As you know by now, Alan Boothe of Troy, Mike Millican of Hamilton, Lesley Vance of Phenix City, and Steve Hurst of Munford have switched to the Republican party. All cite their belief this move is in the best interest of their district and is a move to a party closer to their personal beliefs. All of which will be tested in 2014.
All of which brings up some questions for the future. Will county level officials change over in the 2012 elections? Will the last rural conservative Democrat remember to turn out the lights? Will the Republicans remember to deliver on their promises and avoid the snare of pride?
While it would have been preferable for them to resign and run in a special election under their new banner, however, that is not the way things are done.
Thanks to political insiders on both sides of the aisle who have helped us reconsider the ratings on the state House races.
I’d like to expand on this a bit later, but for now let us simply get right to it with little comment.
Here is how the ratings have changed.
HD 1 from Toss Up to Lean Dem – Greg Burdine (D) v. Quinton Hanson (R) for the seat vacated by Tammy Irons (D)
HD 2 from Toss Up to Lean GOP – incumbent Mike Curtis (D) v. Lynn Greer (R)
HD 5 from Lean GOP to Likely GOP – incumbent Henry White (D) v. Dan Williams (R) with Independent Jerry Hill in the race also.
HD 7 from Likely Dem to Lean Dem – incumbent Jody Letson (D) v. Ken Johnson (R)
HD 8 from Toss Up to Lean GOP – Drama Breland (D) v. Terri Collins (R) for the seat vacated by Bill Dukes (D)
HD 9 from Lean GOP to Likely GOP – Kathy White Goodwin (D) v. Ed Henry (R) for the seat held by Ron Grantland (D)
HD 12 from Lean Dem to Toss Up – incumbent James Fields (D) v. Mac Buttram (R)
HD 13 from Likely Dem to Toss Up – incumbent Tommy Sherer (D) v. Bill Roberts (R)
HD 14 from Toss Up to Lean GOP – incumbent Ken Guin (D) v. Richard Baughn (R)
HD 16 from Likely Dem to Lean Dem – incumbent William Thigpen (D) v. Daniel Boman (R)
HD 21 from Lean Dem to Toss Up – incumbent Randy Hinshaw (D) v. Jim Patterson (R)
HD 22 from Lean Dem to Toss Up – incumbent Butch Taylor (D) v. Wayne Johnson (R)
HD 24 from Likely GOP to Lean GOP – Nathaniel Ledbetter (D) v. incumbent Todd Greeson (R)
HD 27 from Lean Dem to Toss Up – incumbent Jeff McLaughlin (D) v. Wes Long (R)
HD 29 from Likely Dem to Lean Dem – incumbent Jack Page (D) v. Becky Nordgren (R)
HD 35 from Lean Dem to Toss Up – incumbent Steve Hurst (D) v. Steven Dean (R)
HD 37 from Likely Dem to Lean Dem – incumbent Richard Laird (D) v. Bob Fincher (R)
HD 39 from Likely Dem to Lean Dem – incumbent Richard Lindsey (D) v. Timothy Sprayberry (R)
HD 42 from Lean Dem to Lean GOP – incumbent Jimmy Martin (D) v. Kurt Wallace (R)
HD 61 from Likely Dem to Lean Dem – incumbent Alan Harper (D) v. Frank Chandler (R)
HD 62 from Likely GOP to Safe GOP – John Merrill (R) v. Constitution Party candidate Steven Kneussle. Dem candidate dropped out.
HD 63 from Lean GOP to Likely GOP – Susan Pace Hamill (D) v. Bill Poole (R) for the seat vacated by GOP gubernatorial candidate Robert Bentley.
HD 73 from Lean GOP to Toss Up – Joe Hubbard (D) v. incumbent David Grimes (R)
HD 80 from Safe Dem to Lean Dem – incumbent Lesley Vance (D) v. Mervin Dudley (R)
HD 81 from Lean Dem to Lean GOP – incumbent Betty Carol Graham (D) v. Mark Tuggle (R)
HD 84 from Safe Dem to Likely Dem – Berry Forte (D) v. Joyce Perrin (R) for the seat vacated by Billy Beasley (D)
HD 86 from Lean GOP to Toss Up – Merritt Carothers (D) v. Paul Lee (R) for the seat vacated by Benjamin Lewis (R)
HD 90 from Likely Dem to Lean Dem – incumbent Charles Newton (D) v. Jerry Hartin (R)
HD 91 from Toss Up to Lean GOP – incumbent Terry Spicer (D) v. Barry Moore (R)
HD 92 from Lean GOP to Likely GOP – David Darby (D) v. Mike Jones (R) for the seat opened by the retirement of Seth Hammett (D)
HD 93 from Likely GOP to Safe GOP – Ronnie Helms (D) v. incumbent Steve Clouse (R)
With 105 seats in the House, 53 is a majority. If you look at the whole list and tally them up, you see 53 in the red (lean, likely or safe GOP), 43 in the blue (lean, likely, or safe Democrat), and 9 toss ups. There will be some surprises, but with this as our starting point there will have to be a lot of surprises in the Dems’ favor or we are looking at a GOP majority in the state House.
Democratic state Rep. Lesley Vance is running two spots on Phenix City broadcast television in his campaign to keep the House District 80 seat.
Continue reading “Lesley Vance Running Two Spots in HD 80 Campaign”
July’s REDMAP Political Report [.pdf] from the Republican State Leadership Committee contends that nationally in 2010 Republicans will pick up control of four legislative chambers, that Democrats will not pick up any, and that twelve chambers controlled by Democrats (including Alabama’s House and Senate) are “solidly in play.”
The report explains, “The REDistricting MAjority Project (REDMAP) is a program of the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) dedicated to winning Republican control of state legislatures that will have the most impact on Congressional redistricting in 2011.”
According to the report, three open state Senate seats in Alabama are in play, one held by a Republican and two held by Democrats. In addition, seven Democratic incumbents and two Republican incumbents hold seats are in play. The GOP needs to pick up a net of three Senate seats to control the chamber.
Let’s see… There are more than three open Senate seats, so they must be keying on SD 5 (being vacated by Republican Charles Bishop), SD 9 (Democrat Hinton Mitchem), and SD 13 (Democrat Kim Benefield) as the ones in play.
The two Republican Senate incumbents whose seats are in play must be Paul Sanford (SD 7) and Jim Preuitt (SD 11).
Now the seven Democratic incumbents whose Senate seats are in play… they must be Tom Butler (SD 2), Zeb Little (SD 4), Phil Poole (SD 21), Ted Little (SD 27), Wendell Mitchell (SD 30), and… hmm… a Republican familiar with the situation confirms that the last two are Lowell Barron (SD 8) and Larry Means (SD 10). Those two and Marc Keahey in SD 22 were the threesome I was trying to choose among for the last two spots.
On the state House side… The GOP needs to pick up a net of 8 seats. The Report offers that four open seats held by Democrats are in play in Alabama. They must mean four of these five: HD 8 (being vacated by Bill Dukes), HD 9 (Ron Grantland), HD 26 (Frank McDaniel), HD 85 (Locy Baker) and HD 92 (Seth Hammett). I suppose HD 85 is the one not being included.
The Report also contends that seats held by nine Democratic incumbents are in play. I suppose they mean Mike Curtis (HD 2), Henry White (HD 5), James Fields (HD 12), Ken Guin (HD 14), Jeff McLaughlin (HD 27), Jimmy Martin (HD 42), Lesley Vance (HD 80), Betty Carol Graham (HD 81), and Terry Spicer (HD 91).
No House seats held by Republican incumbents are indicated to be in play though I believe the argument could be made that David Grimes (HD 73) or possibly DuWayne Bridges (HD 38) are as vulnerable as, say, James Fields.
The full report is here in .pdf form. The website for the Republican State Leadership Committee is here.
If you would like to play along with the home version of the game, the 2010 House Elections Directory and Senate Elections Directory may be helpful though the ratings of the districts found there (lean Dem, likely GOP, etc.) are overdue for review.
The first session of the quadrennium doesn’t start until March, but the matter of who will be the next Speaker of the House has been a steady topic of conversation on Goat Hill since May of last year when Seth Hammett
(D – Andalusia) announced that he would not run for re-election
. Hammett served as Speaker of the House the last 12 years of his 32 year tenure in the House.
So who will be the next Speaker of the House?
If Democrats are in the majority…
If Democrats maintain control of the House, the two most likely candidates for the role are Marcel Black of Tuscumbia and House Majority Leader Ken Guin of Carbon Hill. Black appears to have the inside track. John Knight of Montgomery is also mentioned as a possibility.
To stir up the pot, there are recurring rumors that a handful of conservative Democrats – for example Jimmy Martin of Clanton, Lesley Vance of Phenix City, Richard Laird of Roanoke – would be willing to organize with Republicans for the purposes of choosing a Speaker if a Republican minority was within three or four votes of a majority. They reportedly do not care for the idea of Marcel Black or Ken Guin as Speaker and believe that the Black Caucus has undue influence on the Democratic Caucus as a whole. As the rumor goes, their conditions for crossing over to help the Republicans organize as a majority reportedly would be that they get to keep their committee chairmanships and that they would “vote for anybody but Hubbard” as Speaker.
“I have heard those rumors from time to time, but I don’t buy it,” says one source close to the legislature. “That’s talk to keep people out of your race. It comes from pressure from your constituency. Take Jimmy Martin, his seat is the most Republican district in the legislature held by a Democrat.” This source went on to explain that Democratic legislative candidates signed a pledge to support their party caucus’s nominees for leadership positions. (That’s new this year after their experiences with Jim Preuitt, Gerald Dial and others who as Democrats caucused with the GOP.) Plus, “if someone like Martin gets a hard fight for the seat in the fall, do you think he’ll be ready to come in, make nice and vote for the other party’s candidate for Speaker after all the things they said about him in the fall?”
If Republicans are in the majority…
House Minority Leader (and state GOP Chair) Mike Hubbard of Auburn has long been considered an obvious choice for the role if Republicans take the House this November. There are dissidents among House GOP members who are pushing for Paul DeMarco of Homewood to be Speaker, chief among them is Arthur Payne of Trussville. These dissidents are largely Bentley supporters. If Robert Bentley is the new Governor, his wishes could be a factor. Or not.
Looking at the numbers alone, just a handful of Republican dissidents could make the difference, as Democrats could be inclined to go along with the dissidents’ choice for Speaker and provide the necessary majority. For the sake of illustration, if the GOP has a 54-51 majority, then five Republicans could join with the 51 minority Dems to come up with another Republican Speaker not chosen by the majority of the Republican caucus.
Numbers are one thing, but as one Republican insider tells the Parlor, all Republican legislative candidates have signed the pledge to organize with the caucus, “or they risk not being able to qualify again in 2014. Don’t think that won’t happen, call Harri Anne.” (State Sen. Harri Anne Smith is running for re-election as an independent this year after not being allowed on the ballot as a Republican.)
That pledge is what leads another Montgomery insider to say DeMarco “doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell” of being Speaker while acknowledging, “Some [GOP legislators] are openly hostile to Mike Hubbard. Mike’s problem is that there is no separation between the [GOP] Caucus and the Governor’s office. He was trying to be all things to all people. You can’t be Riley’s floor leader and be the Caucus leader at the same time and do those jobs adequately. The executive branch and the legislative branch have separate roles. Should they work together? Of course. But the legislative branch has to do its job.”
It is the opinion of that Goat Hill regular that the support for DeMarco for Speaker comes from Arthur Payne and just two or three others. “Hubbard put a lot of time, money, effort into the takeover effort and somebody ought to recognize that.”
“To deal with education, Medicaid, without raising taxes, that’s going to take a statesman that’s got to stand up to the Business Council and stand up to [AEA Chief Paul] Hubbert by saying, ‘Everybody’s got to share the pain here.’ That’s going to take a guy that has been around, that has the background, the experience, the trust, the respect of business, respect of education, respect of state employees, and that’s not Paul DeMarco.”
Who then? “Well… Mike Hubbard. Or Mike Hill [R - Columbiana]. Mike Hill would tell you that he doesn’t want it. But if asked to serve I think he would out of a sense of duty. He has the temperament for the job.”
“Like Marcel Black [D - Tuscumbia]. He’ll probably be the Democrats’ nominee for Speaker [if they are in the majority]. He’s a Seth Hammett type. Not overly punitive. This is a critical turning point in the history of the state. If you are going to be Speaker for the next four years, you have to put partisan politics aside to some degree.”
“The House doesn’t want to end up like the Senate where it is a dysfunctional body. I don’t want to see it go into warfare. Marcel Black is of that temperament. Mike Hill is of that temperament. Mike Hubbard? It will come down to how Mike Hubbard will handle himself with the Republican Caucus. He has worked hard, done more than anyone to raise money, get structures in place to promote a plan to allow Republicans to take leadership positions in the House. A lot of it comes down to him.”
A Montgomery Republican weighs in on the subject, saying that because of GOP legislators’ signed pledges to support the Republican caucus’s choice for Speaker, “I think the real hope for anti-Hubbard folks is a coalition where Republicans don’t get a majority or Bentley leans on people to vote for the anti-Hubbard candidate which is DeMarco.”
Lots of ifs and maybes.
That’s what we’re hearing in the Parlor.