Travis Hendrix Wins Runoff Election to Represent Jefferson County in the Alabama State House of Representatives

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By journalsofus.com


Travis Hendrix, a 40-year-old Birmingham police officer, addresses the Alabama State House of Representatives after winning the runoff elections in Jefferson County on Tuesday.

Hendrix, a Democrat, beat a Democrat Sylvia Swayne to represent House District 55, which includes much of western Jefferson County and stretches from the south side of Birmingham to West End, Ensley and Fairfield.

“I want people to know that I am truly grateful and that all I am trying to do and will do is do the best I can to improve the quality of life for the people of District 55,” Hendrix said. AL.com shortly after declaring victory.

Hendrix replaces former Rep. Fred Plump, who resigned in May after less than a year in office due to his involvement and guilty plea in a bribery scheme involving public money.

Swayne, the first openly transgender candidate to run for state office in Alabama, said shortly after 8:20 p.m. that she had called Hendrix to concede the race. Speaking to a crowd of more than 100 supporters at her campaign viewing party in Birmingham, she thanked him for “keeping me on my toes” during the campaign.

“I might be the first transgender woman to run in the state of Alabama, but I’ll be damned if I’m the last,” she said. “People want to see changes. “People want to see something different.”

With 30 of the 31 precincts reporting, Hendrix received 2,367 votes, or 65 percent, while Swayne received 1,268 votes, or 35 percent, according to unofficial results.

The race for the seat in the predominantly Democratic district generated widespread attention and money.

A crowd of supporters gathered for Hendrix’s campaign viewing party at Ensley Soho, an events center in Ensley. Hendrix is ​​from the west Birmingham neighborhood, where he grew up in the former Tuxedo Terrace public housing community.

Hendrix said the victory was not his alone and thanked the room full of applause from his fans. “We won,” he told the crowd. “I’ll still need all of you because I can’t do this alone.”

Several state lawmakers attended the watch party to support Hendrix on election night, including Rep. Patrick Sellers, D-Birmingham, Sen. Merika Coleman, D-Pleasant Grove, and Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, and Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville. Daniels is minority leader in the State House of Representatives. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin also attended and hugged Hendrix in celebration.

The special election was the second time Hendrick sought the seat after placing fourth in the 2022 general election.

Only 3,955 votes were cast on Tuesday. With about 25,000 registered voters in the district, turnout was less than 10 percent.

No Republicans ran for the seat, meaning Hendrix’s victory effectively ends the race.

Hendrix, Swayne and five other Democrats quickly prepared their campaigns ahead of the special election in late September after Plump resigned. In last month’s special election, Hendrix received the most votes, followed by Swayne in second place. The race went to Tuesday’s runoff because no one received a majority of the votes in the initial round of voting.

The race generated heated discussions and arguments from voters and supporters about race and gender.

Still, both Hendrix and Swayne said they preferred to focus on the district-related issues that inspired them to run to represent it.

“I am for all people. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what status you have or what gender you are,” Hendrix said. AL.com days before election night, giving up negative campaigning based on gender.

Hendrix’s campaign raised $81,837.29 in contributions, according to state campaign finance records. His notable contributors include several political action committees associated with state industry associations, including $10,000 from Alabama Realtors, as well as thousands more, combined, from Alabama Builders, Alabama Works, Alabama Trucking Association and Alabama Forestry Association.

On the other hand, Swayne’s campaign raised more than double the amount Hendrix received, contributing $209,352 in contributions. Some of his biggest donations have come from out of state, including $124,325 since October from Leaders We Deserve, a Washington, D.C.-based organization co-founded by gun violence advocate David Hogg, that works to elect young progressives.

Hogg attended Swayne’s watch party after knocking on doors and calling voters in recent days with his campaign.

“The good thing about investing in young people is that this is just the beginning,” Hogg said in an interview with AL.com in the event. “I would have preferred Sylvia to run and not win than not run at all.”

When asked if he would run for office again, Swayne said AL.com at the watch party, “never say never.”

Hendrix campaigned on a platform that included improving public safety, expanding broadband access and reducing food taxes. He also highlighted his ability to work in bipartisan cooperation to achieve effective legislation in the overwhelmingly Republican legislature.

“The first thing I want to do is get there and learn the job and see what needs to be done and once I learn the job go back to the district and let them know what’s going on in Montgomery and how we’re going. move forward,” Hendrix said Tuesday night.

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