Turnout is the key in the Senate race




The very interesting and entertaining Republican Primary for our open U.S. Senate seat culminates this Tuesday with the clash between two Titans.  Judge Roy Moore and Big Luther Strange will be in a Titanic battle to fill the seat left vacant when Jeff Sessions became U.S. Attorney General.

We will see if Moses with his Ten Commandments and Hebrew children of rural Alabama can slay the Philistine Mountain Brook giant.

The results from the August 15 first primary were predictable.  The turnout was about 18 percent, about what you would expect for a Special Election in mid-August, during 100-degree dog days of summer and one race on the ballot. Moore garnered 39 percent, Strange had 33 percent, and Mo Brooks received a respectable 18 percent.

The early polling and constant polling revealed that Roy Moore had a hard-core 30 percent of the electorate.  It was and still is a solid block of voters that are going to vote for Moore come hell or high water.

Those of us that know politics knew that Moore’s 30 percent would become accentuated and would grow to 40 percent with a low voter turnout.  That is exactly what happened.  The final poll and the only one that counts is the count of those that show up to vote.  Older people vote and Moore’s supporters are more ardent, dedicated, and older.  They showed up and voted.  They will again on Tuesday.  Turnout is as critical as it was on August 15.  Therefore, Luther Strange’s path to victory is narrow.

The Roy Moore popularity and hard-core support is a phenomenon and anomaly in this day and time in politics.  It is very similar to George Wallace’s appeal in his hey day.

Although, unlike Wallace, who was a professional politician and demagogue in the classic Southern stereotypical style, Moore is a true believer.  He has put his money where his mouth is.  He has lost his job, not once but twice, for his stands for the Ten Commandments and against gay marriage.  I doubt George Wallace would have given up his job as governor if a federal judge told him to get out of the school house door in the 1960’s.

However, Moore’s support is deeper than just an evangelical base.  He is a true populist in the mold of a George Wallace or even Huey Long. This job of U.S. Senator actually fits him better in voters’ minds than governor.  He could have and probably should have dug up and recycled an old Wallace slogan used by the fighting little judge from Barbour County in his presidential forays, “Send them a message.”

Moore amazingly carried 60 out of 67 counties on August 15.  It was not just rural counties either.  He won Mobile and Montgomery.  Strange carried Imperial Jefferson and Brook’s carried his home bailiwick of Madison.

Luther Strange had all of the money.  The Washington super PAC’s let it be known early that they were going to load him up and treat him as an incumbent.  They were not just whistling Dixie. In the first primary, they spent over $5 million.  Moore spent $400,000.  Folks that is a 15 to 1 advantage. They have outspent Moore 10 to 1 in the runoff.

With the Washington money also comes the Washington gurus – the best pollsters and media experts in America.  They polled Alabama Republican voters early and late and found Donald Trump’s agenda was very popular in the Heart of Dixie.  They gave Luther Strange the pro-Trump script and he stuck to it perfectly.  They hammered the Trump/Strange message repeatedly.  They have stuck to the script in the runoff.  Luther’s 33 percent vote on August 15 puts him within striking distance of Moore in the runoff.

Luther was bolstered by both the Trump endorsement and also the Alabama Farmers Federation endorsement.  This conservative group’s support is vital in a statewide race.

The former State Attorney General did well as expected among upscale urbane voters in Jefferson and Shelby counties.  He also did surprisingly well in some of the more populous counties of North Alabama, especially Tuscaloosa, Talladega, Cullman, DeKalb, Jackson and Walker counties.  Walker County had a large turnout due to a local issue on the ballot.

The pivotal question is where do Brooks’ voters go Tuesday.  My guess is it is a wash at best.  Most stay home. Therefore, the only route for Big Luther to make up the difference was to go negative and they really did.  We will soon see if it works.  Again, turnout is the key.

When voting in Senate special election, think of yourself





One candidate doesn’t know what DACA is. The other candidate doesn’t know what the truth is. That’s what you’re left with in the Republican runoff for a U.S. Senate seat.

Roy Moore v. Luther Strange.

Two candidates who most of us don’t want.

A judge who keeps getting himself tossed off the bench and a malleable lawyer who will conform to any position if it means he gets to never really work again.

If either of these clowns is elected and allowed to serve in D.C., we all know the result. It will be another year of corporate tax breaks, another year of the rich getting richer, another year of denying science – how’s that working out right now? – another year of putting working folks last.

Haven’t you had enough?

Do me a favor: Take a good, hard look at your life. Consider the decisions that your state government has made over the years – to limit school funding, to short-change environmental regulations, to go light on ethics laws, to hand out billions in tax breaks and corporate welfare to some of the most profitable companies on earth while never having another dime for social programs that help regular, poor folks.

Think about all of that.

That’s life in Alabama. We rank near the bottom in health, education, quality of life, job readiness, job pay, workforce readiness and infant mortality. We can’t eat a fish from 90 percent of our rivers, and we’ve poisoned the earth in north Birmingham, where Luther Strange has gone to bat for the polluters.

And in one term, we’ve managed to have both our House speaker and governor indicted and forced out of office for ethics issues and had our Supreme Court chief justice – the aforementioned Roy Moore – booted off the bench.

All of this under conservative, Republican control.

And all of it will continue with either Moore or Strange.

But I know a guy….

Now, listen to me. I know that for many of you what I’m about to suggest is borderline unthinkable.

Ignore the Republican runoff, and vote for the Democrat in December.

I know, it’s a crazy notion. You, voting for Doug Jones. I mean, there you are in your middle-class home, bills stacked up, kids looking at college debt, haven’t had a raise in years and driving an hour to see a doctor, and some guy wants you to vote for a Democrat.

Pfft. Yeah, right.

Why would you do that? Why would you vote for a pro-union candidate that might make it easier for you to get a raise? Why would you vote for a pro-public education candidate who might make it easier for you and your kids to receive the education necessary to land a good job or be accepted into a good college? Why would you vote for a pro-lottery candidate who would make it easier for your child to receive a free two-year degree or possibly a four-year scholarship?

Why would you vote against the party that refused to expand Medicaid and by doing so drove doctors out of the state, shut down rural hospitals and prevented more than 300,000 Alabamians from receiving health care, thus driving up your costs? Why would you vote against a party that has consistently, and often without shame, lined its pockets as it handed out your tax dollars to billion-dollar companies while you got zip?

Why would anyone expect you to do things differently?

After all, it’s not like any of you can think for yourselves.

Because if there was any threat of you thinking for yourselves, your candidates would be putting in more effort.

As it is, one of these goobers hasn’t bothered to learn about even the most basic issues facing this country, choosing instead to just scream “Jesus” and hold borderline snake-handling revivals. And the other one, God help him, has told so many outright lies and changed positions so many times, I’m not sure he remembers his own name at this point.

(I’m Luther Strange and I approved this message … unless you don’t like it. If so, then I didn’t approve it. Mitch did! And I don’t have to be Luther Strange anymore if you don’t like that. Call me anything. I don’t care. Just don’t make me do real work. Pleeeaasseee!)

In the meantime, there’s good ol’ Doug Jones. A smart, sane, honest man. He’s never been kicked off the bench for not following the law or accused of being unethical. He would go to D.C. and represent the interests of common Alabamians instead of shilling for big business or carrying out a useless crusade.

He’s more like you than either of those two Republicans, and he’d damn sure offer YOU a better hand up.

But he’s got that D beside his name. And, I guess, that means more to you than your own well-being.

Another change is coming



Art Parker


There has been little movement to the political winds in quite some time due to the upcoming GOP runoff for U.S. Senate, which will be next Tuesday, September 26. Once that is behind us I believe you will see sails pop up on the water and the small breeze we now feel will turn into the gradual building of a storm that should make landfall next June.

In between that time we will go to the polls and decide between either sitting senator Luther Strange or Roy Moore to become the GOP nominee. That party’s nominee will face Democrat Doug Jones in December and the winner will claim the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, who was appointed U.S. Attorney General.

For what it’s worth, I’ve never been a fan of Roy Moore. On the other hand I wouldn’t trust Luther Strange as far as I can throw an overweight sumo wrestler. I’m voting for Moore next Tuesday and encourage you to do the same.

Moving past the calm before the storm, several races will see potential candidates enter and exit before qualification is over next year. It’s hard to tell what will happen but the biggest prize, other than U.S. Senator, is the race for the Governor’s mansion.

Governor Kay Ivey has entered the race and she automatically is the front runner. I think after the GOP Senate runoff is done she will come out swinging since she has shown little fight thus far. It is hard to imagine that she wouldn’t since she has raised over a million bucks before declaring herself a candidate. At this stage of the game she is far ahead of others that have declared their intentions.

We knew this was coming. The first sign was Twinkle Cavanaugh retreating from the Governor’s race and moving into the Lt. Governor’s contest. Cavanaugh is a soldier of Bob Riley. Shortly after taking office Ivey made a few moves that convinced me that Riley had a new set of keys to Governor’s mansion. The instant it looked like Ivey may run then Cavanaugh ran from the yard like a scalded dog. That told me plenty.

Supposedly Agriculture Commissioner and Industries John McMillan has been rumored to be out of the race. I was told late last week that wasn’t true. I was also led to believe that Ivey’s staff was circulating that rumor. Over the weekend I heard from other sources that McMillan was definitely out and looking at other options. The speculation on McMillian should end soon.  Other than McMillan certain candidates that are noteworthy are Tommy Battle, Mayor of Huntsville and Bill Hightower, State Senator.

I believe Battle to be a potentially formidable candidate and he has done well on raising money thus far. There is another way to say this. If Ivey falters in the campaign I believe Battle can become the GOP frontrunner.

Right now, it looks like Ivey holds the best cards and is the dealer.

Candidates for Lt. Governor there are Mary Scott Hunter, State Sen. Rusty Glover, State Rep. Will Ainsworth and Cavanaugh, Alabama Public Service Commission Chairwoman.

I can’t help but believe that this will get down to Ainsworth and Cavanaugh and if it does, I will be pulling for Ainsworth because of Cavanaugh’s connections. I also believe you will see Ainsworth as an effective fund raiser.

While there are more races out there with an undetermined field it appears like the last biggie will be for Attorney General. Current Attorney General Steve Marshall is in the race and should be facing former U.S. Attorney Alice Martin in a finale. But there is a wild card in the deck and that is former Attorney General Troy King. I think King can win if he gets in because the others have little name recognition. Over the weekend there was a strong rumor that King was lining up huge campaign contributions.

So hang on. Before too long the political winds will be blowing much harder.