HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alabama voters will head to the polls with an eye towards picking the candidates for the November general elections on June 5. We asked a number of political analysts how they see the races shaping up less than a week out from the election.
The analysts we spoke with were most confident about Governor Kay Ivey having a strong showing on Tuesday, although they were divided on whether she would need a runoff.
“In my view, no one has effectively laid a hand on the Governor,” said analyst Jess Brown. “I imagine a lead in an excess of 20-percentage points or she’ll just win outright, no runoff.”
Political Analyst John Meredith also sees Ivey taking the primary “somewhat handily” which he believes would be a loss to the state. While he thinks Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle would be the best for the state, he sees his limited travel during the campaign as something that will cause him to “have issues in the south.”
Analyst David Person doesn’t expect a run-off. He pointed out that a recent dust-up where an Alabama legislator questioned the governor’s sexual orientation on Twitter “didn’t have much impact and didn’t seem to change the course of conversation.”
Brown invoked what he believes are the three key components to a successful campaign: money, message, and manpower. He says Governor Ivey has the advantage on all three at this point, “Her Republican opponents have run inefficient campaigns with milquetoast messages.”
But Meredith says Ivey is not without her own problems, saying that she has issues in Madison County, like appointing JesHenry Malone to Madison County Commission. He says “that upset all her party loyalists, who accuse her of betraying the party by appointing a Democrat.” Meredith added, “There is the issue of double dipping,” and while he says these issues are significant, they are regional and should not affect her overall.
On the Democratic side, Brown says when qualifying ended he would have predicted Sue Bell Cobb would take the primary, but as we approach the one-week-out mark, he projects Maddox will win.
He doesn’t think white voters will turn out in enough numbers for the Democratic primary and believes Maddox has made effective inroads with black voters.
Person echoed that assessment, pointing out the endorsements he’s received from the Alabama Democratic Coalition and the Alabama New South Coalition, two large organizations with mostly African-American members or affiliation.
However, Brown wonders how much of the black vote will go to Maddox’s opponent, James Fields.
The analysts also shared which races they’re watching most closely. Both Brown and Meredith say their eyes are on the Republican primary for Attorney General.
“The Attorney General race is by far the nastiest and by far the most competitive,” said Meredith. “They split the electorate pretty evenly.”
Brown says all four candidates are politically networked and have an “adequate” amount of money. He says insiders predict a runoff between Attorney General Steve Marshall and former Attorney General Troy King.
Brown also thinks that Chess Bedsole will “run better than people imagine.” On the Democratic side, he’s not sure who will come out on top between Joe Siegelman, son of former Governor Don Siegelman, and Chris Christie. He says Christie has the edge on money, Siegelman has the manpower component, and both messages are pretty similar — giving a slight edge to Siegelman due to his name recognition.
Person said the race he’s watching closely is the Republican side of the Lt. Governor’s race between State Rep. Will Ainsworth, Alabama Public Service Commission Chairwoman Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh and State Sen. Rusty Glover. He says the candidates are “not relying on policy” but rather their “Christian values” and is interested to see who will prevail.
Meredith also expects Congressman Mo Brooks to do very well, saying his opponent Clayton Hinchman’s campaign “didn’t seem to get off the ground” and his “messaging didn’t really register.”