Analysis of Alabama’s Primary from the Right and Left

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The race for Alabama governor is set. Incumbent Republican Kay Ivey turned back three challengers to win her party’s nomination without a runoff. Meanwhile, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox emerged from a crowded field to win the Democratic nomination.

Republicans have an extra step before determining their nominee for attorney general. That race goes to a July 17th runoff between incumbent Attorney General Steve Marshall and former Attorney General Troy King. Democrats picked Joseph Siegelman, son of former Gov. Don Siegelman, for attorney general over Birmingham attorney Chris Christie.

Democratic Judge Bob Vance had no opposition to become the nominee for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He faces Associate Justice Tom Parker who won over incumbent Chief Justice Lyn Stuart.

WBHM’s Andrew Yeager spoke with Republican political consultant Jeff Vreeland and Democratic pollster Zac McCrary for analysis of Tuesday’s results.

 

Interview with Vreeland;

Interview with McCrary:

 

Interview Highlights

McCrary on Maddox’s win:

“I think that was an incredibly impressive performance for Mayor Maddox. Here is a guy running his first statewide race, has never run for office outside of the city of Tuscaloosa. Maddox took well over 50 percent of the vote … it spans the state. It really bridged the divisions of the Democratic Party and I think shows the real energy … that is critical to put this race in play.”

Vreeland on Ivey’s win:

“It talks about her stature within the state and what she’s doing to restore order as some have called it in the state of Alabama. I think a lot of individuals were concerned. There was a lot of talk on talk radio, columns written about the idea that she would not be able to make it without a runoff and that her numbers were being pulled down. She didn’t participate in debates. She wasn’t campaigning as hard as she needed to be … She worked really hard to get her base out and I think her strategy worked.”

 

Vreeland on the Republican runoff for attorney general:

(Disclosure: Vreeland’s company worked for attorney general candidate Alice Martin)

“I think it’s going to be an interesting race from that perspective of how Troy King will campaign. Because Troy King did not campaign. He used the same tactic Kay Ivey did. You did not see him out on the stump. You did not see him at the local barbecues….He spent money on television ads, on radio, mail pieces … We haven’t seen an active Troy King yet. That race is going to shore up this idea of, “Hey, do I need to be out there campaigning?” Because in the fall they’re going to have a tough challenger with Siegelman’s son.

McCrary on Siegelman’s chances in the fall:

“Voters are looking for fresh faces, for new faces. And I think that Joseph Siegelman ran and impressive race, is a player on the statewide race now. You contrast that to Troy King who has already been ousted as attorney general once over. And Steve Marshall who, again, got his job by cutting a deal with disgraced Governor Robert Bentley … I think that [race] could be a real sleeper.”

 

McCrary on Parker vs. Vance for chief justice:

“I actually think this may be the best opportunity for Democrats to break through at the statewide level because it’s such a clear contrast of a respected, independent-minded judge in Bob Vance versus Tom Parker who is absolutely what’s wrong with our court system and would only seek to embarrass the state at every turn.”

Vreeland on the chief justice race:

“It will be a tough challenge, but it’s still a deeply red state. We’re seeing a lot more energy coming from the Democratic side in the state of Alabama. But at the end of the day … there will be a lot of straight-ticket voting and I do see that Tom Parker will be victorious again in the fall.”

Andrew Yeager

Andrew Yeager

Host/Reporter



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