Election Day Roundup and Predictions
Voters will finally head to the polls to decide who will be the next mayor of Mobile and Tuscaloosa. We've given extensive coverage to both of these races and we'll give one last brief primer on each race before the voting starts.
Sam Jones: Naval veteran, public employee, and 4 term Mobile County Commissioner; Democrat
John Peavy: businessman, city councilman; Republican
Primary Election Results:
Jones: Mike Dow, retired officials Braxton Kittrell, Tom Purvis, Douglas Johnstone; baseball great Hank Aaron ; Mobile Register
Peavy: former candidates Bess Rich and Ann Bedsole; city council members Reggie Copeland, Ben Brooks, and Connie Hudson; county commissioner Stephen Nodine
Campaign finances: (approx)
Peavy: $490,000 (including $160,000 personal loan)
Policy positions: (link to Mobile Register article)
Walt Maddox: Tuscaloosa city schools administrator and city councilman
Sammy Watson: former radio broadcaster, former city councilman, and hospital administrator
Primary Election Results:
Maddox: Probate Judge Hardy McCollum; AFL-CIO; Alabama Democratic Conference
Watson: Mayor Al DuPont; former state rep. Tim Parker; New South Coalition, Tuscaloosa News
Maddox: see website
Watson: see website
Sam Jones started out as the the man to beat and he still is. Jones' strength in Mobile's black community combined with establishment support he has coalesced during his long service on the county commission is too much for John Peavy to overcome. Peavy made a game effort and his divisive campaign was probably smart politics (if supremely cynical) as he tried to motivate his supporters and peel off weak Jones' voters. Ultimately this was always Sam Jones race to lose and he has done a good job playing it safe and minimizing his weaknesses.
Sam Jones: 54%
John Peavy: 46%
Also, I am going with William Carroll to take out incumbent Thomas Sullivan in the city council District 2 runoff.
This race is an extremely difficult one to predict. Sammy Watson has been the frontrunner since the day he announced. Walt Maddox has made a strong effort, but he was barely able to edge out Mark Booth in the primary to make the runoff. During this runoff campaign, Watson's campaign has seemed aimless and poorly managed. Watson attacks Maddox only to back off after a backlash. Watson says he is the agent for change and then is endorsed by perpetual mayor Al DuPont. Whether or not he wins, Walt Maddox has a well defined message of change and has stuck with it throughout his campaign. Maddox has run a smoother, better disciplined campaign since the initial primary.
Also, the turnout has the potential to favor Maddox. Three Tuscaloosa city council districts have runoffs. District 1 (a heavily black district which is a key Maddox constituency) and District 6 (Maddox's home district) will probably have relatively high turnout that should benefit Maddox. District 7 is the only other district with a runoff and it probably leans toward Maddox as well.
In the end it is this turnout advantage combined with Sammy Watson's lackluster runoff campaign that will lead to a Maddox upset.
Walt Maddox: 52%
Sammy Watson: 48%
Also I'll predict a win for Howard, Zeilner and Tinker in the city council runoffs.
Feel free to add your own predictions in the comment thread.