When the news broke that the Alabama Legislature had redrawn Senate District 33 to cross Mobile Bay and include three precincts in Spanish Fort, Republicans in Baldwin County questioned the wisdom of the reapportionment effort.
It looked as if State Sen. Vivian Figures (D-Mobile) was poised to be the lone Democrat in Baldwin County's legislative delegation as the voice in the State Senate for three solidly Republican precincts in Spanish Fort.
However, given the anti-Democratic Party sentiment among the electorate in Alabama because of what is going on in Washington, D.C., Figures is forced to go on defense to keep her seat.
Republican Alabama Senate hopeful Pete Riehm, a fixture on the Mobile talk radio airwaves and 2012 congressional candidate, has some saying SD33 is one to watch in a state with very few competitive general election races.
Although a Republican winning Senate District 33, which now includes Prichard and parts of Mobile, Spanish Fort and Chickasaw, is still thought to be a long shot, Riehm insists his grassroots effort resonated with voters.
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," Riehm maintained his campaign was looking to do more than run up the score in the Republican strongholds of SD33.
"I think my two strong areas are going to be Spanish Fort and Prichard because we have a universally very positive response from the folks in Prichard every time we go there," Riehm declared.
In addition to Spanish Fort, the district also includes a few precincts west of Interstate 65 in Mobile that are not necessarily a sure thing for Democrat candidates, and that is where Riehm hopes to do well.
According to Riehm, his success thus far resulted from Figures' perceived absence from the district.
"In District 33, they haven't really ever seen anyone campaign for this seat in over a decade," he added. "So, that dynamic is there. Then, quite frankly, the incumbent has sort of opened the door. It is what it is, but basically, if I was going up against any average Democrat who had maintained their relationship and had the loyalty and devotion of their base, I would not have a chance. But that's not what we found. We suspected it. We kind of thought she was going to retire. She didn't. We suspected it. Now that we're on the ground, that's what we're finding – disappointment, frustration. So these people are open to other voices. They just want results. That's all."
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