Ivey’s move re­de­fines piv­otal po­lit­i­cal scene

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS -

The de­ci­sive move by newly minted Gover­nor, Kay Ivey, to de­clare a Spe­cial Elec­tion for the Jeff Ses­sions’ Sen­ate Seat this year rather than next year changes the en­tire com­plex­ion of who will sit in that cov­eted seat. It also re­de­fines the land­scape of an ever chang­ing and piv­otal Alabama po­lit­i­cal scene.

This next year will be an ad­ven­ture as we elect a Sen­a­tor and con­cur­rently the 2018 Gover­nor’s Race will be­gin its evolution. We have al­ready seen the down­fall of a sit­ting gover­nor this year and by Septem­ber 26, we will see the elec­tion of a new ju­nior U.S. Sen­a­tor. There is an as­sump­tion that only a Re­pub­li­can can win statewide of­fice in Alabama and winning the GOP pri­mary is tan­ta­mount to elec­tion.

The de­ci­sion by Gover­nor Ivey was the right de­ci­sion. Most folks would as­sume that “forth­with” means this year rather than next year. It was also a wise po­lit­i­cal move by Ms. Ivey if she wants to run for a full term.

Ivey’s call­ing for the Spe­cial Elec­tion for Ses­sions’ seat im­me­di­ately, could be the death knell for Luther Strange. By De­cem­ber, he may go from be­ing the new­est and tallest mem­ber of the U.S. Sen­ate to the short­est serv­ing sen­a­tor in Alabama his­tory. His defeat could be very in­glo­ri­ous and hu­mil­i­at­ing.

With the elec­tion be­ing this year, it will be the only show in town. It will be a spec­ta­cle. Ev­ery politician who is in any of­fice can run with­out risking his or her cur­rent posts. In other words, ev­ery­one has a free shot. There­fore, it will be a free-for-all.

Ev­ery­one will run against poor Big Luther and the Bent­ley taint. They will use their cam­paign re­sources to give you the un­mit­i­gated de­tails of how Luther got put in that seat by ole Bent­ley. You will be told so many times that Bent­ley and Luther got to­gether in a back­room with Re­bekah and bro­kered a deal to sell Luther the Sen­ate seat in re­turn for Luther not pros­e­cut­ing Bent­ley and Re­bekah that you will be tired of it. Luther will be as tar­nished and feath­ered as ole Bent­ley.

In about two weeks, when the Wash­ing­ton PAC’s see the polling that re- veals Luther is in trou­ble, his cam­paign re­sources will be less than he ex­pected and he may not be able to de­fend against the on­slaught of neg­a­tive ads.

The ques­tion be­comes, who will be the early fron­trun­ners? Roy Moore en­ters as the fa­vorite. His evan­gel­i­cal base be­comes crys­tal­lized in a large field. It will prob­a­bly re­serve him a place in the Septem­ber 26 run-off. Who will be the other can­di­date in the runoff? It may very well not be Luther Strange.

The U.S. Sen­ate is a se­lect club. A cur­sory look around the cham­ber re­veals very wealthy peo­ple or celebri­ties. Sen­ate seats are bought by wealthy in­di­vid­u­als in a good many cases. We have some peo­ple in Alabama who could very eas­ily buy the Sen­ate seat.

The short pe­riod of time that ex­ists to raise money for an Au­gust 15 elec­tion even fur­ther en­hances the ad­van­tage for some­one who can self fi­nance and write a big check. The name on most lists is the “Yella Fella,” Jimmy Rane. He would sell. He is a nat­u­ral sales­man.

Folks close to Yella Fella get the feel­ing that he does not want to go to Wash­ing­ton at this time in his life. How­ever, he is adamant and de­ter­mined that Lu- ther Strange will not re­main in the seat. There­fore, he may bankroll an­other can­di­date through a su­per PAC.

Ru­mor has it that he will get be­hind Del Marsh. Marsh has his own money also. How­ever, he needs more money be­cause he is to­tally un­known to Alabama vot­ers.

I will keep you posted on the de­vel­op­ments. I do not know how many of these folks will join the fray but this is how I will hand­i­cap the horses at this time.

Jimmy Rane and Roy Moore are one and two. Other pos­si­bil­i­ties are Con­gress­man Robert Ader­holt, Con­gress­man Bradley Byrne, Luther Strange, Sec­re­tary of State John Mer­rill, Con­gress­man Mo Brooks, State Au­di­tor Jim Ziegler, State Sen­a­tor Del Marsh, Trump Trum­peter Perry Hooper, Jr, State Sen­a­tor Slade Black­well, State Sen­a­tor Trip Pittman, ADECA Di­rec­tor Jim Byard, State Sen­a­tor Arthur Orr, and State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ed Henry. It will be a great show. Steve Flow­ers is Alabama’s lead­ing po­lit­i­cal colum­nist. His weekly col­umn ap­pears in over 60 Alabama news­pa­pers. He served 16 years in the state leg­is­la­ture. Steve may be reached at www.steve­flow­ers. us.

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