Alabama's 2nd Congressional District had been held by the GOP for more than 40 years until 2008, when Democrat Bobby Bright beat his opponent Jay Love by a few thousand votes. Bright's natural advantage as an incumbent is almost entirely canceled out, and his race with Martha Roby is a competitive one.
Bright seems to have bought into the supposition that moderate Democrats can win by running against Obama and Pelosi. In his latest television advertisement, he never mentions Democrats, healthcare reform, or any of the other signature achievements of the current Democratic leadership in Congress. In fact, he uses key words such as "conservative" and "independent."
And it's difficult to find a Bright campaign event. He is holding them, I'm told, but his website contains no details on past or future events. Calls made seeking such information have not been returned.
Martha Roby, however, is running a strong and active campaign. She has multiple events scheduled every day as she crisscrosses the district, and twitters details to her followers so people always know where she is going to be. She holds regular "phoning" sessions in the evenings, and she regularly appears to meet and talk with the voters.
And she seems to be keeping her message simple. Her signature slogan is "a better way," and she focuses on conservative and free market solutions to our nation's problems. She also campaigns on repealing the unpopular health care reform law and on removing Pelosi as Speaker of the House.
Her message about Pelosi was weakened recently when Bright became the first Democrat to publicly state he would not vote again for Pelosi for Speaker of the House. On her website, Roby said, "Democrat Bobby Bright's latest suggestion that he might vote for someone else for Speaker is just the latest contortion on this issue, coming only weeks after he said he had no regrets about his vote for Nancy Pelosi, and a month after he joked that she might 'get sick and die' to avoid answering this very question. This latest statement is just empty rhetoric from a flailing campaign."
As the election looms nearer, recent polls reveal conflicting results. Some show Martha barely in the lead, while others show Bright ahead by a slight amount. With the race too close to call, the remaining weeks of campaigning will be critical for each candidate to win.
Follow Matthew Givens on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PoliticsAlabama