Chief Justice: Nabers Declares, while Parker Looms
Yesterday, we revealed Sue Bell Cobb's website launch even before she is officially in the Chief Justice race. However, the man who holds the office Cobb is eyeing did make an official announcement yesterday. Drayton Nabers, who was appointed as Chief Justice after the ouster of Roy Moore, announced his campaign for a full term in front of supporters on Thursday.
For her part, Cobb said she will announce her plans in the "very near future".
However, before Nabers can worry too much about a November matchup with Cobb he must first win the Republican primary. That looks to be none too easy of a task.
Since his election as an Associate Justice in 2004, Tom Parker has been widely expected to seek the seat formerly held by his political mentor Roy Moore. If Parker's reaction to Nabers' announcement is any indication of his plans, then the Republican primary for Chief Justice will be just as intense as the Riley/Moore race brewing at the top of the ticket.
Parker did not mince words about his thoughts on Nabers:
"Drayton Nabers is a nice man, but his race for chief justice risks losing the seat to a liberal Democrat. Because Drayton was the architect of the highest tax increase in Alabama history - Amendment One - and did not support the Ten Commandments monument or Chief Justice Roy Moore, he is just not electable in Alabama," Parker's statement said.Such rhetoric will probably not be confined to the Chief Justice race. Parker's criticism of Nabers' as a tax-hiking, Commandment robbing bureaucrat is probably foreshadowing of what we can expect to see up and and down the Republican primary ballot as the Moore brigades and Riley forces clash.
Nabers has never run for office before, but there seems to be no shortage of business interests looking to help him out. Parker, on the other hand, has had the support of some of the trial lawyer lobby in the past. Since Parker won a high profile GOP primary and bested a milquetoast Democrat in 2004, he should start out with much higher name recognition and a more experience organization.
Nabers' will need a decisive money advantage as well as a lot of help from the top of the ticket to continue as Alabama's Chief Justice. Perhaps even more than the higher profile gubernatorial primary, a Nabers/Parker race will shape the future of the Alabama Republican Party.