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ARE MAJORITY MINORITY DISTRICTS TOO SAFE?: A look at the Alabama State Legislature

  • Brandon R. Davis (a1)

How does gerrymandering affect intraparty and interparty electoral competition in state legislatures? Research has shown that electoral competition produces better representation and that descriptive representation positively affects substantive representation or policy outcomes. However, other studies have found an ever increasing incumbency advantage. I argue that the incumbency advantage within Majority Minority Districts is significant and distinct from that of majority White Democrat and Republican districts. I estimate levels of intraparty and interparty competition among Majority Minority Districts, majority White Democrat districts, and majority White Republican districts in the state legislature of Alabama. I use majority White Democrat districts as an intraparty comparison group because of African American’s statistically high support for the Democrat Party. Using three separate measures of competitiveness, I find racial gerrymandering in Alabama has a significant and sui generis negative effect on competition within Majority Minority Districts, compared to majority White districts.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Brandon Davis, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Political Theory Project, Brown University, Box 2005, 8 Fones Alley, Providence, RI 02912. E-mail:
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