Since most of us have now thanked the Good Lord that another election day has come and gone and we’ve had time to take a deep breathe, let’s spend a few minutes reflecting on what happened across Alabama.
A few days ago I posted that I would be watching five legislative races in particular. These were Senate races in northwest and northeast Alabama, as well as one in east Alabama, along with a House race in Baldwin County and one in Huntsville.
I made no forecasts, just gave some details on both Republican and Democratic candidates and passed along thoughts I picked up from others. Had not seen any polls, nor had a dog in any of these fights.
But what I thought might be highly contested races turned out to be anything but, except in one case. Let’s begin there.
Veteran Democrat House member Johnny Mack Morrow challenged first-term Republican Senator Larry Stutts in the northwest corner of the state. There were 42,363 votes in this race, Stutts got 899 more than Morrow. While the race in Huntsville between Democrat Amy Wasyluka and veteran Tom Butler was somewhat competitive, 54 percent to 46 percent for Butler was a very comfortable win.
The other three went strongly for the Republican candidates. Veteran Democrat House member Craig Fold of Etowah County ran as an Independent against newcomer Andrew Jones of Cherokee County. Jones got 61 percent. In the Mountain Book section of Birmingham, newcomer Democrat Felicia Stewart challenged incumbent Republican David Faulkner to no avail. He got 62 percent. Down in Fairhope, newcomer Danielle Mashburn-Myrick went against veteran Republican House member Joe Faust. He beat her better than two to one.
Takeaway one. If millennial, suburban females are breaking away from the Republican party in some parts of the country, the memo never got to Alabama. Wasyluka, Stewart and Mashburn-Myrick definitely fit the image. Each was a new comer to politics, bright, articulate and personable. Didn’t matter. They were Democrats in a deep, deep red state.
According to the secretary of state, 65 percent of all ballots voted Nov. 6 were straight ticket. Some 661,898 were Republican, 460,408 were Democrat. This 201,490 advantage to Republican candidates put all Democrats in a deep hole. Especially those running for statewide offices such as Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Supreme Court Chief Justice, Auditor, etc. In almost all of these cases, Democrats found it hard to break 40 percent.
Walt Maddox for governor (40.3); Will Boyd for Lt. Governor (38.6); Joseph Siegelman for attorney general (41.1); Bob Vance for Chief Justice (42.5) Miranda Joseph for auditor (39.4)
Editor’s note: I have never voted a straight ticket and don’t plan to any time in the future. How folks can just blindly give their vote because of party affiliation is something I don’t understand. I take my vote more seriously than this.
Takeaway two: Alabama does have a two party system, but it is not Democrat and Republican, it is black party and white party. The 2019 session of the legislature will have only two white Democrats and no black Republicans. Montgomery is 55 percent black. While trounced statewide, here Maddox got 63 percent, Boyd 63 and Siegelman 66.
Macon County is 82 percent black. Maddox got 81 percent; Boyd 84 and Siegelman 85. But flip to Winston County which has less than one percent black population and Maddox got 14 percent; Boyd 11 and Siegelman 15.
Alabama is 26.2 percent black, Georgia is 30.5 and Florida only 16. However, black Democrats in both Georgia and Florida came within an eyelash of being elected governor Nov. 6.
Could that happen here? I’ll let you mull that one over.