I am actually having a lot of fun with the Top 10 Most Interesting Questions to Be Answered by the Primary Elections. I hope you are. I greatly appreciate the help of campaign veterans, party insiders, and longtime lobbyists who are helping me put this together. Onward…
|#4.||Will money trump name-recognition in the Republican Lt. Governor’s race?|
Name-recognition or money? Money or name-recognition? In politics, one can lead to the other, but all things being equal (and they rarely are) take the name-recognition.
George Wallace, Jr. has a lot of name-recognition. But Luther Strange has a lot of money behind him. Around $1.4 million, or between two and three times what Wallace has raised by the time the 45-day financial disclosures were filed on May 5. While Wallace was considered an early front-runner for the position, Strange had already spent over $1 million by May 5. One million dollars will buy you a lot of name recognition.
A little background on the race…
Alabama Power made clear to George Wallace, Jr. that they would contribute all the resources necessary to ensure his defeat if he sought re-election to the Public Service Commission. Why Alabama Power and the other utilities dislike him so can probably best be illustrated by glancing at this Google search that includes the terms ‘George Wallace, Jr.,’ Alabama Public Service Commission, and ‘voted 2-1.’ If you don’t want to click through, I’ll simply tell you that there are several stories where George Wallace, Jr. was the lone dissident on a vote that one of the utilities wanted passed.
As one source tells it, when Wallace was told he would be defeated if he ran for re-election to the PSC, he decided to run for Lt. Governor.
Why does someone who can’t win one race decide they can win a bigger one? So when Wallace decided to run for Lt. Governor, Alabama Power said, “Oh hell, we can’t have that.” We gotta put someone else up there. So they found Luther Strange. The [Republican] Lt. Governor’s race is completely a creation of Alabama Power.
Who is Luther Strange? Luther Strange is big and tall, and they can put him in a TV commercial with his head out of the picture. But Luther Strange knows as much about being Lt. Governor as I do. No, that’s not fair. I might know a little something about being Lt. Governor.
Another source was certain that Strange was really running for Senator Shelby’s seat. Shelby is getting older and his health has been a concern. Some speculate that Shelby will not run for re-election. A third source agreed that Strange may have his eye on Shelby’s seat.
“It’s probably true that Strange is running for Senate,” agreed the first source. “I don’t think he wants to be Governor. Who does?! The most powerful thing he can do is appoint vacancies to circuit clerk and sheriffs. Riley stomped around on the church fires, but he didn’t catch the three boys, the feds did.” He does mention the possibility that if the Republican Strange were Lt. Governor, there could be a scenario where Shelby would step down early and Riley would appoint himself to fill the seat.
Money or name-recognition? Name-recognition or money? For this race, we’ll know on Tuesday. Or perhaps not.
One of my best sources says that smart money in Montgomery “seems to be on Strange, but I expect a runoff. I think Wallace is saving his resources for a runoff and I expect it to be close.” And, he says, expect it to be nasty.
Intro to Top 10 Most Interesting Questions
#10. Who is “one and done?”
#9. Will the Democratic nominee for governor win the primary without a runoff?
#8. Who will be the most noteworthy newcomer among primary winners?
#7. Is Republican AG candidate Mark Montiel a contender or a pretender?
#6. How did the ALFA slate do?
#5. Is Secretary of State Nancy Worley vulnerable in the Democratic primary?