Governor Harri Anne?
Harri Anne Smith has been publicly feeling out a run for governor for the past week. Smith is not exactly a household name in most circles, but she would make an interesting candidate. She made her leap from being politically active in her hometown of Slocomb to the State Senate in 1998 where she defeated longtime incumbent Chip Bailey in the Republican primary. Bailey had served in the Senate as a Democrat since 1982, but switched parties prior the 1998 election and lost his first foray as a Republican.
In the State Senate, Smith has compiled one of the most conservative voting records. Smith says that a poll she commissioned has given her a reason to be optimistic. But if the poll numbers were especially good, she'd make them public which at this point she has declined to do.
While at first glance her candidacy would seem quixotic in the face of the Riley/Roy faceoff looming, she could make an interesting alternative if the two heavyweights knock each other out. Smith starts off with almost no name recognition and certainly couldn't raise the money of an incumbent governor or a martyred ideologue, but assuming Riley and Moore spend all their money attacking each other, then she might not need much. Certainly most Republicans would find her a suitable alternative if both Riley and Moore collapsed. Since Riley and Moore both have strong detractors in their own party, maybe many Republicans would welcome a non-threatening conservative state senator to support.
One thing that a Smith candidacy would make much more likely is a runoff. One silver lining the Republicans had even if Riley and Moore both go to the mattresses, is that if they are the only serious candidates running, it is likely the GOP nomination would be won in the primary. With the addition of Harri Anne Smith as a third, credible candidate, a runoff seems more and more likely. And with a runoff could come another month of Republican hand-to-hand combat.
I don't have a clear concept of which candidate Smith would draw her voters from. She doesn't really share a geographical base with either Riley or Moore and though her arch-conservative voting record should appeal to Moore voters, her personality seems to reflect the more collegial pragmatism of Riley.
Smith' best bet would be too steer her candidacy directly between the pragamatism of Riley and the ideology of Moore and become all Republican's second-choice and if the chips fall right, maybe she'd have a real shot at the nomination.