GOPs outweigh Dem votes

Published 7:23 pm Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When it comes to elections, local political analyst Steve Flowers just might be right — Pike County typically follows trends.

With the exception of two state races, Pike County’s Tuesday results were an indication of primary election night turnout almost exactly.

“Pike County is a microcosm,” Flowers said. “(We) will mirror the state a lot of times, especially in the general election. Not many counties will mirror that.”

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Aside from the Republican nominations for agriculture commissioner and attorney general, Pike County continued along the trend Flowers describes.

Different from the state popular votes, Pike County voters favored Attorney General Troy King over his victorious opponent Luther Strange and chose Dorman Grace over John McMillan in the agriculture commission’s open race Tuesday.

King was outnumbered significantly by Strange statewide. Grace and McMillan will enter the runoff election, though McMillan carried more votes across Alabama.

While Pike County’s voting habits were not unusual, there were some things that were different.

In Tuesday’s primary, close to 75 percent of the county’s voters cast ballots on the Republican ticket, rather than the Democratic ballot.

It’s a trend growing across the state, but it’s one quite unusual locally, Flowers said.

“It’s been an incremental permeation, but it’s finally coming to full frution,” he said.

And looking back on recent primary races, Flowers is right.

In 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2008, Pike County’s voters have consistently cast more votes in the Republican races than Democrat, but the numbers haven’t been so vast until Tuesday night.

In 2008, parties saw the next largest split with around 430 more votes cast Republican in the presidential primary than the Democrat. The least difference was in 1998, when around 190 were slated toward Republican.

Flowers said he believes the heavy GOP votes could be attributed to several factors, among them simply who is in the race.

“I think a lot of that was driven by the local races,” Flowers said.

That refers to two Pike and Coffee county races for circuit judge, where Shannon Clark defeated Clif Hastings and district attorney, where Tom Anderson defeated Gary Bradshaw.

It could also be attributed to incumbents Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne and U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Montgomery, having no primary opposition.

But Flowers also said he believes it’s just a sign of things to come.

“Most people think Alabama is such a Republican state,” Flowers said.

“We are in Washington politics. But it’s taken a while to come down to the local level.

“I think this is a sign the Republican Party is a majority in Alabama.”