By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
BIRMINGHAM—Just two years ago, Democrats across the country were celebrating President Barack H. Obama’s re-election and their ability to pick up seats in the U.S. Senate. Well today, Obama is still the President but the Republicans have crushed their rivals in U.S. Senate races across the country while building on the GOP majority in the U.S. House. In Alabama where no Democrat even dared run against the popular Jeff Sessions (R), statewide GOP candidates easily swept aside their Democratic rivals in many cases with commanding majorities of over 60 percent of the votes cast.
As of press time, the Republicans had picked up at least two seats to their super-majority in the State Senate. Unofficially it appears that the GOP could have as many as 26 Republicans. The Democrats will retain at least 8 seats while independent Harri Anne Smith survived a GOP Challenge. As of press time it appears that Dr. Larry Stutts (R from Tuscumbia) has unseated once powerful Senator Roger Bedford (D from Russellville). That is so close that there will very likely be a recount.
Nationally, the GOP took control of the U.S. Senate with wins in Arkansas, West Virginia, Iowa, South Dakota, Montana, Colorado, North Carolina, and as of press time it appeared that Alaska would also be a GOP pickup. Senate races that were supposed to be close, weren’t and races where the Democrats thought they had comfortable leads were very close. In the U.S. House of Representatives the GOP added at least twelve House Seats to their already imposing majority.
In Alabama all six incumbents (5 Republicans and 1 Democrat) on the ballot were easily re-elected. U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, Congressman Robert Aderholt (R from Haleyville), and Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D from Selma) did not even have opponents. In Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District where Congressman Spencer Bachus (R from Vestavia) was retiring; Gary Palmer (R) won over 70 percent of the vote versus Democrat Mark Lester. Not even a late endorsement by former President Bill Clinton could move voters into the Lester camp.
Republicans won all statewide offices in Alabama and none of those races were even close.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) brushed aside the challenge of former Congressman Parker Griffith (D from Huntsville). The popular Governor Bentley received 64 percent of the votes cast (747,357 votes) to Parker Griffith’s 36 percent (427,218).
Republican incumbents Attorney General Luther Strange, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan, and Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey were all easily reelected. Voters also sent Secretary of State Candidate John Merrill (R) and State Auditor Candidate Jim Zeigler (R) to Montgomery. No Democrat has won a statewide race in Alabama since the 2008 election.
As of press time it appeared the Republican super majority in the Alabama House of Representatives has grown to as many as 72, meaning that the GOP can pretty much rule without facing a legitimate threat of filibusters from the 33 member (mostly Black) House minority. These numbers are not official and some precincts are not yet counted so this is subject to change.
President Barack H. Obama said that while he was not on the ballot, his policies were. Those proved to be very prophetic words as voters across the country voted that they had enough of his policies and his candidates.
Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said afterwards, “With the election of many new Republicans in the State, we can now experience real progress and reform within our State’s education system through the collaboration of a Republican led legislature and a Republican governor.” “Congratulations to our Republican victors on a job well done! We look forward to all you will accomplish.”