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Alabama: Hilliard Jr. Not Running to Avenge Father’s Loss

With kickoff events in Birmingham, Selma and Tuscaloosa, state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. (D) officially threw his hat into the race to replace Rep. Artur Davis (D), who is hoping to move into the governor’s mansion in 2010.

The 7th district was created in 1992 and was represented for five terms by Hilliard’s father and namesake until Davis beat him in the 2002 Democratic primary.

In the announcement on his campaign Web site, Hilliard, who represents a Birmingham-based legislative seat, addressed his family legacy in the district.

“I’ve heard some say or write that I need to do this to avenge my father, to take back my father’s seat, and that’s just not how I look at it,— Hilliard said. “I think my father did a lot of good for the district, and he’s been my mentor. But I’m not running to take back my father’s seat. I’m running because I think I can help more people by being in the Congress. It’s the chance to touch more lives.—

The 7th is a majority-black district where the real race for the seat will take place in the Democratic primary, and that contest is expected to be crowded.

Birmingham attorney Terri Sewell, a longtime associate of Davis’ who attended Princeton University at the same time as first lady Michelle Obama, is already in the race.

Other Democratic state legislators whose names have been floated as possible candidates include state Rep. Merika Coleman and state Sen. Rodger Smitherman, who both hail from Jefferson County, where Birmingham is located. State Sen. Bobby Singleton, whose district includes parts of Tuscaloosa and rural counties south and west, has also been mentioned.

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