Political experts say 6th Congressional District is the race to watch

This Friday afternoon at 5pm is the cut off for anyone wanting to run for office in Alabama on either the Democrat or Republican ticket. One of the most hotly contested races is the Republican primary for the Sixth District Congressional seat.

Spencer Bachus is not seeking re-election. So for the first time in more than 20 years a new person will go to Washington.

By Friday, the list is expected to contain at least five, perhaps six names. But right now just two people are officially in the race. They are Dr. Chad Mathis and State Representative Paul DeMarco.

Mathis says he has specific issues he wants to focus on during his campaign. DeMarco says he wants to hold people in Washington accountable. A local political expert says this will be the race to watch.

"I think the congressional race is going to be the most interesting race in the state so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens there," said Larry Powell, a political science professor at UAB.

The Sixth Congressional District includes parts of Jefferson, Bibb, Shelby, Chilton and Coosa Counties. He says the race for that district is expected to be the one everyone watches. "You're going to have several candidates trying for that position. It's going to be an open seat and you won't know for sure who is going to win, and you're going to see candidates out there campaigning heavily," said Powell.

The expectation is that six Republicans will qualify before Friday's deadline. But right now Dr. Chad Mathis and Representative Paul DeMarco are the only two officially in the race. Mathis says he was prompted to run after hearing many of his own patients' concerns about Obama Care. {}"Patients are coming to me telling me about how they are losing their insurance, how government is interfering with their lives and that can actually go and help and fix Obama care. Everyone will want to repeal Obama care, but who better to fix Obama care than a physician and a small business owner," said Mathis.

Mathis says he is prepared to put his practice on hold to serve the people of District Six. However, Powell believes Mathis and any other candidate may have an uphill climb because DeMarco will be{} the one to beat. "He's been highly visible in the Senate and he's a very good campaigner," said Powell.

A statement from Paul DeMarco reads in part:

"Washington is broken. I'm tired of excuses from Washington, DC about we can't get things done. We need people with courage who are willing to do the right thing despite political consequences. I am a committed conservative with a proven record of results."

As for the other four people said to be on the fence about joining the race, Powell had this say, "Alabamamians have a habit of electing a congressman and keeping that person in that position for a long time. If you don't win this election, you're out for a while,"

Other Republicans who have said they are going to run for the Sixth District Congressional seat include Gary Palmer, Will Brooke, and Tom Vinguelle. Also, Republican sources tell us State Senator Scott Beason is most likely going to throw his hat in the ring as well.