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MARC panel reviews primaries, looks ahead to general election

Saturday, June 9 a panel of political experts addressed the Mid-Alabama Republican Club (MARC) at the Vestavia Public Library.

Former State Rep. Steve Flowers said, “I think we are still a very red state. The election results showed that Doug Jones was an anomaly.”

Flowers is a noted political commentator, whose column appears weekly in the Alabama Political Reporter as well as other outlets.

“Money is the mother’s milk of politics and you can’t be outspent by $20 million and win,” Flowers said referring to Roy Moore who was abandoned by national Republican PACs after he defeated Luther Strange in the GOP primary for Senate.

“We have 29 state elected officials,” Flowers said, “And they are all Republican.”

Flowers predicted that after the general election Alabama will still have 29 Republican elected officials.

“Walt Maddox was the best candidate the Democrats can put up,” Flowers predicted, but warned that “[Ivey] cannot debate, but she can win this race by doing nothing.”

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Longtime Birmingham area radio and TV commentator Mike Royer said that the primary results proved that,

“Advertising does work whether it is a car or a candidate, but it has to be well done, well placed and well timed,” Royer said.

Political strategist Collier Tynes said, “Alabama is still a red state and young people are still red state voters. I am holding on to conservative values hoping that somebody will make us proud.  Kay Ivey provided stability. None of her opponents were talking about anything relevant as to why people should vote for them.”

“No more commercials about Confederate memorials,” Tynes said. “Walt Maddox is great competition. We are going to need young people more than ever before. We are going to need the minorities more than ever before. We are going to need women more than ever before. We are going to need the College Republicans.”

Royer said that, “When you start excluding you are headed for trouble.”

Flowers said that Will Ainsworth getting in the Lt Gov. runoff, “Was real surprising.”

“All politics is local,” Flowers said. “Where there was a local race there was high turnout. You can look at every race and television ads still work.”

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“No disrespect to Collier but young people basically don’t vote,” Flowers said. “Kay’s age was helpful because she looked like most voters.” “A month earlier Twinkle would have won without a runoff.” And I think she will still win. “It does not matter who gets the nomination a Republican is going to win all of those races.  Nice guys finish last. Negative ads work. People like negative ads. They say that they don’t; but they work. If Battle had gone negative he would have been in the runoff. Ainsworth spent a $million of his own money or his dad’s money whatever it was.”

Tynes said that in the attorney general race, “Those who have not been watching the news voted for Steve Marshall.” If Marshall wins he will be vulnerable versus Joseph Seigelman. If he wins people will ask who he voted for in 2008. He was appointed by Joseph Seigelman’s father. “Why does the Mike Hubbard witness list match your donor list?”  Troy King will be asked: “Did you take gambling money and are the rumors in Montgomery about you are true?” Tynes added that King denies the rumors and has been married to his wife for twenty years. Both campaigns will go very negative in the runoff.

Flowers said of Marshall, “The Obama bumper sticker on his car three years ago is going to come back to haunt him. Marshall got a bump from Tommy battle in North Alabama. A month earlier Alice Martin would have been in the primary; but Marshall raised a lot of money. I don’t think the voters know who Marshall is yet.”

“People do not trust the media,” Tynes said. “They go to the people that they trust, like all of the people in this room.”

“Obviously she is in trouble,” Flowers said of Congresswoman Martha Roby. “She only got 39 percent of the vote. I was surprised that Barry Moore got 20 percent. The Republican base is mad at her. If (former Congressman Bobby) Bright can raise 50 cents for every dollar he will beat her. Unless Kay makes a mistake; she will win 58 to 42. The Moore thing was a unique situation where every liberal in America sent in money every gay person in San Francisco sent in money.”

On the Chief Justice race, Tynes said, “I do not think that race is a given for Tom Parker. Bob Vance has a very compelling story.” Tynes claimed that Lynn Stuart had done a lot to improve the state’s court system; but that her campaign manager did not tell that story; which is why she lost in the runoff.

Shelby County Republican Party Chair Joan Reynolds said that the bad news from Shelby County is that only 25 percent of registered voters came out to vote in the primaries. “The good news is that 80 percent of them voted Republican.”

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Jefferson County Republican Party Chair Sallie Bryant said, “We have judicial candidates and a circuit clerk candidate,” running in the general election.

Republican National Committeeman Paul Reynolds said, “We have raised $146 million and have $48 million in cash on hand. There is no blue wave. There is a red wave developing.”

“We had 15 Republicans in the House that were challenged (in the primary),” state Representative Jim Carns (R-Vestavia) “All of them were victorious.” “In Jefferson County 15,000 more Democrats voted than Republicans. We are facing a serious challenge from a group that is being funded from out of state. Everybody (the state legislators) in Jefferson County except Danny Garrett has an opponent. I have an opponent. Jabo Wagoner has an opponent. Dickie Drake has an opponent. David Faulkner has an opponent. Currently the Jefferson County legislative delegation is nine Republican to eight Democrats. We can not lose a single seat or it will flip to Democrat control.”

Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington said that Amazon is going to build a facility in Bessemer that will bring 1,500 jobs. Carrington warned that Democrats have targeted incumbent Commissioner Joe Knight (R). “I am asking you now to consider donating to his campaign. If they flip that seat they flip the Jefferson County Commission.”

MARC President former state Representative Paul De Marco said that the July Meeting will feature Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose).

The hugely influential MARC meets every second Saturday at 8:30 am.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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