Judge Roy Moore in Presidential Race?

The Washington Wire blog at the Wall Street Journal reports that “according to multiple Iowa GOP officials,” former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is about to enter the Iowa presidential primary race.

You don’t have to go too far in Alabama to find folks who believe such campaigns are about keeping Moore’s name before the public and priming the pump for speaking engagements.

For what’s it worth, Judge Roy Moore’s Twitter and Facebook accounts posted links to the Washington Wire item, so he’s clearly not trying to downplay the idea.

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Top Ten Oddities of the Alabama Primary Campaigns

We have had several oddities during the primary season. I present this Top Ten list, but because we strive to be better, in this case 20% better, it is a Top 12 list (unranked).

  • State Rep. Thomas Jackson (D – Thomasville) is receiving a primary challenge from another Thomas Jackson. At his request, the incumbent will be listed on the ballot as “Thomas ‘Action’ Jackson.”
  • Republican gubernatorial candidate Dr. Robert Bentley wanted to get around the Republican Party’s ban on titles appearing on the ballot and so legally changed his first name to “Dr.”
  • Longshot Agriculture Commissioner candidate Dale Peterson (R) had his web ad go screaming through the internet. Best ad of the race? Of the Alabama primary? Of the year anywhere in the country? No, some called it the best campaign ad ever (see here and here). Though Politifact raised some questions.
  • Noted Democrat Paul Hubbert of AEA set up a front group called True Republican PAC to run ads attacking Republican gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne for, among other things, not being conservative enough and wanting evolution taught in schools. Yes, that’s a left-winger paying for ads complaining that Byrne is “another liberal politician trying to look conservative.”
  • From the Creative Endorsements Department… The campaign of Republican Congressional candidate Les Phillip announces that Phillip is endorsed by the National Veterans for Republicans, an outfit created by his brother. The group was established after Phillip announced his candidacy. Brian at Flashpoint tells the story.
  • Republican gubernatorial candidate Roy Moore gained 1700 followers on Twitter in one day. And speaking of oddities, you should check out who he has been following on Twitter (or at least was at the time I drafted this post): In looking at about two dozen of the thousands that he is following, I found a Senior Web Manager for a department store in London, an entrepreneurial lawyer from Morelia, Mexico, Ms. United States of 2008-09 (from NY/NJ), a cigar-smoking Israeli woman who co-founded Twitter Analyzer, and a Nairobi, Kenyan who is making the easiest money and wants to tell you how you can too. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
  • A new and mysterious group called the New Sons of Liberty set the Alabama political world abuzz when it reserved TV ad time in the last days of the campaign for an ad buy of more than a million dollars. Speculation ran rampant about what candidate(s) would be the beneficiary or target of the ad buy, but the ad buy was cancelled the day before it was supposed to begin.
  • The campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks put out a press release [.pdf] saying that “[Primary rival Artur] Davis pays kool-aid-drinking bloggers to misinform the rest of us, claiming that the gaming positions of Ron Sparks and Artur Davis are IDENTICAL.” Really? Bloggers are getting paid by a candidate? What bloggers? How does the Sparks campaign know this? I found this to be a fairly extraordinary claim to put out in a press release, but the Sparks campaign never responded to my email with these questions. Left in Alabama had a lot of fun with it though – including surveying state bloggers on the matter.
  • Last June, GOP Congressional candidate Les Phillip held a fundraiser with Mike Huckabee as the speaker and lost over $25,000 on the event.
  • Republican state Senator Charles Bishop stepped down from the Senate and decided to run for the state House in House District 14 – apparently because of his dislike for incumbent Ken Guin, the House Majority Leader for the Democrats.
  • Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James told staffers of the University of Alabama student newspaper in an off-handed remark that as governor he would not cut the salary of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban. (James’ father Fob was a football star at rival Auburn.) All well and good, but after his campaign tweeted, “Dispelling another untruth from the Byrne camp: I will neither be firing nor cutting Coach Saban’s salary if elected,” the remark went supernova. After re-tweets, an explosive radio segment with Paul Finebaum (who said “James turned a mild tempest in a teapot into a nuclear war”), and finger-pointing, we find James at a press conference wearing a “Saban Rules” cap. Alabama politics and Alabama football… when worlds collide.
  • In the trial of Judge Herman Thomas, state Senator Vivian Figures and her son testified against Thomas. He was acquitted, and now Thomas is challenging Figures for the Democratic nomination for the Senate District 33 seat. Nothing personal, I’m sure.

Note that we didn’t even get into the oddities of the Tim James commercials with the pauses, the ambling, and the unusual pacing of the ads that made this parody so fun.

I’m sure I’ve overlooked some oddities that should be included. What would be on your list?

Byrne Tops New Independent Poll

Daily Kos commissioned an Alabama gubernatorial poll through Research 2000 and released its findings this morning.

In the Republican Primary:

  • Bradley Byrne: 29
  • Roy Moore: 23
  • Tim James: 17
  • Robert Bentley: 9
  • Bill Johnson: 3
  • Other: 2
  • Undecided: 17

(MoE: ±5%)

In the Democratic Primary:

  • Artur Davis: 41
  • Ron Sparks: 33
  • Other: 8
  • Undecided: 11

(MoE: ±5%)

Continue reading “Byrne Tops New Independent Poll”

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Bentley Touts Gains in Poll

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dr. Robert Bentley released results of an internal poll done by Dresner Wickers from May 19-20 of likely GOP primary voters:
Dresner-Wickers Tracking Poll Results 5/19-5/20
Robert Bentley     18%
Tim James          20%
Bradley Byrne      27%
Roy Moore          18%
James Potts         2%
Not sure/Refused   15%
Candidate Favorable/Unfavorable Ratings
Robert Bentley     38%-4%
Tim James          42%-24%
Bradley Byrne      37%-15%
Roy Moore          47%-30%
According to the press release, Dresner Wickers polled 405 likely GOP primary voters on May 19 and 20. The margin of error is +/- 4.5%.

Considering Today's Polling #'s in the GOP Gubernatorial Race

Zac McCrary of the Democratic polling firm Anzalone Liszt offered these comments on the polling numbers released today in the GOP gubernatorial primary race. While he’s a political professional, he has no dog in this hunt. I appreciate his willingness when asked to share some observations with Parlor readers.

I’m always going to be skeptical of 1000 interviews conducted in one night using push-button polling. While that has its advantages (speed and cost), there are arguments for different methodology that are suited for another discussion another time. I have no ax to grind here and I’m glad someone’s putting some public numbers out there.

That said, these numbers look similar to what the James camp showed last week. You assume the James campaign polled at what they thought would be their peak position, and since Byrne has clawed back a bit.

This is certainly good news for Byrne. He’s lost some support from where we saw him in other public polls a few weeks ago, but he’s still in contention for the runoff, despite absorbing a lot of negative ads. The fact that he’s taken a punch and still standing is noteworthy, and certainly James will have to take a punch in the coming weeks too and we can see if he can absorb it as well.

And this confirms James has moved into the top tier. A combination of the money behind his tv ads and the free media furor over the immigration ad has catapulted him into real contention.

I’m sure there will be plenty of twists and turns, but if inertia holds it seems we’d have a Byrne / James runoff. The recent back and forth between Byrne and James on TV could make it tough for both to sustain both positive and negative ad tracks, and the other candidates have to hope for continued James/Byrne bloodshed.

This poll continues to show Moore stuck around 20%. Since he’s a known quantity, he’ll need a major cash infusion (which apparently is possible) to make a runoff. It will take at least in the high 20s or low 30s to make a runoff and it’s pretty clear Moore’s base is around 20%.

Bentley’s numbers throughout the race really show the power of paid media. He started out as a non-entity, but spent some serious money on TV and moved up in or near the top tier for a period. Then he was off TV for a few weeks and dropped considerably. He’s back on TV now but I am not sure how much oxygen there is for him. When he was on TV before, he appeared to be outspending the field but that’s unlikely moving forward. He’ll need a break or two to become a real factor again. If James and Byrne continue to pound each other and the Moore money doesn’t materialize, perhaps he could come up the middle and benefit but the timing would have to work out just right.

I’m looking forward to the sprint to the finish line in the last couple of weeks.

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Public Strategy Associates Releases Independent Polling in GOP Gov & AG Races

pie chartPublic Strategy Associates released a poll this morning from Baselice & Associates that polled likely voters in the Republican primary on the governor and AG races. The poll, not commissioned by any candidate, had 1005 respondents and a margin of error of +/-3.1%.

Bradley Byrne and Tim James are essentially tied at 24% and 23% respectively after the recent surge from James. Roy Moore is at 18%, which is about where he’s been in every poll this season. Dr. Bentley weighs in at 12%, fading after an apparent surge of his own.

The real eye-opener in the poll is the Attorney General race where Luther Strange leads the incumbent Troy King 50%-25% in the race for the GOP nomination.

Get the press release here and a breakdown of some data from the pollster here in pdf form at the Public Strategy Associates website.

Check back in… we’ll have more on this.

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Favorable #’s for James in GOP Scramble

Polling for the Tim James campaign by Ayres McHenry & Associates last week indicates that James has moved to the front of the field in the race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. You can see the polling memo from Ayres McHenry here [.doc].

From the Press-Register:

The statewide poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday by Alexandria, Va.-based Ayres McHenry & Associates Inc., showed James leading with 26 percent of the vote, compared to 21 percent for Moore and 20 percent for Byrne. Robert Bentley held 7 percent while 24 percent were undecided.


Ayres said Byrne, a former state legislator and head of the state’s two-year college system, held a 35 to 13 percent favorable to unfavorable rating with 71 percent name recognition. Byrne’s unfavorables, he said, have increased as fast as his favorables since January.

“That’s not the kind of movement you want to see,” Ayres said. “It’s hard to make a move up the ballot when your unfavorables are rising like that.”

What else would make Byrne’s unfavorables go up like that besides the ads from AEA (via True Republican PAC)? Anything else? (You can see the ads here, here and here.)

The Byrne camp is unhappy that Tim James’ fundraiser Claire Austin operates two PACs that helped obscure the source of the money for the attack ads by providing a conduit to connect AEA’s money to the True Republican PAC. Byrne’s campaign responds with an ad making the case that Tim James is in league with AEA to attack Byrne.

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Roy Moore’s support has been a pretty steady 20% or a little more in recent polls. On June 1, will that be enough to push someone else out of a run-off spot?

Bobby Allison in Moore Ad

While the announcement of NASCAR legend Bobby Allison’s endorsement of Republican gubernatorial candidate Roy Moore came a couple weeks ago, this is the first I’d seen of the ad featuring Mr. Allison.

Has anyone seen this run on tv?

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Wait, what?

While Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tim James is taking the “English-only” spotlight, candidate questionnaire responses available at the Eagle Forum of Alabama show how much strong support the issue has garnered.

Notably, every statewide candidate who sent the form back to Eagle Forum as of this morning support English-only driver’s license exams:  Robert Bentley, James, Bill Johnson, Roy Moore, Kay Ivey, Gene Ponder, Troy King, George C. Wallace, Jr., and Beth Chapman.  James clearly isn’t a renegade, right?

But wait a minute.

The questionnaire asks if candidates “agree” or “disagree” with this statement:

State officials should enforce the Alabama Constitutional Amendment requiring that driver’s license exams be given in English only.

It’s hard to disagree with anything following “State officials should enforce the Alabama Constitutional Amendment requiring…”  Well, sure, let’s enforce the law.  But I don’t know which amendment the Forum is pointing to in the question. I assume it’s this one, found at our legislature’s website:

Continue reading “Wait, what?”

Roy Moore Campaign Tuning Up?

The gubernatorial campaign of Republican Roy Moore has released this tuneful campaign video.

Have any of you seen it on the air?

Bentley Campaign Touts Poll Numbers

Robert BentleyThe gubernatorial campaign of Republican Robert Bentley is pleased with results of polling from March 31 & April 1 by the campaign’s pollster Dresner, Wickers & Associates.

From the polling memo:

                      March 31           Shift from
                      Likely Voters*     February DWA Poll

  Dr. Robert Bentley   18%               +12
  Bradley Byrne        25                +8
  Roy Moore            19                -10
  Tim James            16                +3
  Not sure/Refused     22                -5

Get on the air with a few good ads, and it makes a difference.

See the entire memo here in a .pdf file.

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Another Look at the Rasmussen Poll

AbacusLooking again at the Rasmussen poll from last week… You know, because we can. I wanted to come back to it earlier but got caught up in other stories like the end of the week qualifying.

What are the net positive ratings on the candidates (favorable ratings minus unfavorable ratings)? I am leaving Kay Ivey out since she is no longer a candidate for Governor.

    Bradley Byrne  27%   (48 – 21)
        Tim James  14%   (43 – 29)
        Roy Moore  10%   (49 – 39)
      Artur Davis   8%   (47 – 39)
       Ron Sparks   4%   (39 – 35)

Perhaps it might be better to leave the % sign off above. For example, that 27 for Bradley Byrne doesn’t really represent 27 percent of anything. It’s one rating minus another rating. But you get the idea.


And just for fun… what is the average level of support for the candidates?

What was the average of the Republicans’ support when polled against Davis and Sparks?

    Bradley Byrne  46.5%   (50, 43)
        Tim James  43.5%   (49, 38)
        Roy Moore  37.5%   (40, 35)

What was the average of the Democrats’ levels of support polled against Byrne, James, and Moore?

      Artur Davis  37.3%   (33, 35, 44)
       Ron Sparks  35.7%   (33, 34, 40)

Lots of ways to slice it and dice it.

Nicknames-a-No-No at GOP

Robert BentleyThe state GOP executive committee rejected Saturday three requests for nicknames to be placed on the Republican primary ballot, reports Bob Lowry of the Huntsville Times.

But gubernatorial candidate Dr. Robert Bentley’s appeal to have “Dr. Robert Bentley” on the ballot wasn’t quite a nickname request, according to the article:

The retired physician said he had his name officially changed in the Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge’s office, and had it approved for the ballot by the attorney general’s office, the secretary of state’s office and the Ethics Commission.

But the committee wasn’t swayed. Bentley was thrown under the bus along with the two non-official-name-changers:

The committee also rejected requests by gubernatorial candidate Roy Moore to have his name listed as Judge Roy Moore and agriculture commission candidate Dale Peterson to be listed as “Cowboy” Peterson — even though Peterson showed up at the meeting in a cowboy hat.

I wonder if Bentley showed up with a stethoscope…

Rasmussen Polls Alabama Gubernatorial Race

Man at a Graph on an EaselRasmussen Reports today releases a poll of the Alabama gubernatorial race showing potential general election matchups between four Republicans (Byrne, James, Moore, and Ivey) and the two Democrats (Davis and Sparks). Robert Bentley gets no love here: he’s left out.

Byrne is strong, coming in at 50% in a head to head matchup against Davis’ 33%, and 43-33% over Sparks. Like in the Public Policy Polling poll, Roy Moore is the weakest Republican in the field when matched against the Dems. In the Rasmussen poll, he actually trails Davis (44-40) and Sparks (40-35) in head to head matchups. Also like in the PPP poll, Sparks polls a bit better against the Republicans than Davis does.

Note that in the Rasmussen poll, respondents when asked about head to head matchups may reply that they prefer another candidate.

Rasmussen gives respondents the opportunity to indicate that they feel “very favorable,” “somewhat favorable,” “somewhat unfavorable,” “unfavorable,” or “not sure” toward candidates. The high favorability ratings belong to Moore, Byrne, Ivey, and Davis at 47-49% favorable (“very” and “somewhat” combined). Sparks is the lowest at 39% (combined). James is at 43%.

Moore and Davis have the highest unfavorability ratings at 39% (combined). Byrne is the lowest at 21%. James, Ivey and Sparks range from 28% to 35%.

Moore and Davis are the most defined in the eyes of the respondents, having only 12 and 14% respectively not sure about their favorability. Byrne has the largest percentage of respondents who are not sure at 31%.

See the numbers here, and their write-up on the poll here.

We’re likely to sift through a bit more. What do you see?

Candidates' Good and Bad News in the PPP Poll

Traditional Theater MasksIf we take this week’s PPP poll numbers at face value, what good news and bad news can the candidates find in them?

Artur Davis

Good News: He still leads in the race for the nomination, despite that the poll could not have come at a worse time for his primary #’s to be affected negatively by his position on the health care bill.

Bad News: Apparently his stance on health care reform has cost him support for the Democratic nomination, and there is no indication in the PPP poll that it gives him a leg up over Sparks in the general election matchups.

Ron Sparks

Good News: In the general election matchups, Sparks polls closer to each Republican than Davis does.

Bad News: Still a lot of ground to make up to secure the nomination.

Bradley Byrne

Good News: What’s not good? He leads in polling for the GOP nomination, and he leads in head-to-head matchups with both Davis and Sparks.

Bad News: James and Bentley are still so undefined that it is hard to consider Byrne’s support solid.

Roy Moore

Good News: Moore has done almost no campaigning, he has skipped forums, he hasn’t been on TV, and with that, he’s still polling at 23%, just a few points behind front-runner Byrne who is at 27%.

Bad News: He’s got tremendous name ID and most people have likely made up their mind about him. How will he grow support? Bentley or James could nudge him out of run-off.

Robert Bentley

Good News: Dark horse has grown his numbers.

Bad News: Still a long climb to make it into a run-off and has to hold off James too.

Tim James

Good News: Definitely room to grow with Moore voters if he can convince them that he is the electable option.

Bad News: His biggest primary competitor for social conservatives is Moore, and Moore has a sturdy lead despite virtually no effort on his part.

Bill Johnson

Good News: Well… Kay Ivey is out of the race, and her supporters will go somewhere.

Bad News: No indication from his numbers that his campaign is connecting with anyone.


I enjoy being able to turn to people who think about matters like these professionally. From one, I received this.

Considering the Democrats’ primary…

On the surface these numbers are troubling for Davis. They show he’s not running away with the race and the healthcare vote and ensuing coverage did at least some temporary damage.

But even at this possible low ebb, Davis is still roughly breaking even with whites (29% Davis / 33% Sparks) and leading black voters 2:1 (48% Davis / 23% Sparks). If this is reflective of what happens in the primary, then Davis will win with room to spare.

Davis’ calculation has always been that it takes some short-term heartburn among the base to remain viable in the general election. And he is certainly getting some blowback from the base. The silver lining is that he has eight weeks for the Democratic primary electorate to settle down and focus on other issues, and since healthcare ultimately passed it’s easier to imagine primary voters getting over his apostasy than if it had failed.

And while Davis has seen some erosion in his vote, Sparks is still in the mid 20s – which is where polls have had him for months. Davis’ erosion has not yet become Sparks’ gain. Sparks certainly could benefit, but those voters could also slide back into the Davis column once the healthcare vote falls off the radar. Given Davis’ expected financial advantage, Sparks still needs some breaks to keep the fundamental advantages Davis has enjoyed over the past months from reasserting themselves.

On the Republican side…

Definitely good news for Bradley Byrne. It’s not a surprise that Moore is in the top tier of candidates, but James and Bentley are making efforts to break into that top tier. James and (presumably) Bentley – plus Byrne – are still unknown to a majority of the primary electorate so there is still room for them to grow their support.

Moore’s numbers are a disappointment. The conventional wisdom (that Moore’s campaign embraced) was that Moore started the race with a big lead, and his name-ID and loyalty with the GOP base virtually guaranteed him enough of the primary vote to get into a runoff. The PPP poll showed that Moore’s current support is only in the low 20s – and that’s with the other candidates still being unknown to a big chunk of the primary electorate. I’d assume that as Bentley, James, Byrne continue to gain name-ID that Moore’s vote will continue to soften.

If these numbers are to be believed, Byrne’s big lead over everyone but Moore and the ability to expand his vote among the 60% who don’t know him put him on the inside track to make a runoff. James and Bentley have to hope for continued erosion in Moore’s support to open the door for them, or they have to pro-actively take votes away from Byrne and Moore through negative ads.

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Legislative Dispatch

A Look from the Rearview Mirror

This Thursday will mark the last day of the legislative Session.  For some, it was a Session that seemed would never end.  For others, it was one that ended much too quickly.  It may be early, yet, to write an obit on this Session, but as we approach the finish line, some perspective may be in order.


Putting Students First

As you know, a very important piece of legislation will be presented for our consideration in the House tomorrow in Montgomery – Senate Bill 310 – the “Students First” tenure and fair dismissal reform bill. Like me, many House members have been inundated with phone calls and emails from opponents of this bill, and some have been [...]

Legislative Transparency

There are a lot of issues to debate before we begin the final days of this session. In fact, I am quite certain there will be some comments on this post debating many of them. Before we get into the last seven day of the session I wanted to bring up a topic that [...]

Daily News


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