SEC primary helps bring presidential candidates to Alabama

Published: Dec. 30, 2015 at 10:51 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 7, 2016 at 11:14 PM CST
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Donald Trump during a campaign stop in Mobile.
Donald Trump during a campaign stop in Mobile.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama saw nine presidential candidates make campaign stops in the state in 2015 trying to raise support for their candidacy. Hillary Clinton was the lone Democrat visitor while many in a crowded Republican field also made the trip.

According to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, the visits prove the effectiveness of the SEC primary. According to Merrill only two candidates, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich made stops in Alabama back in the 2012 election cycle.

This year Alabama, along with other Southern states, all agreed to hold their primaries on March 1. That creates a 'Super Tuesday' for the South.

Since the announcement, more candidates have started to make stops in the Yellowhammer state.

Merrill said it is great for Alabamians to get a face-to-face interaction with the candidates in order to make sure their voices are heard, adding that the visits also give the state some good publicity. He points to campaign visits from the likes of Donald Trump whose visit was broadcast nationwide for almost an hour and a half.

Some believe a SEC primary could help a more conservative candidate who reflects Southern values win the nomination.

A similar Southern primary has been used before, by the Democrats who hoped a moderate liberal would be able to get more votes in the region. The policy failed in 1988. However in 1992, a mainly Southern primary helped then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton win the nomination and eventually the White House.

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