The first black Republican since Reconstruction (search) to serve in Alabama's Legislature wants to return to his hometown of Tuskegee (search) as mayor. But having switched parties and become a Republican, Johnny Ford (search) may have hurt his chances.

Ford is running against incumbent Mayor Lucenia Dunn, former Mayor Ron Williams and businessman Tommie Johnson, all of whom are black Democrats.

Even though Tuskegee's mayoral race is non-partisan, Auburn University (search) political science professor Bradley Moody says that Ford's affiliation with the GOP could hurt him in a community that is predominantly black and Democratic.

"It's such a heavily Democratic district. There's a lot of straight-ticket voting among African-American voters in Alabama," Moody said.

But Ford, who joined the GOP last year after forming a close alliance with Alabama Republican Gov. Bob Riley (search),  said it would be a mistake for blacks to vote along those lines.

"As African-Americans, we must be represented in both parties. Booker T. Washington (search), Frederick Douglas (search) — they were in the Republican Party," Ford said.

Click here to watch a report by Fox News Channel's Jonathan Serrie.