MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Democratic presidential candidates aren’t ignoring Alabama, even though no Democrat has carried the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt have already visited Alabama and Massachusetts Sent. John Kerry will be in the state on Tuesday.

Edwards was in Montgomery in January for a fund-raising reception and it paid off.

Individuals associated with former Lt. Gov. Jere Beasley’s law firm, Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis and Miles, donated $44,600 to Edwards’ campaign during the first three months of the year.

The law firm ranks sixth among all donors to the nine Democratic president candidates, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Beasley said he has known Edwards for about 10 years and believes he would make a great president: “I also think he can win,” he said.

Edwards, a millionaire former trial lawyer, has also raised $22,500 from people affiliated with the Birmingham-based law firm of Hare, Wynn, Newell and Newton.

Edwards has reported $7.4 million in campaign fund raising to the Federal Elections Commission. Kerry has raised $7 million and Gephardt $6 million. Gephardt has visited Birmingham and Selma, where he participated in the re-enactment of voting rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 9.

On Tuesday, Kerry will visit with potential supporters in Birmingham and then speak at the Alabama Democratic Party’s annual salute to the Legislature. It’s a fund-raising event for the Democratic Party, not for Kerry, but it will give him an opportunity to meet about 600 Democratic leaders and party faithful from across the state, party spokesman Jim Wyre said.

Individual tickets for the event are $150, while tables range from $1,250 to $5,000.

The Democratic Party holds a majority of seats in the legislature and dominates most courthouses in Alabama, but the Republican Party has carried every presidential election in Alabama since Ronald Reagan in 1980.

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