The Alabama Senate Race Gets Crazy

In Alabama’s most outrageous Senate race, Roy Moore is in

Paul Beaudry | pbeaudry@al.com

Roy Moore is running for U.S. Senate.

Surprise!

Which means that no less than three candidates – Moore, the Christian Coalition guy and Rep. Ed Henry – will probably seek the “backed by God” mantle.

Sorta like The Bachelor in search of God’s rose.

It could get uncomfortable.

This race, the special election for the seat abandoned by now-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and assumed by now-tainted U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, is a downhill sprint that might just end in a heap outside a Sand Mountain Dollar General.

There is Moore, who has name recognition surpassing even the sitting senator. But it ain’t all good. The guy has been booted off the Alabama Supreme Court twice. He says it was for standing up for your rights. Rights groups say it’s because if you don’t fit into his definition of rights your rights are wrong.

Strange would have been the presumptive favorite if not for, well, current events. The downward spiral and subsequent earthly impact of ex-Gov. Robert Bentley didn’t just take out the governor, it left Strange’s reputation in a smoking pile. The former attorney general is now widely seen as the guy who was willing to look the other way on potential gubernatorial crimes if Bentley would appoint him to his dream job.

Henry – a guy who hounded Bentley for months – now claims the crown of corruption fighter in chief. “Trump’s going to need help draining the swamp,” he said when entering the race. But I’ll never stop seeing this “corruption fighter” clapping like a seal on speed at a pep rally supporting former House Speaker Mike Hubbard, the current poster child for Alabama corruption.

Randy Brinson, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, has also announced his candidacy, bristling against corruption and the “venality of politicians.”

Hard to argue that, and this race is case in point.

The wild card – if he’s even in this race – is Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, who has made a decision about whether to run but had not, as of this posting, decided to share that decision.

He’s a somewhat boring businessman, who along with Hubbard dominated the Alabama GOP for years, although he has managed to do it without becoming a household name. He’ll take heat for being a silk-stocking Republican, a part of the Goat Hill status quo. He won’t claim the anointing of God but will probably get a sprinkling from the BCA, which in Alabama politics is pretty close to the same thing.

His biggest asset – and this could be a big thing – is that he’s not, as far as I know, crazy as a bag of jackhammers.

As a matter of fact that should be his slogan, should he choose to run: “Del Marsh: The practically sane one.”

This thing is gonna get hairy fast. The primary election – and in blood-red Alabama the election that counts is the Republican primary – is in August, so name recognition and money will be big.

Strange has already been able to build a campaign war chest of almost $800,000, but he’s got as much baggage as he has money.

Moore hasn’t been as successful raising money in the past – and his last attempt at governor was a dismal failure – but he has a big name and a committed base. But he, too, has as much baggage as he has base. And Henry and Brinson could peel off some of his votes.

If I had to lay odds now – assuming Marsh makes it into the race — I’d say Strange finishes third to Moore and Marsh.

And while Moore seems a shoo-in to make the runoff, he could very well lose to Marsh.

But then, maybe I’m putting too much stock in “practically sane.”

No Democrats have thrown their hat in the ring yet.

The pretty picture above has nothing to do with the article but is a palate cleanser since politics can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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