Thursday, April 22, 2010

Can the GOP take the Alabama state senate?

The Alabama GOP has been crowing since the days that Winton Blount ran the state party back in the 90's that their on the verge of taking control of the Alabama state legislature for the first time in recent history. This is the first time though that I'm actually buying into that theory. Right now the margin in the state senate stands at a 20-15 democrat majority but that doesnt tell the whole story. The GOP has picked up five seats in that chamber in the last three and a half years so the local trends and the prevailing national winds are working in their favor for the first time. They need three seats to gain control and right now they are favored to pick up the seats that are currently held by retiring democrat senators Hinton Mitchem and Kim Benefield. If they held the current 15 seats they have then that would get them to 17. The good news doesnt stop there for the Alabama GOP because there are even more democrat senators in severe danger of losing. Danny over at the politicalparlor.net has got incumbent democrat senators Zebulon Little and Tom Butler rated in the toss up category for this fall against their GOP opponents. Then you also have a situation brewing down in the Montgomery area where the longtime democrat senator "Walking" Wendell Mitchell has been battling some health problems as of late. You naturally wish him well but if his health further declines then this would be yet another GOP opportunity. Over in the state house, the current democrat majority stands at a 60-45 margin. But there are a good number of historically democrat controlled seats ranging from the Shoals area in the northwest part of the state to the southeast part of Alabama that are in serious danger of flipping to the GOP this fall. Now with all that being said, the Alabama GOP was kind of in this boat back in 1998 when it came to the state senate but then the bottom fell out from under them. They had issues with their nominee for Governor and people they thought were republicans quickly switched to the democrats after the election and it went down hill from there. The same could happen this year if Roy Moore were to somehow win the nod to be the GOP nominee for Governor or if Harri Anne Smith were to be reelected as a state senator. So while the outlook right now is very promising for the GOP in Alabama this fall. History in that state has shown the GOP is more than capable of blowing what currently looks like a landslide election for them this fall.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Charles Boom Boom Bishop is back!

Alabama State Senator Charles "Boom Boom" Bishop(R) who gained worldwide fame for punching the legendary State Senator Lowell Barron(D) on the floor of the Alabama State Senate two and a half years ago after Lowell called Charles's mother a "bad name" to his face, decided last week before the filing deadline. That he may have had enough of the State Senate but he hadn't had enough of the legislature all together. He filed to take on State House Majority Leader Ken Guin(D) in this falls elections. Mr Guin is kind of like Lowell in a way. Both have a sense of arrogance about them and they think its amusing that so many republicans dislike them. So I very much look forward to the campaign this fall for this seat. Mr Guin will almost surely try to provoke old Boom Boom Bishop so it should be fun to say the least!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

State House candidate and his family

Go check out Ed Henry's website ( www.edhenry2010.com ) . He's a candidate for Alabama State House seat district 9 which is currently represented by the retiring Ron Grantland(D). Mr Henry will be facing Hartselle Mayor Dwight Tankersley in the GOP primary in June with the winner taking on Tom Drake(D) in November. Mr Drake is the son of the former legendary Alabama State House Speaker Tom Drake(D). Mr Henry has his work cut out for him. Mayor Tankersley has done a very good job running Hartselle. He became the first Mayor in decades to win reelection a few years ago. He's also helped clean up the city from numerous eyesores that had made the city look bad from a public perception. His ordinance ordered that all signs be removed from public roadways and utility poles and numerous yards and businesses were cleaned up under threats of heavy fines. I like what the Mayor did in respect to that. There's no valid reason why people should be allowed to literally "gum up" the area they live in. On the other hand though take one look at Mr Henry and his family and its people like him that will lead the Alabama and the national GOP back to power. He's a young middle class individual who's worried about his state and country and most importantly unlike some folks on the democrat side. He's never had anything in politics handed to him ona silver platter.

Republican pol gets arrested after getting him some beef

You can always expect two things during the campaign season. A lot of free hotdog and hamburger dinners and numerous arrests. The free dinners have already started so you kind of knew it was only a matter of time before the arrests started happening and sure enough, it happened last night in Alabama. State Rep district 12 candidate and current West Point Mayor Kenneth (bottoms up) Kilgo(R) was arrested last night as he came out of a popular steakhouse in West Point, Al. on suspicion of public intoxication. Now like that wasn't bad enough, Cullman County of which West Point is located in, is a dry county with the notable exception of Terri Pines Country Club. Which is about ten miles away from the steakhouse that Mr Kilgo was arrested at last night. So that means, Mayor Kilgo probably had been out playing golf at Terri Pines and had a few too many to drink. This is horrible news for the Alabama GOP, because Mr Kilgo was one of their top recruits(prior to his little escapade last night) to run in a district that is currently represented by a black democrat who was recently profiled in the New York Times but it also gave John McCain over 75% of the vote two years ago. So in summary, a white male republican who is running against State Rep James Fields(D) probably got drunk playing golf at a country club and he then made his way to a steakhouse where he ate him a steak and managed to get himself arrested after he nearly stumbled onto numerous customers. Excuse me while I go get a fork. I think I smell a well done politician...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Traveling with food and liquor!

Part of the reason why I love my job is that I get to travel and when you travel you run into places along the way they sale very good products like Heaton Farms ( www.heaton.com ) and Morgan Creek Winery( www.morgancreekwinery.com ) in Alabama. They have the best sugar free pecan pie and locally grown wine Ive ever tasted. I still wonder when local farmers in west Tennessee that are south of I-40 will wise up and get into the internet business. It could just be me but I know of no one in the farming business in Hardin,Henderson,Chester or McNairycounties that are doing that.

News from Saban country

The Alabama GOP over the weekend removed State Senator Harri Anne Smith(R) from the ballot. She's now threatening to run as an independent (ala Kent Williams in Tennessee)but its unlikely she'll win even if she does manage to run as an independent. There hasnt been a successful independent campaign in Alabama since the 80's. Senator Smith got into trouble with the party over her endorsement of Congressman Bobby Bright(D) back in 2008. Her and her supporters apparently fail to recognize the old adage in politics that you shouldnt take it personal. But apparently Harri Anne did that after her bloody primary with State Rep Jay Love. The endorsement played a huge role in helping the democrats win that seat after nearly of 50 years of GOP control of the second district. She also failed to recognize that there are consequences when you belong to groups and you fail to abide by their rules. So she pretty much has ruined her political career over that fiasco that she helped create. I hope it was worth it for her sake. In another bit of interesting news from Nick Saban country. State Senator Paul Sanford(R-Huntsville)claims that he was offered a bribe by a lobbyist with the gaming industry in exchange for him voting in favor of a bingo bill last week. The lobbyist claims thats a lie but it does explain to a certain extent why the FBI literally flew into action overnight concerning this issue thats before the Alabama Legislature this session.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Do Interstates matter?

I remember Dr. Tays once back in 1997 at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tn giving a lecture about how bad Tupelo, Ms. and Jasper, Al. were economically damaged by not having the future I-22 built along with the other interstates fifty years ago. I wonder the same about the Savannah, Tn area. Now unlike Tupelo and Jasper, there will never be an interstate built through Savannah. But the city and the county have really changed the outlook of the county over the last ten years or so. The entire school system will pretty much be in modern facilities over the next year and Pickwick has become a hotspot for retirees and million dollar homes. Just imagine though if the county had an interstate? Northern Tupelo was pretty much nothing but cornfields in the pre-1990's but because of the future I-22. Its now become a retail destination for people all over the Tennessee Valley. Jasper isnt quite where Tupelo is with the economy just yet but its seen numerous industries locating to the area since its stretch of the future I-22 opened three years ago. But if you could add all the jobs that interstates bring to an area like Savannah and Hardin County. Hardin County's population would be exploding right now. Its ashame that Savannah never will get the opportunity that Tupelo and Jasper will.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Party switching and other news in Bama country

Longtime Alabama State Senator Jim Preuitt switched to the GOP yesterday a few hours before the filing deadline. He had been on the outs for a few years now with the Barron,Little,Bedford and Sanders group who run the state senate so it wasnt really a surprise. His switch though officially gives the GOP the most senators its ever had in Alabama. The democrat majority is now down to a 20-15 margin. Another former longtime politician returned yesterday but this time as a GOPer. Former State Senator Gerald Dial filed as a GOPer this time. He was defeated in 2006 by Kim Benefield but she chose not to seek reelection this year. One final nugget concerning yesterdays filing deadline in Alabama comes from the 3rd Congressional district. Josh Segall(D) who came very close to knocking off Congressman Mike Rogers(R) two years ago withdrew at the last minute for unspecified reasons. So that seat can be moved back into the safe GOP category for this falls elections.

McNairy County, Tn elections

Its going to be a relatively quiet year in McNairy County's local elections. The current Sheriff Ricky Roten(D) will be challenged by Guy Buck(R) and current Mayor Jai Templeton(R) will be challenged by a gentleman who filed as an independent(his name escapes me at the moment). The rest of the countywide office holders will run unopposed this year. Also freshman State Rep Vance Dennis(R) will be unopposed as well. This is a huge blow to the democrats hopes of retaking the state house. The Tennessee Journal just a few short months ago had Mr Dennis rated as one of the GOPers who would likely face a stiff challenge by a democrat this fall. One other thing concerning the democrats involves the county mayor's race. Unemployment is through the roof in McNairy County and they couldn't find a single person to run? My oh my, how the mighty have fallen. Cotton Ivy mysteriously rises from the grave every election year in rural west tennessee but apparently the west Tennessee democrat party won't be so lucky. Their as dead as dead can be south of I-40 in the west state.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Filing day and FBI sting in Bama?

Today is filing day for all aspiring pols across Tennessee but looking down that list in Hardin County, Tn. makes it seem like a few of them would like to do some time traveling back to the past. According to the Savannah Courier, former Hardin County Mayor Kim Stricklin filed to run for the office he held TWO DECADES ago. As expected former Chief Deputy Jim Davis filed to run for sheriff again. While I believe Mr Davis is a good man, who had some dirty tricks played on him in his previous run. It probably would've been best to have just moved on from politics. Now to a bigger story that is breaking this afternoon in Montgomery, Al. The FBI and the US Justice Department met with the leaders of the state legislature this afternoon concerning a bill moving through the legislature right now concerning the legalization of bingo in the state. According to State Senate Majority Leader Zebulon Little(D), the FBI is investigating certain members of the legislature concerning their connections to the gaming industry in Alabama. It'll be interesting to see where this leads....