and Michele Waller, a retired microbiologist who now works at a hospital in Shelby County.