Sunday, July 27, 2014

Race of the Day- Alabama Governor

100 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Red State (South)

Outlook: Safe Republican

As always, we begin in the first state in the alphabet and once again, the Governorship of Alabama is up for grabs. Well, it would basically be up for grabs if not for the total decimation of the Democrat Party in the state over the past several years. In a state that Democrats owned for generations, Republicans now have dominance in all federal and statewide races.

First time GOP Governor Robert Bentley easily won re-nomination earlier this year. A popular political figure, who won a good deal of crossover votes as a sort of unifying figure four years ago to be elected Governor, the former physician has been a fairly outspoken conservative during his time as Governor. As one example, he made headlines by inviting right-leaning New Yorkers to move to Alabama, after their state's liberal Governor made comments which seemed to indicate they were not welcome there.

This November, Bentley will face an opponent, who a while back might have been a stronger contender than he is now. Also a retired physician, Parker Griffith was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 2008. He had previously lost two primary bids in his district. While serving as a fairly conservative Blue Dog Democrat, at least by national standards, Griffith knew he was up for a very difficult reelection campaign in what would be a strong year for Republicans in 2010. Thus, Griffith ended his first year in Congress by switching to the Republican Party. With that defection, all hopes for a Democrat winning in that district were dashed, and enough conservative voters at home were unswayed by Griffith's move to the GOP, and he lost in the primary of his new party.

The former Congressman fared even worse in a 2012 GOP primary battle and he began to talk about running for Congress again as an Independent. Then, he turned his sites to the Governorship, but instead of running as a Republican or Independent, Griffith re-joined the Democrats, just four years after bolting the party. Saying that he had always felt most comfortable as an Alabama Democrat, he was formally welcomed back by the much weakened state party. I suppose that would be similar in some ways to Cleveland fans welcoming back LeBron James. While Griffith was able to win a two way primary to advance to the general election, he is not exactly expected to have a LeBron like impact on his party's overall fortunes.

Early polling shows that the incumbent has a substantial lead and should easily capture a majority of the vote of this doctor vs. doctor match-up in a state where Republicans are likely to once again dominate the white vote and sweep all statewide races. In conservative Alabama, Governor Bentley is a safe bet for four more years.

Bentley campaign link:

Gubernatorial races predicted thus far: 0D, 1 R (1 Safe)
Overall totals predicted thus far: 7 D, 8 R