Pre­par­ing for a mar­quee Se­nate race, piv­otal gover­nor’s race

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS -

The race for our open U.S. Se­nate seat will be the mar­quee po­lit­i­cal event for the re­main­der of this year. It will be a great show. How­ever, we have a sen­sa­tional and piv­otal 2018 gover­nor’s race evolv­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ously. This much-an­tic­i­pated gu­ber­na­to­rial derby will be af­fected by the pre­lim­i­nary Se­nate horse race.

The po­lit­i­cal land­scape has changed dra­mat­i­cally with the de­ci­sive move by new Gover­nor Kay Ivey to call for the elec­tion of Jeff Ses­sions’ suc­ces­sor to the Se­nate this year.

Un­like in olden days where run­ning a pre­lim­i­nary statewide race was a step­ping-stone to get­ting elected four years later, in re­cent years los­ing statewide is not good – es­pe­cially if that loss has oc­curred within less than six months. There­fore, three or more thor­ough­breds are re­moved from the gover­nor’s race. One will be in the Se­nate and the other two will be ex­iled to Buck’s Pocket and will not be play­ers in the gover­nor’s race. You can re­move Roy Moore, Luther Strange, and any un­known wealthy per­son, who can and will spend five to ten mil­lion dol­lars of their own money. This un­known rich man will ei­ther be Se­na­tor or gone from the scene.

Roy Moore’s re­moval from the gover­nor’s race is the most sig­nif­i­cant change to the gu­ber­na­to­rial track. His evan­gel­i­cal base, which prob­a­bly ac­counts for 20-30 per­cent of a GOP pri­mary vote, will be splin­tered among the field.

As I pe­ruse the horses graz­ing in the pas­ture, let’s take a look at them be­cause the race be­gins in less than a month, with fundrais­ing for the June 2018 pri­maries be­gin­ning on June 6. Be­fore I men­tion some horses who look to be fron­trun­ners, let me say that most of these folks ain’t ponies.

Kay Ivey is 72. She would have prob­a­bly gone out to pas­ture had she not be­come gover­nor. With 18 months as gover­nor she be­gins to look very gu­ber­na­to­rial. If she de­cides to run, she will be run­ning as the in­cum­bent and will be a vi­able horse, if not the front-run­ner.

Huntsville Mayor, Tommy Bat­tle, 61, is go­ing to be a player in this race. He has done an ex­em­plary job as mayor of Alabama’s most im­por­tant and suc­cess­ful city. Folks, if we did not have Huntsville, we would be last in ev­ery­thing. Bat­tle is pop­u­lar in his neck of the woods and will come out of the Ten­nessee Val­ley with a good many votes.

The “Yella Fella,” Jimmy Rane, 70, may make the race for gover­nor. He is a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man worth $600 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Forbes Mag­a­zine. His busi­ness suc­cess has not gone to his head. He is and would come across as a “good ole guy.”

Jack Hawkins, the 72-year-old Chan­cel­lor of the Troy Uni­ver­sity Sys­tem, would be the best-qual­i­fied per­son to be gover­nor. If you put his re­sume into a merit sys­tem ros­ter, the com­puter would print out his name. He would also be an at­trac­tive can­di­date. Be­sides build­ing and pre­sid­ing over a uni­ver­sity sys­tem for 30 years, he is tall, hand­some, and very ar­tic­u­late and ex­udes hon­esty and in­tegrity. He would also be the only Marine in the race.

David Car­ring­ton, 69, is a Jef­fer­son County Com­mis­sioner and suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man. He could garner sig­nif­i­cant sup­port from the Birm­ing­ham busi­ness com­mu­nity. He also should have some name iden­ti­fi­ca­tion from be­ing seen on Birm­ing­ham tele­vi­sion for six years.

John McMil­lan, 75, is one of the best­liked and suc­cess­ful statewide of­fice­hold­ers in Alabama. He has had a stellar eight- year reign as Agriculture Com­mis­sioner. John is a na­tive of Bald­win County, which is one of Alabama’s fastest grow­ing and largest Repub­li­can coun­ties. If there is a large field, a strong vote in his home county could cat­a­pult him into a runoff.

What about the other statewide of­fice­hold­ers? Twinkle Ca­vanaugh and John Mer­rill are younger than the afore­men­tioned horses. At 50, they could sit out this race and come back ei­ther four or eight years later. Most ob­servers ex­pect Twinkle to run for Lt. Gover­nor. She would be a fa­vorite in that race. John Mer­rill prob­a­bly stays an­other term as Sec­re­tary of State, which is pru­dent. If he and Twinkle bide their time, they would be the fron­trun­ners for gover­nor next time around.

Two older horses in sec­ondary statewide of­fice are ques­tion marks. Young Boozer, 68, is term limited from run­ning again for Trea­surer. He is mum on his plans. State Au­di­tor Jim Ziegler, 68, has gar­nered a lot of press the last few years from that be­nign of­fice. Folks would be wise to not un­der­es­ti­mate him. How­ever, his best race would be for At­tor­ney Gen­eral. He would en­ter as the fa­vorite in that race.

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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