Flowers takes look at state races

Published 11:10 pm Friday, May 28, 2010

As the June 1 primary rolls closer, there’s no one who can predict just who will come out victorious in the end.

With an open governor’s seat and several Republicans facing local Democratic incumbents in the Senate and Congressional seats, local political analyst Steve Flowers said there is one thing Pike County voters can be sure of Tuesday — it will be historic.

“It’s probably going to be one of the most interesting governor’s race, primary wise,” Flowers said. “The numbers I’ve seen show the Republican primary with four days to the election and going into a holiday weekend, with 25 to 30 percent of the voters undecided on who they are going to vote for.”

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That’s a recipe for a swing one candidates way or a low voter turnout, Flowers said.

“You have four candidates in a virtual dead heat,” he said, referring to Republican gubernatorial options Bradley Byrne, Robert Bentley, Tim James or Roy Moore.

Moore, Flowers said, is almost guaranteed to at least gets 25 percent of the vote, as his numbers haven’t fluctuated since he started his campaign.

And, battles between Byrne and James could cause people to pull their votes away from them and onto another not typically mentioned as a frontrunner — Bentley.

“Those two have to be careful, if they go too negative on each other, those people don’t necessarily go for Byrne or James, they go for Bentley,” Flowers said. “He will be a surprise in this race.”

Byrne, he said, has been managing to climb in the polls by a percentage point a day for the last week or so, leaving him at a nearly consistent 25 percent. The closeness of the polls and the undecided voters still out there almost assuredly predicts a Republican runoff.

Other Republican gubernatorial candidates are Bill Johnson, James Potts and Charles Taylor.

On the Democratic ticket, there are two candidates for the state’s highest office, Ron Sparks and Artur Davis.

Flowers said polls indicate at least 40 percent of the Democrat Party voters are undecided.

Flowers said he still predicts a small win for Davis because he said black voters would likely cast their votes toward them.

“(For both parties, voters) just don’t seem to be enamored for them. It wouldn’t break their heart if the guy who they voted for didn’t win,” Flowers said.

Another interesting state race, Flowers said, is the Alabama Attorney General seat held now by Republican incumbent Troy King. Something unusual is his Republican opponent Luther Strange looks to be ahead.

“Luter Strange is polling significantly, if polling is accurate,” Flowers said. “King’s had negative publicity the last four years. If this guy survives this, he’s a pretty tough little politician.”

The Democratic candidates are James Anderson, Giles Perkins and Michel Nicrosi.

There are four Republican Party candidates for the Second Congressional District seat: Stephanie Bell, Rick Barber, Martha Roby and Beau McKinney.

Flowers said he has no predictions on who may be victorious as the Republican nominee Tuesday, but he said he believes none of the candidates are strong enough to beat Democrat incumbent Bobby Bright.

“Bobby Bright has done an extremely good job, and I would say those candidates, whoever wins the primary, is not a heavy-weight candidate,” Flowers said. “All those people running those primary are light weight.

“Bobby Bright is an anomaly. He’s met more people in one year than his predecessor did in 16. I’ve never seen a congressman hold a town hall meeting in Banks.”

Flowers said he also has no indications on who may be victorious in the Republican Party primary for State Senate. The candidates are Ray Boles, Ken Barnett and Bryan Taylor, and the victor will face Democratic incumbent Wendell Mitchell.

Flowers said with more opposed races on the Republican ballot, including local judge candidates Shannon Clark and Clif Hastings; and District Attorney candidates Gary Bradshaw and Tom Anderson; and opposition in the congressional race, Pike County may see more Republican voters than Democratic.

“You see for the first time in Pike County…and statewide, more people voting in the Republican primary,” Flowers said.

Local Republican party officials agreed.

“The inquiries we’ve had from people in the county as to how they can get involved and support candidates they like has been exceptionally high this year,” said Pike County Republican Party Chair Adam Drinkwater. “Everything to me points that people are ready for a change in the state and ready for something different than what they’ve been getting at the state level for years.”

Pike County Republican Women President Nell Haigh agreed.

“From what I can tell, there’s a tremendous amount of interest and concern, and the general feeling is we must turn out in order to being the process,” she said.

Haigh said she personally feels the district attorney, judge, U.S. Congress and Senate seats are what most directly impact Pike County voters.

Pike County Democrat Party Chair Jerry Williams said he believes the Democratic votes will still be plenty in Pike County.

“We’ve got a good governor race on the Democratic side, which will appeal to a lot of voters,” Williams said. “I don’t see it as a problem for Democrats with the short slate this time.”

Williams said he believes the Democratic incumbents like Mitchell and Bright will be strong local candidates come November.

“The main thing is, no matter what your party is, get out and vote. It’s a right. We’ve got Memorial Day, where people all over the world have defended our right to fight,” Williams said. “So why not exercise our right for those people struggling daily.”

Other races on the ballot include: lieutenant governor, U.S. Senator, Supreme Court places 2 and 3, state treasurer, agriculture commissioner and Public Service Commission places 1 and 2. For a list, see the list of candidates inserted in this article.