Does Vance stand a chance?
Yes, No, Maybe; Tuesday will tell
By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
Does Vance have a chance?
That would be Robert Vance, the Jefferson County circuit judge and progeny of a legendary Alabama Democrat who emerged from backstage to replace the Shorty Price-like Harry Lyon as the party's nominee to challenge the Moses-like Roy Moore for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Everything and just about everybody screams "No, Vance has no chance." Moore probably has as much name ID as any politician in the state, including Gov. Robert Bentley and U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions. That goes a long way, even if the "10 Commandments Judge" carries more than a little negative name ID as well. Courageous or crackpot leaves scant room for indifference.
Can Vance capitalize on the antipathy toward Moore? If the vote were restricted to the legal community, Moore would certainly wander in Alabama political desert for quite a spell. However, Moore's amen corner is the Christian right and, for political influence, the state's legal professionals are no match at the ballot box.
However, stranger things have happened, possibly even Roy Moore winning the 2012 GOP nomination in the first place.
Vance is clearly a competent, qualified and thoughtful candidate. He has a political pedigree and some campaign experience.
There will be a small slice of the electorate who sees Vance as the Democratic Party's best bet to hold on to a statewide office, given PSC president Lucy Baxley's likely curtain-closing exit.
Those calling cards may be weak medicine against sharing the same side of the ballot in Alabama with President Obama.
So what do some of MBT's political gurus, but mostly area barristers, think? Does Vance have a chance?
"Vance has a chance, but Moore's associating Vance with President Obama is shrewd politics."
-- Douglas Johnstone,
former justice, Alabama Supreme Court
"If lawyers and citizens who understood the law constituted the majority of voters in this state, Vance would have a chance. Vance has no chance."
"Haven't seen any polls. He has a chance.
My concern has been that there is not enough going on in black community. Dems take for granted that all black folks go in and vote straight Democratic. Four years ago, a bunch of folks voted for Obama and did not vote for any other office. In 2008, there were active Congressional campaigns in 5 (Parker Griffith) and 2 (Mayor Bright) that were pushing straight ticket voting.
This year there is nothing going on with other campaigns.
It will be interesting to see if 13 percent of the population is paying attention or if they decided they just hate the black guy in the White House."
"No! I say this even after donating money to Vance's campaign. Like most attorneys, I find Moore wholly unqualified to run the Alabama court system. I really don't care too much about his pandering or demagoguery but the bottom line is that he was (and will be) a crummy Chief Justice.
His candidacy is a missed opportunity much like the U.S. Senate seats in Nevada, Delaware and Indiana. In each the Republican nomination was hijacked by tea party zealots resulting in each of them staying (or becoming) victories for the Democrats, costing the Republicans control of the US Senate.
Bill Armistead and the state Republican Party should have seen this coming and had a plan in place. They failed. Now we all have to suffer the consequences (and embarrassment)."
"I think Vance has a very good chance of winning. I have talked to several people who are ranking members of the Republican Party, and they have told me that while they cannot personally endorse him, they will be voting for him. The fact that former Republican justices who served with Moore have endorsed Vance speaks volumes. I believe Moore is scared and that is why is trying to scare the electorate with issues that are non-issues in Alabama, instead of talking about what needs to be done as Chief Justice."
-- Ginger Poynter,
-- Tom Harrison,
"I am not sure. It is a name ID race, and Moore has plenty of that. Also, to a lot of voters, it is favorable. Feels a lot like some of the past campaigns on education funding, but with Moore carrying both the flag and the cross."
attorney, north Alabama
"I think a very good one."
"No. He is on the ballot with Obama. He is up against Roy Moore who is very strong with core conservative and religious voters in Alabama. The coat tails of Romney will be long and strong in Alabama. Vance has no chance."
-- Jerry Lathan,
state GOP committeeman
"Yes, a lot of buzz."
-- Don Briskman,
"Nope, can't overcome straight ticket voting."
"It wouldn't surprise me. Moore is considered a joke by many and would make the state a laughingstock nationally."
"In a fantasy world, yes. But, in the world of real Alabama politics, one should never underestimate the effect of claiming you talk to God on a special 'bat phone' daily. Moore will win because too many people believe his right hand of God scam.
This is a sad, but accurate indictment of the electorate."
-- Al Pennington,
"In short, Vance has no chance. There will be too much straight GOP ticket voting on Nov 6. Romney's coattails in Alabama will propel Moore to victory."
"I think Judge Vance has an excellent chance of being elected. He is well respected by the bench and the bar."
-- Jeff Deen,
criminal defense attorney
" Vance may be the preference of every attorney in the state, not because he is more qualified, but because he poses less of a risk of another debacle. However, the debacle and his fervent Christian beliefs are the very reason why the majority of voters will elect Judge Moore."
-- Eaton Barnard,
"Yes, but it’s slim due to the probable straight ticket voting for Romney."
"Judge Vance would make a far better Chief Justice than Roy Moore, but he doesn’t stand a chance of being elected. Vance will be on the ballot with President Obama, and Mitt Romney will carry Alabama by a landslide. Unfortunately, Roy Moore’s message/agenda is embraced by too many Alabama voters."
"No, not a chance. (Come January there will be no Democrat holding a statewide office in Alabama.) It is amazing but you could see it coming after the Baxley/Graddick debacle in 1986. How ironic that the last statewide elected Democrat would be named Baxley."
-- Bradley Byrne,
"Yes, he will get all Democratic votes and I hope there are enough thinking Republicans who will take time not to vote a straight ticket. Depends on TV ads. Still a long shot but there is a chance. Go Bob!"
"No. The combination of his late start and the enmity in this state for Obama will cause too much Republican straight ticket voting for him to overcome."
"Ha! Not in Alabama."
"I don't think he's got any balls or blood. No."
"We owe so much debt of gratitude to Obama that I think he will come through for us again and sweep the state wide offices in Alabama for the Republicans."
-- Marty Connors,
ex-state GOP chairman
"I think Vance does have a chance. Not because of who Vance is, but because of who Roy Moore is."
-- Ed Kahalley, Sr.,
"Roy Moore will win and it will not be particularly close.
Oh, it’s worth speculating and interesting how it draws certain folks out in support of the Dem but ultimately I just don’t see how it moves the needle.
BTW, I just love how all these former judges who spent years traveling around the state to county committee meetings, Republican ladies clubs, etc. extolling the virtue of being a member of the Graaaan Ol’ Paawty and how appreciative they were to be supported by all the partisan local yocals are now in retirement so neutral and post-partisan, post-party in their concern for the judiciary. Moore ought to make each one of them personally come to his office each month to collect their retirement checks just so they have to grovel a little bit. Ingrates."
"I would think not. (He's) a very long shot."
-- Lynn Stacey,
"Probably not. The Obama thing and you see Obama yard signs along with Vance yard signs.
We had Roy Moore to speak a couple weeks ago. Someone asked me afterwards what I thought. I said he is crazy as a run over dog. He did not talk with us, he talked to us. He would go into long memorized dissertations on something to the effect that God is the ultimate law of America quoting Scripture, the Constitution and certain Founding Fathers. He believes he is on a mission of God, God is guiding him, God has an ultimate purpose for him and He has been conditioning him for a great cause. All his successes and failures, especially the failures, are simply conditioning laid down for him by God to prepare him for his ultimate destiny. He gets glassy-eyed and goes into a trance when he delivers his mission.
The man is seriously dangerous and WILL set us back to the Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door image that the rest of the country and world had of Alabama until Mercedes Benz came along.
A lawyer asked him if he thought it was OK for a Judge to defy a court order. After thinking a minute he answered “yes, if he is willing to suffer the consequences.
He wants to become a martyr. God help us!"