Get­ting down to the prover­bial lick log

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS -

Folks we are get­ting down to the prover­bial lick log in the much-an­tic­i­pated vote for the open U.S. Se­nate seat va­cated by Jeff Ses­sions. Af­ter 20 years in the U.S. Se­nate as our ju­nior U.S. Sen­a­tor, Ses­sions left to be­come Don­ald Trump’s At­tor­ney Gen­eral. He prob­a­bly re­grets this de­ci­sion.

When the race be­gan it looked like a Roy Moore vs. Luther Strange race. How­ever, the third out­side horse emerged about a month ago. Ten­nessee Val­ley Con­gress­man, Mo Brooks, got a $2 mil­lion bump from the shoot­ing he en­dured while a mem­ber of the Repub­li­can base­ball team. He seized the mo­ment and Mo’s mo­men­tum gave him the “Big Mo.”

About three weeks ago it looked like a three man race be­tween Moore, Strange and Brooks. How­ever, the Washington belt­way con­sul­tants, poll­sters, and me­dia ex­perts sup­port­ing Strange poured a ton of money into stop­ping Mo’s mo­men­tum with neg­a­tive ads de­signed to thwart his catch­ing Luther and oust­ing him from the runoff. Re­cent polls in­di­cate that it has worked.

The lat­est polls in­di­cate a one-two fin­ish be­tween Moore and Strange. Strange’s Washington poll­sters tout that he may fin­ish in first place ahead of Moore. Money talks and it is the mother’s milk of pol­i­tics.

State Sen­a­tor Trip Pittman will do bet­ter than some ex­perts ex­pect. Watch for him to get a good home­town vote in Mo­bile and Bald­win Coun­ties.

Moore’s sup­port has never di­min­ished. It con­sis­tently hov­ers around 30 per­cent, even with his in­abil­ity to raise or spend much money. On the other hand, Luther Strange’s sup­port­ers have spent $3 - $5 mil­lion. The Bent­ley ap­point­ment has been a tremen­dous al­ba­tross for Luther. Turnout is crit­i­cal. Luther Strange would ben­e­fit from a large turnout among up­scale Jef­fer­son/ Shelby metro vot­ers. Mo Brooks hopes may ride on a large turnout in the Ten­nessee Val­ley.

Strange’s and Moore’s odds are en­hanced by the short win­dow that the race was run. Strange’s chances have been boosted by the en­dorse­ment of Alfa. This con­ser­va­tive group’s en­dorse­ment car­ries a lot of weight.

When Luther took the tainted nom­i­na­tion from Robert Bent­ley six months ago, he was told that he would have two years be­fore he would run. Un­der that sce­nario, his bet that a ton of money would be all he would need to keep the seat was a good bet. How­ever, when Gov­er­nor Kay Ivey changed that elec­tion to this year the sce­nario changed dra­mat­i­cally.

If Luther were run­ning in 2018 there would be 60 races on the bal­lot with a record 300 names to choose from. The av­er­age voter, who could not care less who the ju­nior U.S. Sen­a­tor is any­way, will also be vot­ing for State Sen­a­tor, State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Sher­iff, Pro­bate Judge, Cir­cuit Judge, Dis­trict Judge, five seats on the State Supreme Court, along with a spir­ited Chief Jus­tice con­test, State Au­di­tor, State Trea­surer, Agri­cul­ture Com­mis­sioner, an open con­tested At­tor­ney Gen­eral race, an open con­tested Lt. Gov­er­nor’s race, and one of the most crowded Gov­er­nor’s races in state his­tory that may well at­tract 10 vi­able can­di­dates.

The mil­lions spent to elect Luther Strange would have been over­whelm­ing. Folks would have walked into the booth and voted for the only name they knew. How­ever, this is the only race in town. The peo­ple who show up to vote will know the score. With the elec­tion be­ing Au­gust 15 and it be­ing the only race, there will be a low turnout. Also, any money spent for neg­a­tive at­tacks will gen­er­ally drive down the voter turnout.

All indi­ca­tions point to a low voter turnout, which helps Moore. He be­gan with 30 per­cent and they have not gone any­where. His 30 per­cent will vote and the lower the turnout, the higher per­cent­age that 30 per­cent be­comes. Moore’s folks will not be at the lake or beach or de­terred by the Au­gust heat. They are ar­dent and they will vote.

Re­mem­ber a poll is a pic­ture of the to­tal elec­torate. The fi­nal poll and the one that counts is the count of votes of those who ac­tu­ally show up to vote next Tues­day. We will see. 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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