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?

16 comments to Top Ten Oddities of the Alabama Primary Campaigns

  • anonymous

    Well, Danny, there is the enduring oddity of Twinkle “Run Every Cycle” Andress Cavanaugh ONCE AGAIN running for the PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION – WHICH REGULATES UTILITIES – because she is “PRO-LIFE.”

    She was on the radio yesterday saying that she also wants to be on the PSC – no joke here – because she wants to “FIGHT OBAMA.”

    I didn’t know Barack Obama has to get socialized medicine past the Alabama PSC. Of course, I also didn’t know that Operation Rescue had targeted the Alabama PSC as the prime battleground in overturning Roe v. Wade.

  • anonymous

    You could also mention Dorman Grace’s “carbon copy” ad.

  • I might also like to add the accusation that Luther Strange caused the oil spill. Does this mean he was responsible for the flooding in Nashville and the volcano in Europe? Troy blaming his opponent for natural disasters is a little overboard.

  • Brian Johnson

    The man who hates being in the paper lives forever on-line.
    Brad Paisley really said it best, “I’m so much cooler on-line.”

  • Brak

    I know that the Ron Sparks (D-Las Vegas) press release is old news, but it really is a one-page refutation to polls suggesting that Sparks is a stronger general election candidate than Davis.

    Davis has had to softpedal the gambling issue in the primary in hopes of keeping all factions on board with him for the general. A GOP nominee would have no such qualms.

    No way Sparks could win once everyone focuses on the fact that his entire platform is GAMBLE GAMBLE GAMBLE Slots Ponies Sports Craps Pai Gow Yes Yes Yes!!! The attack ads would be brutal, nonstop, and effective.

  • [...] Danny at Doc’s Political Parlor points out (some of) the oddities of the primary campaign season GD Star Ratingloading… var [...]

  • anonymous

    A great oddity would be Emory Folmar endorsing Young Boozer . . .you could have that booming voice saying “OLD DRUNK . . . .ENDORSES . . . .YOUNG BOOZER!”

  • Goober Peas

    Last week, thousands of Alabama households received a robo-call from Supreme Court candidate Eric Johnston asking for their vote. Only problem was the calls came in between 2-5am!


    But the funny thing was, many people had never heard of Eric Johnston, so they thought the calls were being made by gubernatorial candidate Bill Johnson!

    So, Bill Johnson sent out a press release the following day (after getting hammered by angry voters calling, sending e-mails and even visiting his office!) claiming that he was the victim of a last minute, dirty campaign trick!

    Good times.

  • Brak

    Even more strange, Eric Johnson didn’t make that call. It’s “Moore likely” that it was a dirty trick by Tom Parker’s trial lawyer backers.

  • anonymous

    “YOUNG BOOZER” has given me an idea . . .how about ALL politicians having DESCRIPTIVE NAMES?


  • [...] It is primary day here in Alabama and Doc’s Political Parlor has the Top Ten Oddities of the Alabama Primary Campaigns. [...]

  • RealRepub

    You can be sure that the early morning robo calls were paid for by the same trial lawyer bunch that financed Tom Parker’s 2004, and 2006 runs. He would stoop to anything to beat the business candidate, Eric Johnston. Some Conservative Parker is; some Christian.

  • Susan Fillippeli

    Tracy Cary filing a campaign finance form on Monday showing he raised $0 campaign dollars and then turning around and buying $650,000 worth of advertising the same day.

  • funny stuff

    Yeah Goober, Billie Joe thinking that anyone would spend a dime worrying about him in the Governor’s race is indeed a laugher…here’s the “press release” where Johnson declares the robocalls a dirty trick:

    The guy is a joke and thank the lord he will no longer even be a footnote after tonight.

  • [...] know what’s good for them. Despite having the so-called greatest campaign ad ever (via Doc’s), FOTP’s favorite candidate for AG Commissioner wasn’t able to beat out his [...]

  • [...] last internet spot had been called the best political ad ever. In this one, Peterson endorses John McMillan in the GOP primary runoff for Agriculture [...]

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