MONTGOMERY — Brit Blalock, a community organizer and Orange Beach native, has announced that she will challenge state Rep. Neil Rafferty, D-Birmingham, for the Democratic nomination for House District 54. But the leader of House Democrats says they’ll firmly back the incumbent.
Blalock said in a campaign ad that her experience fighting for progressive causes makes her the right voice to represent the Birmingham district.
“When I saw my LGBTQ community’s isolation, I built organizations to foster belonging,” Blalock said. “When reproductive freedom was threatened, I created a coalition to fight back. When I heard the cries for racial justice fall on deaf ears, I took to the streets. When I found out that women only hold 15% of our legislative seats, I rolled up my sleeves to help women candidates win.
“Montgomery needs a bold progressive voice that will fight for working people and diverse families and that’s why I’m running for the Alabama House of Representatives in District 54.”
Rafferty is a former Marine who was elected to office in 2018. He told Alabama Daily News he is proud of his own progressive record and will seek reelection.
“I am proud to represent District 54 in the Alabama House of Representatives,” Rafferty said. “Winning by nearly 90% of votes in the last election underscored the fact that voters believed in my plan for creating economic opportunities that pay a living wage, providing safe and secure schools for our kids and teachers, ensuring accountability of law enforcement, and leading the way on expanding access to mental and medical health care for all Alabamians.
“I am honored to work for the diverse communities of District 54 and am committed to continuing what we have started together for our district and state.”
Rafferty is serving his first term in the State House and is the only openly gay member in the Legislature. He serves on House health, transportation and economic development committees.
According to her website, Blalock identifies as non-binary and has organized for several LGBTQ causes going back to college. She is currently a member of the Alabama Democratic Party Executive Committee, the first non-binary person to serve on that panel.
House District 54 is a reliably Democratic district and takes up parts of downtown and the eastside of Birmingham. Rafferty won the Democratic primary runoff in 2018 with 67% of the vote.
Rep. Anthony Daniels, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said he and House Democrats would be strongly backing Rafferty for reelection.
“Rep. Rafferty has been a wonderful and strong member of our caucus,” Daniels said. “He is very deeply committed to his work on criminal justice, social justice, education, equal rights for all people, civil rights and just his ability in representing all the democratic principles is second to none.
“It is without a doubt that he is a member that we want to be in Montgomery and we are going to do everything we can to make certain that he comes back to Montgomery.”
The primary election is May 24, 2022.