Flowers talks politics with local clubs

Published 11:01 pm Thursday, May 13, 2010

Whichever candidate wins the 2010 Alabama Governor’s race will take the oath of office in January standing on the deck of the Titanic.

That’s the prediction that Steve Flowers, political analyst and columnist, made at the noon meeting of the Troy Exchange Club on Thursday.

Flowers compared the storm facing the state’s next governor to the peril of the captain of a sinking ship. He said if he were handed the governorship on a silver platter, he wouldn’t take it.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“With the possibility of proration of the general fund at 25 percent, I wouldn’t have it,” Flowers told the Exchange Club members.

Flowers, a Troy native son, has been involved in politics in some way since he was 12 years old and served as a page at the State Capitol. He served 16 years in the Alabama House of Representative and amassed the largest number of votes ever recorded in that race. He was elected overwhelmingly four times before bowing out of the political arena.

Although he has no desire to throw his hat in any political ring, his interest in and passion for politics remains as strong as ever.

“I love what I’m doing right now,” Flowers said, with a smile. “I’m out talking politics and that’s what I love to do.”

Flower’s weekly column, “Inside the Statehouse” appears in 75 newspapers across the state. He is a political analyst for Channel 8 in Montgomery and the host of “Alabama Politics with Steve Flowers,” the Troy TrojanVision weekly political interview program. He also gives political commentary on WTBF Radio.

There’s nothing Flowers would rather do than talk politics and he takes every opportunity to do so. He relishes the coming of each political season.

“Political season is almost like Christmas for me,” he said. “It’s like Santa Claus coming every night because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Flowers referred to the 2010 political season as a lick-log.

“Alabama is a unique political state,” he said. “In the last 40 years or more, Alabama has undergone a transformation. Before 1964, there were no Republican elected office holders in the five Deep South states. Now, we have five Republican governors. The transformation has been unbelievable.”

Flowers said Alabama is a “Red” state with the exception of the lower offices, especially in the rural areas.

“Historically, Alabamians have had more interest in the governor’s race than the presidential race,” he said. “What is surprising about the 2010 race is the quietness of it. You used to see cars with bumper stickers and cars going around with speakers but not this time.”

Flowers said the governor’s race is picking up speed with Republicans Bradley Byrne, Tim James and Roy Moore, in the thick of things and Robert Bentley waiting in the wings.

“Roy Moore’s got solid, iron-clad support of 25 percent of the vote and I doubt he’ll go much higher but, still, he’s sitting there like an elephant in the room,” Flowers said. “Bradley Byrne has run his campaign against Paul Hubbard who is the most powerful figure in the state. Hubbard has spent nearly $800,000 in negative advertising toward Byrne. I can’t say Byrne has been shot dead in the water but negative advertising is used because it works.”

Flowers said the beneficiary of the negative advertising is Tim James and he sees Byrne and James as running neck and neck with about 36 percent of the vote.

“The one to watch in that race is Robert Bentley,” he said. “He’s got about 12 to 14 percent of the vote but if James and Byrne start peeling off…just watch him.

The Democratic race between Artur Davis and Ron Sparks, Flowers said is close but Davis will get more white votes than Sparks will get African-American votes so Flowers predicts the race will go to Davis.

Another race to watch is the attorney general’s race between AG Troy King and Luther Strange.

“If Troy King survives this one, he’s a tough boogey and he’ll be around for a while,” Flowers said.

In the Agriculture Commission’s race, Flowers said Jim Folsom Jr. should be the winner and he sees clear sailing ahead for Congressman and workhorse Bobby Bright.

Flowers also had a few remarks about Alabama’s chances in the gambling industry.

“With casinos given the go in Florida, Alabama has lost its chance at the gambling dollars,” he said.