MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A congressman seeking to become Alabama’s first black governor lost Tuesday to a white Democratic primary opponent who had garnered support from the state’s four major black political groups.
Primaries were also held in Mississippi and New Mexico, where Susana Martinez, a prosecutor from southern New Mexico, won the GOP nomination for governor and will face Democrat Diane Denish in a general election race deciding who becomes New Mexico’s first woman governor.
With 58 percent of the precincts reporting, Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks won the Democratic primary for Alabama governor with 65 percent of the vote to U.S. Rep. Artur Davis’s 35 percent.
The state’s traditional civil rights organizations backed Sparks after Davis voted against Obama’s federal health care overhaul. But Davis, a Harvard lawyer who led President Barack Obama’s campaign here in 2008, had endorsements from Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a civil rights pioneer from Alabama, and Mobile’s first black mayor, Sam Jones.