Bringing Back the Alabama Line - Updated

Originally posted Dec. 4
AG added Dec. 7
SoS, Treasurer, Auditor, PSC, Agriculture added Dec. 8
DC races added Dec. 9

What are the odds that your favorite candidate will be elected to state office in November 2010? Are you watching a longshot and wondering what his chances are? Many thanks to the elected officials, the party insiders, and the well-connected on both sides of the aisle who offer the Political Parlor their collective take on what the odds are of various candidates and potential candidates being elected.

(R) Bradley Byrne (2:1)
Favorite of the state’s GOP establishment is still the one to beat.
(D) Artur Davis (5:2)
Has strong believers and nay-sayers. Running aggressive race thus far.
(R) Tim James (6:1)
Rapidly becoming Byrne’s most serious challenger.
(D) Ron Sparks (9:1)
Strong candidate on paper but rumors of money woes persist.
(R) Kay Ivey (19:1)
Statewide official, only woman, but is PACT mess too much to overcome?
(R) Roy Moore (30:1)
Is his committed base large enough to move him into a primary runoff?
(R) Robert Bentley (>99:1)
Dark horse has impressed but has much ground to make up.
(R) Bill Johnson (>99:1)
Is this flame thrower running to win or just settle scores?
(R) James Potts (>99:1)
In America, they say anyone can grow up to be President, not Governor.

 Lt. Governor 
(D) Jim Folsom (1:4)
Incumbent and one of the biggest names in state politics remains favorite.
(R) Hank Erwin (5:1)
If Folsom has vulnerability, it’s probably not to this challenger.
(R) Gene Ponder (49:1)
Have to admire (not necessarily vote for) those believing in themselves.

 Attorney General 
(R) Luther Strange (2:1)
Strong chance in general if he can oust incumbent in primary.
(R) Troy King (5:2)
The most controversial incumbent has strong base & can’t be counted out.
(D) Giles Perkins (5:2)
Well-connected and may corral lion’s share of Dem resources for race.
(D) Michel Nicrosi (7:1)
Solid candidate on paper. Is she ready for battle?

 Secretary of State 
(R) Beth Chapman (1:4)
Incumbent is going to be tough to unseat.
(D) Ed Packard (9:1)
Who will Dems field? Packard may have interest, but faces tough task.
(D) Nancy Worley (39:1)
Would love to run and reclaim seat if she can overcome troubles.

 State Treasurer 
(R) George Wallace, Jr. (4:3)
He’ll have the critical name ID advantage in bid to reclaim the seat.
(D) Charley Grimsley (2:1)
Well-connected insider likely to have Dem leg up in lean fundraising year.
(R) Young Boozer (9:1)
Wallace has his detractors who may be looking for their own candidate.
(D) Jeremy Sherer (16:1)
Running aggressive, energetic campaign. Will it be enough?
(R) Terry Dunn (27:1)
Unlikely to be room in this race for long-shots to pull off a surprise.
(R) Ronald Stokes (40:1)

 State Auditor 
(R) Sam Shaw (1:4)
Is anyone making noise about challenging this incumbent?

 Public Service Commission, Pl. 1 
(D) Jan Cook (2:3)
Election after election, she rolls along. May have vulnerability though.
(R) Chip Beeker (4:1)
What challenger will bring his A game to this race?
(R) Stephen Evans (4:1)
See Chip Beeker.

 Public Service Commission, Pl. 2 
(D) Susan Parker (1:2)
Should be safer of two PSC incumbents.
(R) Chip Brown (3:1)
Has uphill battle against strong and respected incumbent.

 Agriculture Commissioner 
(R) Dorman Grace (2:1)
First-time candidate rumored to have critical ALFA backing.
(R) John McMillan (2:1)
Experienced, connected, but expect tough primary challenge.
(D) Glen Zorn (2:1)
Strong GOP nominee will make it tough to keep a Dem in this seat.
(D) Tony Frazier (32:1)
Unable to match Zorn in connections, and probably votes too.
(R) Dale Peterson (>99:1)
Longshot has not one but two very tough primary opponents.

 U.S. Senate 
(R) Richard Shelby (1:24)
Massive warchest, little vulnerability. No drama here.

 1st Congressional District 
(R) Jo Bonner (1:5)
Hard to imagine what would have to happen for him to lose.
(R) Peter Gounares (>99:1)
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly. Longshots gotta run. Heaven knows they try.
(R) Clint Moser (>99:1)
See Peter Gounares.

 2nd Congressional District 
(D) Bobby Bright (2:3)
Blue Dog has done everything he can to inoculate himself. Is it enough?
(R) Martha Roby (2:1)
Even some Repubs wonder if she is the one to take seat back for GOP.
(R) Bill Harris (13:1)
Former state GOP Exec. Director is looking for his re-entry into state politics.
(R) Rick Barber (70:1)
Tea party activist new on state political scene faces uphill climb.
(I) Rob John(>99:1)
When has an Independent won election in Alabama to seat this big?

 3rd Congressional District 
(R) Mike Rogers (1:4)
Tougher district than most, but ’08 might’ve been his real challenge.
(D) Josh Segall (4:1)
What can he bring to rematch that will put him over the top?
(I) Mark Layfield(>99:1)
When has an Independent won election in Alabama to seat this big?

 4th Congressional District 
(R) Robert Aderholt (1:5)
A strong Democratic challenger could give him a run. Will one emerge?

 5th Congressional District 
(D) Parker Griffith (2:3)
Blue dog’s district is more favorable than Bright’s. Tougher competition.
(R) Mo Brooks (2:1)
Will a 2010 GOP wave hand this seat to the Republicans?
(R) Les Phillip (16:1)
Unlikely to derail more well-known primary challenger.

 6th Congressional District 
(R) Spencer Bachus (1:6)
Will a Democrat even show up on the ballot for this race?
(R) Stan Cooke (>99:1)
When you gotta run, you gotta run.
(R) Paul Lambert (>99:1)

 7th Congressional District 
(D) Terri Sewell (5:3)
Can she maintain huge fundraising lead and swamp the competition?
(D) Earl Hilliard, Jr (2:1)
Good name ID and family connections. Needs to show he can raise money.
(D) Sheila Smoot (5:1)
Best name ID in the race. Is she tainted by association with JeffCo problems?
(D) James Perkins (12:1)
Strong Black Belt candidate, but most voters are in Birmingham.
(D) Martha Bozeman (33:1)
Hard to find a place among better funded & more well-known candidates.
(D) Patricia Evans Mokolo (>99:1)
Political unknown has a tough row to hoe in crowded field.
(D) Eddison Walters (>99:1)
Hard to imagine he will make a splash in this crowded field.

 State Senate 
Democrats Hold Majority (1:3)
Most, not all, observers believe GOP has better takeover chance in House.
Republican Takeover (3:1)
When you count noses and look at districts, hard to see obvious path.

 State House 
Democrats Hold Majority (3:4)
Party switchers in either chamber could change #’s in favor of the GOP.
Republican Takeover (4:3)
GOP fundraising may surprise Dems in otherwise lean economy.

 3 Supreme Court Races 
Republican Sweep (3:4)
Supreme Court has been Republican stronghold for years now.
Democratic Sweep (>99:1)
Trial lawyers might have resources to put one race, probably not two, in play.

47 comments to Bringing Back the Alabama Line – Updated

  • Can’t find much to disagree with here Danny. I think you’ve got it exactly right at this point in the cycle, with much that can still change.

  • Jusra Nostra

    If the election were held today, Moore would far outpace Kay Ivey.

  • princeliberty

    If you think Davis has better shot than any of the major Republicans that’s off.

    But I guess you are taking the chances of winning the nod – which for Davis is a slame and then the General.

    Which for ANY of the Republican is slame dunk. I think you are in denial of that.

    And you put Ivey over Moore?! Come on now.

  • Nope

    Ivey’s odds WAY too good . . .anything better than 1,000,000 to 1 for the Engineer of the PACT Disaster is too optimistic

  • The Davis odds are about right because he is the biggest lock of the group to win the primary, but his number isn’t likely to move much even after the primaries. The odds will be more like even money or better for the eventual Republican nominee.

    Keep that in mind…because I expect Davis to be at the top of this list when the Republican race tightens. You can’t be governor if you don’t win the primary.

  • Jay Croft

    What’s a “slame?”

  • Regarding Ivey and Moore… if this list were meant to predict order of finish, perhaps it would be listed with Moore ahead of Ivey. Instead, it’s meant to look at the odds of being elected governor.

    Perhaps it’s almost like looking at a baseball team that you would predict to finish 4th. In evaluating their chances of winning the pennant, you might say, ‘well, if these two farm leaguers develop fast enough, and this pitcher has one more year left in his arm, and this outfielder hits like he did two years ago, then yes, they could win the pennant. I predict they finish fourth but I think they have a better possibility of winning the pennant than the teams I’d predict to finish 2nd or 3rd, because I don’t see the path as clearly for those teams.’

    Regarding Davis, princeliberty, you are right on that the odds consider the chances of winning the nomination, just like Kristopher also said. If Davis were facing a field for the nomination on par with what the Republicans have, his odds would no doubt go down. Any of the Republicans’ odds would no doubt be better if the field were smaller.

    I’ll certainly grant that at first glance the numbers may appear to be counter intuitive.

    princeliberty, could you elaborate how I am in denial, perhaps with specific examples? Thanks!

    If there are other questions, I’ll do what I can to shed light… Folks who want to make cogent arguments about why the #’s should be different will certainly have their comments considered as the #’s are re-figured. I am glad for this to be good discussion fodder.

    Perhaps to that last point, here are some bonus questions: If Moore and Ivey were in a runoff for the GOP nomination who do you think would win? Who do you think would have a better shot at winning the general election if they could snag the nomination – Ivey or Moore?

  • Lyn Johnson

    At about this time in 2001 (8 months before the primary), AEA polling showed Steve Windom was the clear favorite and few people had heard of Bob Riley. As I recall Windom was around 35% and Riley was at 10%? I think Moore was even around 25%. Any idea of current polling data?

  • If Ivey won a runoff, she’d probably have the better shot in the general simply because she’s not viewed as an extremist like FORMER Judge Moore is. Sure she’s inept at her job and doesnt look good on TV but thats better than someone who would probably go out of his way to provoke a physical fight with Washington.

  • csduke

    On the governor’s race, I still wonder how the campaigns will shape out. Right now, Davis and James are running the best campaigns on their sides,with Byrne close behind on the Republican side. However, there is still a lot of ground to cover.

    On the Moore projection–I can see that. The more conservative a candidate the Republicans nominate, the chances for the Democrat winning improve. Remember, a handful of independent voters are concerned about the state’s image, including stances on education and the economy. Fob James lost in 1998 partially because of the ways he contributed to the negative side of Alabama’s image (stand-offs with the federal government, chain gangs, etc.) Moore has some of those same characteristics–these were displayed heavily during the trial and removal of his monument and his removal as Chief Justice.

    If James does beat Byrne in a runoff, I wonder what the contours of a Davis-James race would be and the results of this race?

    Are there any other Republicans looking to challenge Folsom for the Lt. Gov. race? I do think the numbers are very accurate for this race as Folsom would be hard to knock off–unless there were something damaging to come out about Folsom or the turnout in the general went extremely heavy to the Republicans, their candidates right now are not likely to knock him off.

  • anonymous1

    I think the odds on Byrne are too good for a simple reason–a James Byrne runoff is a dead heat, with the Moore Ivey vote going to James and the Bentley vote likely going to Byrne. No reason other than money to give Byrne a three to one edge in that scenario, and if we think money matters that much, remember that George Jr. was very close to Luther Strange and that Moore got 35% of the vote against Riley even though Riley outspent him 6 to 1.

    To CS Duke, a Davis James race starts close. Among other things, whether it stays close depends on whether Davis gets branded as a big spending liberal before James gets wrapped with “son of a failed governor with a murky business career who is not that bright”. And does Davis raise good money or Bob Riley/Don Siegelman level money?

  • princeliberty

    I was simply making the point that appear to think Davis has a good shot in the generla which is something I reject.

    There are different schools of thought on this. But with Obama tanking esp. in this state and grassroots in this state moving to the right. The people of Alabam will reject Davis in a big way.

    But don’t think you see it that way.


  • anon

    Danny, can you go over again where these odds came from and how were the comments derived for each of the candidates?

  • jaime

    I would be interested in knowing how these odds come from also.
    Can anyone name something that Folsom has done? I know the name/position but do not know the actual contribution? Details?

  • anonymous1

    An addendum…the other reason Byrne is overrated here is that there are no known polls showing he has a decisive lead on the Republican field, as opposed to Davis’ lead on Sparks. The poll of Larry Dixon’s Senate district, a good Republican bellweather,had Byrne third; AEA consistently puts him way behind Moore; and there are rumors of another poll showing him third behind James and Moore.

  • csduke

    On Byrne, he benefits greatly from being the “inner rail” candidate, generally seen as the one supported by the party leadership. He also benefits because his candidacy is seen by some as running for Riley’s 3rd term. His greater challenge is getting the nomination than in the general election.

    To princeliberty, Obama’s numbers in Alabama have very little relevance to Davis’s candidacy. The logic that the same result would hapen because of race is off base for a few reasons. One, the two politicians are quite different. Davis has staked out a reputation as a moderate Congressman, distancing himself on certain issues from the Democratic leadership and the Congressional Black Caucus (one example is his vote against the recent health care legislation because of his concerns about cost controls and the employer mandate in that specific bill). The Mobile Press Register pointed to this on some social issues thorugh their recent survey. The second reason why is the level that they are campaigning in this state. Once Obama won the Alabama primary, he did not make another appearance in the state–their campaign knew that they would not win in Alabama so they spent time and money where they could and did win.

  • princeliberty

    Race has nothing to do with why Davis is going to get hammered. Davis is pro-TRAP and pro-Stimulis. He only voted against the Healthcare plan as a transparent bid to get false moderate cover. The vote will not impress the voters. Davis is for Obama’s agenda and a personal buddy of Obama.

    Obama’s tanking is part of a larger anti-Democrat and anti-Washington wave that is going to smash Davis in November.

    As for the poll showing Davis Byrne, I have heard and some columnists have heard that the poll showed IVEY second and James forth!

    So much for James’ great campaign. James is really overrated. In fact, James is near dead. He made a big bet he could convince the religious right that Moore was a non-factor in the race and that they should support him as the only electable relgious right candidate. This has failed, Moore is not a non-factor in the race.

    And James has no plan B for dealing with Moore. Because basicly no one in the relgious right likes James better than Moore. So now with Moore ahead of James.

    James had a huge problem to deal with that he does not know how to deal with.

    Probably the reason he appears to focusing on choping Byrne down and trying to define Byrne before Byrne defines himself.

    Its about all James can do. Attacking Moore would alienate the religious right.

    But unless James can actually destroy Byrne and become the business candidate – I don’t see how he gets out box he is in.

    He may be trying to get business and religious right support but is likely to end with very little of either.

  • Folsom4ever

    One interesting non-factor is the BCA. Some of the more liberal, pregressive members of BCA are dying for a Gov. Davis to show Alabama has overcome its negative image from the 60s. Other BCA members from the tort reform battles are in the Byrne camp. But, there are several BCA members more conservative, small businesses who are supporting James. BCA will be split on the Governor’s race and that will allow other smaller groups to endorse and support candidates. For Ivey, the Romney endorsement was big. He got over 100,000 votes. In a 6 person primary, any endorsement helps. At this point, no clear cut favorite in the GOP. Too bad Folsom isn’t running for Governor!

  • JD

    Is this the Little Jim Folsom of the Wallace-Folsom PACT program fame? A Democrat who has been on the PACT Board since he started it. Plenty of blame for him to share. Being out of the County on a McGregor Gambling Junket is no defense.

  • A lot of good comments… We can see there are such diverse opinions on these matters that it can be hard to find agreement. That is why I am so pleased that the Parlor is here to tell you what the correct numbers are!

    princeliberty, I indicated in the opening paragraph that this represents the thinking from many folks across the political spectrum. I don’t mind so much if you ascribe the results to me alone because I think they hold up well, but that’s just not the way it happened.

    anon & Jaime, as to how the numbers and comments came together, over a dozen state politicos from across the political spectrum – political insiders, campaign veterans, elected officials, and so forth – provided their takes on the races for this effort.

    The two questions considered are, what is the likelihood this person will be the nominee, and, if this candidate were the nominee, what is the likelihood he/she would win the general? Once we see where the greatest # of folks land on those questions (the process is give-and-take though typically there is not wide disagreement), they are used to figure the odds.

    At the risk of stating the obvious, I’ll mention that the odds are just an expression of how likely something is to happen. 3 to 1 odds (3:1) is another way of saying that the event is likely to happen 1 time in 4, unlikely to happen 3 times in 4. So the odds of rolling a 4 (or any other particular number) on a standard 6-sided die is 1 in 6 or 5:1. The odds of flipping heads on a two sided coin is 1:1, or 1 time in 2.

    The comments are simply intended to reflect some of the thoughts/discussion about the process, shortened to fit into two lines in the sidebar.

    It’s just a snapshot of a fluid situation of course. The numbers will change.

    Perhaps this question should be put into the site’s FAQ.

  • princeliberty

    Danny, thanks for clearning thing up.

    The Montgomery insider crowd probably does overestimate Davis and is probably out of touch with how angry the folks are getting. So you probably are doing a good job of setting forth how they see things. Therefore, my comments are directed toward the Montgomery crowd.

    Of course I have a lot less respect when it comes to the disagreements than I would have with any disagreement with Danny.



  • Loyal Independent

    This is what will make this a fun political year — there are no guarantees.

    On the GOP side, Byrne & James look out front. But everyone knows these two are itching for a bloody battle. Moore & Ivey are wild variables — Moore because of his name id & shadowy operations, & Ivey because of her name id & the long-shadow of the PACT. Bentley is a fine, intelligent man — with no chance of moving past June. The less said about Johnson the better.

    And wild prediction – Sparks pulls out an upset in the Dem. primary.

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  • Eieio

    ALFA to back Dorman Grace? LOTS of big-time skeletons in Grace’s closet in several controversial areas. Did ALFA forget about what McMillan did for them on stopping Amendment 1? Shocking lack of loyalty. If ALFA does back Grace against McMillan, they should be ashamed of themselves.

  • anonymous

    I say GOP = 9 of these, Dems = 2. Which will set a very important trend down the ballot.

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  • I support putting the answer to the question of where your odds came from in the FAQ, but you need to add an anchor to that Q&A as well as link to it at the top of this page.

  • Anything else for us Danny?

    It is so early on the House and Senate. Until we are clear on who is running and what kind of support they could garner I don’t have a clue how to handicap that. Though the assessment that the House will be easier to take than the Senate is certainly correct.

  • Nope, this is it for now, Kristopher. :)

  • Mgm Insider

    “GOP fundraising may surprise Dems in otherwise lean economy.” Mike Hubbard must be raising some serious cash if he is able to bankroll a challenger to his own incumbent. The bad blood between Hubbard-Love and Grimes could make HD73 very interesting in 2010.

  • anonymous

    Mgm Insider should change name to Outsider, because you evidently have no idea what you are talking about.

  • Mgm Insider

    Curious to hear your thoughts on what I have no idea about, Anonymous. Danny made the observation, presumably from what his round-table tells him that “GOP fundraising may surprise Dems in otherwise lean economy.” I found that an interesting point that might hold some merit, given that the ALGOP is funding challengers to its own incumbents. If you don’t think that’s happening, ask David Grimes.

  • Mike Ball

    Mgm Insider,
    I don’t know where you’ve got your information, but the ALGOP is not funding challengers to its own incumbents; however, since you brought it up, I’ll be glad to talk to David Grimes.

  • Mgm Insider

    Rep. Ball, I got my information from the horse’s mouth — Jay Love. Let us know when you have talked to David. I will be interested to know what his take is on his challenger.

  • some guy

    Really, Prince Liberty? This says Davis has a 28% chance of winning. It’s 11 months out, and he seems to be raising a lot of money. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’s going to win, but a 28% chance seems reasonable. Maybe I’d put it as low as 20%, but not worse than that. There’s a lot of game left to play for a guy who is almost certain to make the general without a runoff and with money in the bank.

  • Mike Ball

    Mgm Insider,
    I’ll talk to both of them.

  • 5thDistrict Guy

    I have logged onto this site for the first time today. I am not sure how you are drawing your conclusions, but most of them seem pretty accurate, though I concur with many previous comments, that Ivey is too high on the list. Also, in the fifth district congressional race, the people I am talking to are mentioning Les Phillip far more frequently then Mo Brooks. He seems to have more “mo” then Mo.

  • wolfmanjack

    I think your Fifth District odds are too long for Les Phillip. If you look at their web presence alone, you’ll see Phillip has double the number of Facebook supporters that Brooks does and nearly triple the followers on Twitter.

  • MadasHellin1st

    I’m astounded that Bonner (The lone Alabama Republican who voted in favor of TARP- which according to the bailout’s inspector general will most assuredly be a loss of tax payer money) is considered so heavily favored.

    Danny, I appreciate the number of political advisors helping to develop this line, and even though I think opponents to an incumbent seem like a long shot, you should hear what’s being said in his district. People have begun to see Jo isn’t supporting anything other than his own reelection bid.

    Aside from PORK, Jo has failed to lobby for his district. Most of the grant funding that has been awarded has been driven by larger groups with pull outside of the 1st district (the oyster bed renourishment in Bayou La’Batre comes to mind) which Jo didn’t even know about.

    I’d look for atleast one more candidate to announce in the next few weeks, long shot or no, Politics shouldn’t be a game, its real life, affecting millions of people and and their pocket books. What jobs has Jo fought to bring to Alabama? He’s beatable, all one needs to do is remind the voters of his record.

  • Chris

    Dr. Wally Retan, a progressive who supports a single-payer “Medicare for All” approach to health reform, has announced his intention to run as a Democrat in the 6th Congressional district against Bachus.

  • Danny

    I am a resident of Lee County and after last night’s forum and performance, are you going to change your bets (namely Dr. Bentley outpacing Roy Moore, Tim James, Kay Ivey, and Bill Johnson)? I guess if Bradley (our creature / Alabama boy) wouldn’t have had over 100 paid rude and shameful students as well as numerous staff at the event, I imagine the results would be much different. My good friend works at the Opelika Chamber and she said the tickets were picked up by one Byrne staffer before anybody else. Sounds like astroturfing to me. Bentley definitely “won” the forum and my vote of who’ll be the best Governor for Alabama.

  • Ajay

    Just a quick note – I wouldn’t bother posting an update until the other flip-flopper gets makes his final – final – final decision on whether he is jumping into the race for the republican nod in AL05. I have been hearing more and more that Wayne Parker will get in, but if he is talking to the same people I am, he might not. He personifies the concept of sometimes great guys don’t make great candidates.

  • WDM


    “LOTS of big-time skeletons in Grace’s closet in several controversial areas” like what? This is an important race to me and I want to be well informed. Thanks

  • Outside lookin in

    Ben Brooks will have a Democratic opponent today. NOT Gary Tanner as many expected. Scott Buzbee,a life/health insurnce agent will qualify B4 deadline.Will be intersting with all the “good will” spread by Senator Brooks !

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