GOP’s in total control in state

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In all my years of following Alabama politics, I have never seen as dull an election year as we just witnessed. It stems from the fact that we had an uneventful and noncompetitive governor’s race.

We are basically now a one-party state when it comes to statewide elections. There are 28 elected statewide officers in the Heart of Dixie when you include the 19 judicial posts, and all 28 are held by Republicans. Gov. Dr. Robert Bentley essentially was reelected in the June GOP Primary when he trounced two unknown opponents, garnering 90 percent of the vote in the primary.

The general rule of thumb is that a Democratic candidate can max out at about 40 percent of the vote. In the Nov. 4th balloting, Parker Griffith received 36 percent against Gov. Bentley, thus, falling short of the mark and possibly lowering the Democratic threshold for future Democratic gubernatorial nominees.

Bentley would have bested any candidate this year in his reelection bid. His re-electability numbers were daunting from the get go. Initial polling indicated that Bentley was unbeatable. Polls revealed that Alabamians trust and like him.

Bentley started out with a 20-point lead over his Democratic challenger and the numbers never wavered. He wound up beating Democratic nominee Parker Griffith by 26 points. By the way, both Griffith and Bentley are 72-year-old, retired physicians. It is doubtful this will ever occur again in Alabama politics.

Three more constitutional officeholders easily won reelection. Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey received 63 percent of the vote. State treasurer Young Boozer won without opposition. Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan received 65 percent. Newcomers John Merrill and Jim Ziegler both received more than 60 percent of the vote to win the Secretary of State post and the open State Auditor position, respectively.

Two Republicans, Jeremy Oden and Chip Beeker, won seats on the three-member Public Service Commission with no Democratic opposition. They were both victorious in the June Republican primaries, which guaranteed them four years on the utility rate setting panel.

Bill Thompson was reelected to the Court of Civil Appeals without opposition. There were also three Republican judges reelected to the Court of Criminal Appeals with no Democratic challengers.

The Democrats also took it on the chin in all of the so-called “close” State Senate races. The GOP reapportionment plan was designed to take out two of the remaining white Democrats in the State Senate and they succeeded.

The most impressive victor was Attorney General Luther Strange. “Big Luther” was challenged by 33-year-old Joe Hubbard of Montgomery. Young Mr. Hubbard’s challenge to Strange was financed by a whopping $2 million of gambling money from the Poarch Creek Indian Casinos. Hubbard actually outspent Republican Strange. Luther turned the challenge back with a landslide 59 to 41 victory.

Also impressive was the fact that Dr. Bentley won with 64 percent of the vote without running one negative ad.