True, Davis was burdened also as an African-American running in the onetime "Cradle of the Confederacy," which also has the highest white population percentage of any Deep South state.
But this was not a race-determined election. Sparks managed to beat Davis in many heavily African-American districts. Some were within his opponent's congressional district, which has been gerrymandered to include Birmingham with the rural Black Belt to help minority candidates.
Last Wednesday, I wrote, Why Alabama Democrats Rejected Centrist Artur Davis, Obama's Pal. The story noted that Sparks won the support of all four of the state's major black political organizations while Davis was winning endorsements for the primary from reliably Republican major newspapers.
Alabama Democratic Conference Chairman Dr. Joe Reed, for instance, was quoted as saying:
It's no secret that Davis is the preferred opponent of the Republican Party. This may be because he will be the most easily defeated Democrat, or because he is the most Republican of the Democratic candidates.
Also, Davis was too clever by a half in turning his back on Alabama's most recent Democratic governor, Don Siegelman, after Siegelman was framedby the Bush Justice Department on corruption charges in 2006.