The Democratic National Convention kicks off Tuesday in Charlotte. Alabama is sending 82 delegates to North Carolina. It's the first presidential election since Republicans swept the Legislature, turning both houses red for the first time in more than 130 years.
However, Joe M. Reed, a lawyer and Montgomery delegate, says he has high hopes for this year's convention, and the future of the Democratic party in Alabama. He says the drop in Democratic ballots across the state is less about policy, and more about perception.
"The Democrats did not stand behind the things that they championed when they got in. They did not stand behind the president and they allowed the message to be defined by the Republican party," said Reed.
But CBS 8 Political Analyst Steve Flowers says it's more complicated than that. "Basically people in the South, especially Deep South, are extremely conservative, and the Republican party is the conservative party," said Flowers
This week, Reed says the state's delegation will focus on things that matter to Alabamians. "I think if the party goes back to its roots of rural healthcare, of jobs, of infrastructure building, I think those are the the things and education of course, I think those are the things people want to hear," he said.
There are about 2.6 million registered voters in Alabama, who will help decide which candidate receives the state's 9 electoral votes. That's where individual voter turnout matters, says Reed. "The message has to get out to our voters that you have to get out and vote and that you can't just mail it in, you have to participate," he said.
If President Obama does carry the Alabama vote, it would be the first time since 1976 that the state has chosen a Democratic candidate.