Republican Senator Richard Shelby is up for a fourth term in 2004. Shelby is considered one of the strongest incumbents in the country. He faced no primary challenger and will face little-known Democrat Wayne Sowell in November.
Sowell becomes the first black U.S. Senate nominee of a major party in Alabama.
The nation watched in late 2003 as Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from the bench for refusing to obey a federal court order to move his 5,300-pound Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. His appeal was rejected in April and Moore has said he would appeal his expulsion to the Supreme Court if necessary.
The state's Republican primaries for three seats on the Alabama Supreme Court turned into a referendum on the ousted Moore and his Ten Commandments monument.
Former Moore aide Tom Parker narrowly defeated Justice Jean Brown, who became the target of Moore's supporters after she voted to remove his Ten Commandments monument. A Moore-supported appeals court judge, Pam Baschab, lost overwhelmingly to Shelby County judge Patti M. Smith in the Place Two race. A third candidate had only hopes of forcing a runoff for the GOP nomination third slot.
The Ten Commandments dispute also figured in the GOP primary for a U.S. House seat. Moore's attorney, Phillip Jauregui, was soundly defeated by six-term Rep. Spencer Bachus.
In 2002, Senate Republican Jeff Sessions easily won a second term against Democratic state auditor Susan Parker.
Republican Governor Bob Riley claimed victory over Democratic incumbent Don Siegelman. Baldwin County officials said an error wrongly showed Siegelman winning by fewer than 4,000 votes out of 1.3 million cast. Riley had been a three-term congressman from Alabama's third Congressional district.
Former Gov. Guy Hunt, ousted from office in a 1993 ethics conviction, lost a bid for a state Senate seat.