By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
BIRMINGHAM—Alabama voters went to the polls on Tuesday, November 4, and overwhelmingly voted to give Luther Strange (R) four more years as Alabama Attorney General.
Incumbent Luther Strange (R) won with 578,427 votes (58 percent) to state Representative Joe Hubbard (D from Montgomery) who just had 442,645 (42 percent) of the votes cast.
A triumphant Strange emerged as the clear victor. Strange said in a statement that Tuesday was, “A Big Victory Tonight for Alabama! Thanks to everyone for all your support and your prayers. It is an honor to be your Attorney General for the next four years.”
Some polls as recently as six weeks out showed a lot of voters still undecided in this race and Joe Hubbard within striking distance of Luther Strange. Some insiders have speculated that confusion with fellow state Representative Mike Hubbard (R from Auburn) was partially responsible for Joe Hubbard’s surprising polling strength……no other statewide Alabama Democrat ever showed any competitiveness at all at any point in this election cycle in any credible poll that we are aware of. Mike Hubbard’s 23 indictments two weeks before the election; probably hurt the unrelated Joe Hubbard’s election chances more than it did Mike Hubbard, who cruised to an easy re-election despite the indictments and the negative press.
That clearly turned in the closing week of the campaign as Joe Hubbard’s ads were increasingly nasty in their attacks on Strange. The low point came when one Joe Hubbard campaign paid for an attack piece accused Strange of taking money from a California based company that supports gay marriage and amnesty for illegal aliens. As best as we can tell, they were talking about Facebook.
Strange said afterwards that the people of Alabama saw through the negative ads.
Luther may have also been helped by the indictments of state Representatives Barry Moore (R from Enterprise) and Mike Hubbard, because they showed that Strange was serious about battling public corruption in the state of Alabama. Rep. Moore has since been found not guilty on all of his charges.
The truly ironic part about Joe Hubbard’s loss is that he emerges from the 2014 race as the Alabama Democrats best hope of returning to power in 2018. His 18 percentage point loss to Luther Strange was by far the Democrat’s best performance of the day. The Parker Griffith experiment clearly failed to motivate even the Democratic Party’s base, much less the conservative swing voters that the Democratic Party had hoped to turn. Putting three minority candidates on the ticket in Fields, Albert-Kaigler, and Joseph failed to turn out minority voters en masse.
No Democrat has won a statewide office in Alabama since Lucy Baxley and Sue Bell Cobb both won office in the 2008 election that brought fellow Democrat Barack H. Obama to office in 2008. PSC President Baxley lost re-election in 2012 and Chief Justice Cobb left office in 2011 to spend more time with her family. 2014 joins 2012 and 2010 as total disasters for the Alabama Democratic Party, which has made more headlines for their inner party feuding than for their campaigns in recent years.
State Rep. Christopher John England (D from Tuscaloosa) said on Facebook afterwards, “What was the difference between the top of the tickets of both parties? The lottery and expanding Medicaid? The Democrat AG candidate (Joe Hubbard) was encouraging people to vote straight Republican in North Alabama. If you are going to run against a Republican by acting like a Republican people might as well vote for the Republican.”
Joe Hubbard joins Sue Bell Cobb on that Democratic Party short list for the 2018 gubernatorial race; but will a Democratic candidate even be viable in 2018? The Alabama Education Association (AEA) and Parker Griffith himself pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Griffith campaign and he failed to get 40 percent of the popular vote. The AEA spent $millions of dollars to help Democratic candidates, who struggled to raise any money themselves, and the GOP gained seats to both of their super majorities in the Alabama legislature. It is very likely that there will be less AEA money four years from now as more and more races in Alabama are decided in the party primary rather than in the general election.