MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The country is one year out from the 2024 presidential election, and Alabama’s primary is right around the corner.
Voters in the state will head to the polls on March 5 to cast a ballot for their party’s nominee.
Alabama is one of over a dozen states that’s part of Super Tuesday, where the number of delegates at stake can make a big difference for a candidate.
Polls show former President Donald Trump leading the Republican field. Trump delegate Greg Fanin says his “America First” message resonates with Alabama Republicans, and voters want a return to the way things were from 2016 to 2020.
“Interest rates were 2%, and home sales were up. Building was up,” Fanin said. “We had a much more stable world than we do today.”
Fanin isn’t alone in his support. In 2016 and 2020, Trump won Alabama by more than 62%.
His visit at the ALGOP summer dinner in August broke fundraising records but Trump’s legal challenges have given some Republicans pause, like Terry Lathan.
“Many people are very concerned,” Lathan said.
Lathan chairs Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s campaign in Alabama. Before, she was the longest-serving Chair of the Alabama Republican Party.
She says DeSantis’s focus now is in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, but after that, the campaign plans to come to Alabama.
“They understand our red state is very important,” Lathan said.
Steve Forbes knows that firsthand. He ran in the Republican primaries for president in 1996 and 2000. He didn’t win the nomination but says campaigning in the South is crucial for GOP candidates.
“Alabama and the neighboring states are absolutely critical,” Forbes said. “The South is part of the GOP base and so you’ve got to do well here if you want to reach the White House.”
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is running for a second term. Alabama last elected a Democrat for president in 1976 with Jimmy Carter.
State Democratic Party Chairman Randy Kelley says he’s working to re-energize the party, county by county.
“We revitalized almost half a dozen county units already and getting them in motion to have substantive programs and events where they can connect with the interests of the people,” Kelley said.
The Republican Party will pick its nominee at the national convention next July in Milwaukee.