The Political Round-Up
Winners, losers & the to be determined
in this most strange political season
By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
On to the concluding installation of a post-Super Tuesday assessment of the winners and losers and all the various gradations in between as generously offered by MBT's team of political savants ...
"Winners and Losers:
Biggest Winners are the Alabama 'establishment' Republicans! For all the haranguing over the national anti-establishment zeitgeist it is a classic case of 'throw all the bums out …… except our bums!'
(U.S. Sen. Richard C.) Shelby (R-Ala.), (U.S. Rep. Bradley) Byrne (R-Ala.), (U.S. Rep. Martha) Roby (R-Ala.), (Alabama Public Service Commission President Twinkle) Cavanaugh are all federal and/or state office holders who won handily over their 'TEA-party' opponents.
This proves that equating the very real uprising occurring in the presidential contest with the TEA-Party movement is a gross oversimplification of what is occurring. This is seen in the fact Ted Cruz (the clear TEA-Party favorite) cannot get any real traction despite his Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma wins.
Shelby is not just an establishment senator –- the man IS the establishment for crying out loud and he wasn’t even pressed to a gallop much less a race. In hindsight the total war he waged seems to have just been for his own amusement. Surely he had sophisticated opinion research that was showing him comfortably ahead yet he went all belt-and-suspenders in not just winning but crushing the will of his main opponent just because young (challenger) Jonathan McConnell dared to dream of standing in the king’s sunshine, breathing his air, existing in the same time-space continuum.
Byrne easily dispatched his TEA-Party/Roy Moore aligned opponent and Martha Roby did the same.
Twinkly Cavanaugh was re-elected to the PSC and is part of the Riley Gang and heavily supported by BCA.
News of the establishment’s demise has been greatly exaggerated.
Donald Trump: Big Winner - he is NOT being propelled by the TEA-party, aided perhaps by what they started but that is not the wind at his back. What should be encouraging to the GOP for November is that Trump appears to be running the perfect third-party candidacy but IN the Republican Primary therefore insuring that the GOP voting block won’t be split as with Perot in ’92 but they will win the general with many, many voters who simply sat out ’08 and ’12.
With every lame attempt by (presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Marco) Rubio (R-Fla.) or his puppet masters Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, et al. to call 'conservative Republicans' to arms against Trump they are doing the one thing that assures Trump will be even stronger: they are firing up real conservative voters who would never vote for their preferred choice!
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions: Big Winner – deftly waited to publicly endorse Trump until the eve of the AL primary (perhaps holding out to see if Cruz could ever show the chops to pull even) now he has clearly set himself in the catbird seat as potential VP pick or better yet AG in 2017. The truly frightening part of this is the possibility that Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley may get the chance to choose a new senator. Himself perhaps? Yikes!
Bradley Byrne: Big Winner – he has really served way to the right of expectations and I think that has insulated him from the repeated attempts to paint him as 'establishment.' I bet he has actually irritated some of the business-type backers from his gubernatorial and first congressional campaigns by serving up so much red meat to the conservatives on the floor of the House but it has been a smart play on his part and I get the impression he actually likes it. This win shows he has earned some right-wing street cred.
Jim Patterson: (Mobile County circuit judgeship) Winner – a last minute entry after the courthouse crowd had long ago handpicked (presiding Circuit Judge Charlie) Graddick’s successor. It will be interesting to watch how many of the Allen Ritchie supporters contribute to help Patterson retire his campaign debt.
(Mobile County Commissioner) Jerry Carl: Winner – pushed to the wall by a torrent of negative campaigning by (state Rep.) Margie Wilcox, Kim and Connie he weathered the storm – he can’t poke his chest out too far but he absolutely took their best shot and survived.
Jon Gray: Winner while partially losing – As a political consultant he played the hand he was dealt. He did what Patterson had to do to and that was to create a message in a race where there really was no issue, zero name ID and limited resources for advertising. The 'revolving door of crime' has practically nothing to do with the day-to-day work of a circuit court judge but as straw-men go it is easy to pound on and Gray took full advantage of it in a tight race.
In the Carl/Wilcox tango Gray hammered Carl with the negative ads enough to make it a race. Everybody says they hate them but they moved the needle. Wilcox and Hastie wanted to scorch the earth so Gray cooked the napalm.
Margie Wilcox, Kim Hastie and Connie Hudson: Losers. Double, double, toil and trouble; parties burn and nonsense bubbles but remember if 'Fair is foul' then 'Foul is fair.' Four more years of good theater!
"Winners -- Jerry Carl wins the battle against Connie Hudson, w(ho unabashedly and enthusiastically campaigned for Carl foe Margie Wilcox.) He says he can put the race aside and work together, but that would be a big departure from his first four years.
Judge Ben Brooks prevailed with James Patterson despite that fact that the other judges were unified in their support of Allen Ritchie. Look for Brooks to make a bid to be the presiding judge and then a run for the Alabama Supreme Court. He will fail at becoming the presiding judge, but could win a Supreme Court seat.
The losers are obviously Connie Hudson, Bess Rich, Kim Hastie and Margie Wilcox.
Jonathan Gray comes out pretty bad, also. Jerry Carl was really easy to defeat, but Gray couldn't pull it off."
Incumbents. The power of incumbency was on full display Tuesday. In an election year where the voters are incensed and ready to take huge gambles, they still overwhelmingly re-elected their local representatives. Political office is virtually a lifetime job in Alabama.
Republicans. Eight years of Obama has the base fired up. Republican primaries are meeting or beating records in many states. If the base stays fired up, the Republicans should have an easy task in November as I don't believe the Democrats are as excited about Clinton as in the past, especially with her embracing of Obama plus voters showing a desire for a totally new direction in the Presidency.
Alabama. Trump's probable primary win bodes well for the State. He is a guy that keeps a list of friends and enemies, so woe be to Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, etc. if Trump becomes President. Alabama always brought Trump his largest audiences. Shelby's re-election makes sure that Alabama keeps one of the most senior and powerful Senators in the nation fighting for himself (which benefits the State most of the time).
Extreme Conservatives and Tea Partiers. Voters continue to make it clear, and the clarity gets better every election, that what they say they want does not connect with their time in the ballot box. Running against an incumbent is a horribly bad investment. You can't run to the right or left of them, you can just replace them when they retire, redraw the district, or meet their Maker. Voters aren't sophisticated enough to see that a radical change in the Presidency is not enough to drive the change they say they seek. Attaching the adjective 'Establishment' to an incumbent is not an Achilles' heel.
Jerry Carl. This man has done a great job for his district, including passing all of his salary along to schools and holding the dam wall from the river of Connie Hudson's spend full ways. For the voters to give him such a narrow victory was inexcusable. He is exactly the man the voters say they want: conservative in ideology and fiscal responsibility. To reward him with a little over 50% of the vote was cruel. And now, he has to put up with a county commissioner that openly despises him and campaigned against him. Mr. Carl deserved better.
Voters. They have shown enthusiasm yet again for status quo. It is exactly what will keep Alabama at the bottom of almost every published scale for another four years.
Democratic Party in Alabama. The Alabama Democratic Party has become so weak, that it can't mount ANY kind of counter attack. It's leadership is non existent, coffers are mired in debt payments, and the troops are in disarray. The primaries have become the de facto elections for all offices below the Presidency. It is a sad state of affairs when there is a singular choice on the ballot. It took them decades to get in this fix, and it will decades to become a force again. it is their own fault, and making it where we all are faced with singular choices when going to the polls should make them ashamed."
former party official
"As far as the election goes, the Republicans have a revolt on their hands. Their past promises, most broken, and their nod and wink compromises have alienated most voters. They are making it worse by attacking the front runner, mostly by saying, 'if you support Donald Trump, you're dumb, you're uneducated and you're a racist.
The same can be said for the Democrats. The news networks are losing their credibility, with their horrible debate formats and stupid questions, and constant spin. Sure wish we still had Chet Brinkley or Walter Cronkite!
Voters want to see problems solved and for things to get better for them and their families, but most think it's getting worse. I wish we had a national vote of no confidence and could throw all of Washington out of office at one time and fire all of the bureaucrats and start over. Maybe that's called a revolution?"
"There is not much rhyme or reason behind what is going on in the Presidential race. I have never in my 70 + yrs. seen anything like this, and find it to be rather sad! This is the most childish, non-productive, ignorant comparisons of children in short britches I have ever seen! In the way of personality disorders ,there is not a dimes difference between Obama and Trump….just a different slant. Than shamefully Rubio allows himself to be baited into the same name calling playground scuffle with Trump, while Cruz sits on the side trying to mend his ills by being so confrontational with Congress, especially the Senate. Carson is probably the brightest, most even-keeled, likable guy running, but apparently that is not what 'we' want this go ‘round! Kasich is too little too late. Good choice for VP.
I will vote for the last man standing as long as we don’t see any surprises from the GOP this summer. If they have a brokered convention or any type of attempt to oust the winner of the GOP Primaries, I’ll not vote Republican but will have to go with the people who have gone through the fire!!!
As for the school tax in Baldwin County, I am terribly disappointed in the way the vote turned out. This tax is not new, has been in place for years, is much needed and now the school system ,our children, are going to be short changed by an ignorant bunch who probably should have repeated first grade. The interesting point is the NO Tax people are just that without any idea or clue as to what to do for the system beyond what has been done this past summer through the Task Force which put forth a plan. (see the BCSB web page for a link to this report) .
Glad to see Bradley Byrne retained his seat in Congress. I have wondered who the big money was behind his opponent. They really spent the money on some pretty awful adds. Based on the exposure from TV, I would have voted a write in if this guy was the only one running! All I can say is I am glad Bradley won, I hope he and the other Congress people are paying attention to how angry the people are, and a lot of them are voting this time for sure. Things are going to be unpleasant for them if they don’t do what is right and what the people are concerned about. Remember fear creates anger which creates action, which creates change of some sort, good or bad!
Senator Shelby should have gracefully retired. Too bad!
"I have a challenge for the readers of MBT. Shelby just carried every single county in Alabama, most counties over 60 percent. Can any reader recall a major Alabama race in which there was a serious opponent running in which the winner carried every single county? I don’t think it has ever happened; am I wrong?"