Terri Sewell wins election to U.S. House, defeats Republican and Libertarian opponents

The Montgomery Advertiser
The Montgomery Advertiser

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell will represent Alabama’s 7th congressional district for another two years.

She beat Republican Beatrice Nichols and Libertarian Gavin Goodman in her bid for re-election on Tuesday. Sewell has now held the congressional seat for 11 years, and this will be her seventh term as a member of Congress.

The Associated Press called the race for Sewell around 10 p.m. with about 85% of votes counted. Nichols led Sewell in Clarke County, Tuscaloosa County and Pickens County when the race was called.

Sewell's office released a statement late Tuesday night to acknowledge her win and thank the voters of her district. “Regardless of how you voted, I pledge to continue listening, learning, and fighting for the values we share," she said in the statement. "We as a nation face many challenges but I am confident that working together, we can continue to deliver more resources and better opportunities for our communities."

Alabama’s 7th district remains the only Democratic district in the state, as it has been since the state Legislature reconfigured the district to be majority-minority following the 1990 census. The district was the focus of a U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this year after a group of plaintiffs argued that the Alabama Legislature unconstitutionally packed Black voters into a single congressional district. It covers a large portion of the Alabama Black Belt and reaches into parts of Montgomery, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.

Sewell grew up in the district’s largest fully-encompassed city, Selma, and she regularly refers to herself as a “proud product of the Black Belt.”

She has spent much of her past two years in office bringing American Rescue Plan Act funds to rural Alabama, dedicated to healthcare, broadband access and infrastructure building. Leaders of one group working to solve Lowndes County’s infamous wastewater crisis said they would not have been able to make significant progress in the past year if it weren’t for Sewell’s support .

Sewell has also helped secure federal funding for increased public safety measures and historic preservation efforts in her hometown of Selma.

Throughout her reelection campaign this year, Sewell’s campaign team has maintained that her top priority is creating jobs in her district, as well as infrastructure, education reform and affordable healthcare.

In the days leading up to the election, Sewell took to social media to announce Vice President Kamala Harris’s endorsement of her reelection bid.

“Terri Sewell has spent her career fighting on behalf of Alabama families, including leading the charge to protect our sacred right to vote and ensure every vote counts,” Harris said in a video posted to the congresswoman’s social media accounts. “I am proud to stand with her.”

Since her last race for re-election, one of Sewell’s greatest focal points was eliminating racial discrimination in elections through H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which she co-sponsored.

“The need for federal legislation to protect the right to vote has never been so urgent,” Sewell wrote in a special opinion to the Advertiser last year. “Our democracy is at stake. Restoring the Voting Rights Act must be our top priority in Congress. Know that I will not rest until it is done.”

The bill, named for the civil rights legend who was Sewell’s mentor , aimed to reverse a 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It would require states with a history of voting discrimination, mainly in the South, to get approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before changing voting laws and practices. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year, but the Senate failed to advance the bill.

Hadley Hitson covers the rural South for the Montgomery Advertiser and Report for America. She can be reached at . To support her work, subscribe to the Advertiser or donate to Report for America .

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Terri Sewell wins election to U.S. House, defeats Republican and Libertarian opponents

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