Friday, July 16, 2010

Digital Roundtable Election 2010: On to November... A Preview of major races in the Alabama general election

  Capital City Free Press founder and publisher Joseph O. Patton and managing editor Josh Carples have appeared as election/political analysts for several River Region talk radio programs. Wednesday, as guests on “First Call” hosted by Kevin Elkins on WLWI 1440 AM, they discussed the results of the Tuesday run-off election and previewed some of the races for November. The following is an expanded discussion of the races on the ballot. Wednesday’s CCFP analysis of the gubernatorial race can be read here:

Patton: The Tea Party may be a hot topic, but mere buzz doesn’t win elections and the 2nd Congressional District run-off proved that. For all the controversy and national media he garnered and the resulting controversy, Rick Barber could not translate that into a majority of votes. I truly believe voters are genuinely upset with Congress and the president right now, but they’re not willing to cast a ballot for someone like Barber who appears to be on the fringe by seemingly advocating violence and inciting treason in his campaign ads. Barber was short on solutions and overflowing with misdirected anger. Simply running down elected leaders doesn’t equate to having a viable campaign platform.

  What do you think Martha Roby’s chances are against incumbent Bobby Bright?

Carples: As of right now, I will say she has a tough campaign ahead. District 2 is a conservative district, and while it usually leans Republican, Bright’s voting record as a “Blue Dog Democrat” is very conservative, not giving Roby much to counter. I predict that her campaign will be an extension of her primary campaign in the sense that she will be running against Democrats in general – using Nancy Pelosi as her target – rather than her actual opponent. That did not work for Jay Love two years ago.

Patton: Yes, it seems that strategy has already proven to be a loser. And let’s be blunt, how many voters in the 2nd District really care about and follow the day to day actions of the House leadership? I believe most voters - regardless of their party affiliation - want to know what a candidate is going to do for their district.

  James Anderson defeating Giles Perkins wasn’t much of a surprise considering Perkins barely made it into the runoff to begin with, but the real question is does Anderson have a prayer in a state whose recent history had been filled Republican-only attorneys general?

  I’m inclined to believe that this race may be competitive after all. Anderson has a lengthy resume in the legal field, including a stint on the Alabama Ethics Commission which certainly qualifies as applicable experience, and Luther Strange will have to shed his image as a Washington lobbyist. Granted, it wasn’t a factor in his primary duel with Troy King, but I believe King did himself in with real and imagined controversies during his tenure. I believe if Anderson can effectively point out to voters that Strange has spent his career lobbying for some companies with sketchy reputations and which have engaged in some questionable practices, as well as paint him as an outside with shallow ties to and little work in Alabama, I think this race could be competitive.

Carples: I think this race could be one of the most interesting races this year. Strange currently may benefit from more name recognition since he ran for lieutenant governor against Jim Folsom, Jr. last time. That being said, his background as a corporate lobbyist was brought up then, and will most likely be brought up this time as well.

Patton: Though the nominees were decided last month, let’s take a look at the lieutenant governor’s race. Given Jim Folsom, Jr.’s general political prowess, fundraising capability and name identification with voters, I think Kay Ivey is in for the fight of her political career. Also, she will be hamstrung by the collapse of Alabama’s Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program.

  What do you think she can do to make this a competitive race? Can she overcome the albatross around her neck which is PACT?

Carples: I’m not sure what Ivey can do. Most political analysts have said that this race is Folsom’s to lose. The PACT issue came up in the primaries against George Wallace, Jr. and may have helped make Young Boozer the Republican nominee for state treasurer. With the anger surrounding that program’s problems, it will be difficult for Ivey to distance herself from it.

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