I wanted to briefly mention a few stories that slipped through the cracks while Roy Moore and Don Siegelman dominated the political news this week...
Sessions Makes Some Waves
The often low-profile Jeff Sessions has been asserting himself lately. Sessions was one of only nine senators (all Republicans) who voted against an effort led by John McCain to impose restrictions on the treatment of suspected terrorists. Similarly, Sessions has publicly voiced concerns about Bush Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. Earlier in the week Sessions seemed generally supportive of Miers. But as conservatives nationwide have grown increasingly hostile to Miers, Sessions has also indicated some reservations. The common link between these two separate issues is Sessions' willingness to buck his own Senate leadership (and even President Bush) to push a solid, and unflinchingly pure brand of conservatism.
Worley Makes Some Progress
Nancy Worley has gotten her share of criticism over the implementation of a new voter registration system. Yet after some false starts, it appears that the new system will be completely in place in time for the 2006 general elections. I still think Worley faces an uphill road to re-election, but if this new system is well received in the coming months then she just might be able to generate some momentum.
Jean Brown Rides Again
As expected ex-Justice Jean Brown is going to run for the open State Supreme Court seat left by Bernard Harwood. Fresh off her primary defeat in 2004 by Moore ally Tom Parker, Brown says she does not regret her vote to remove the 10 Commandments, but she will run a more grassroots focused campaign instead of relying solely on television spots as she did in 2004. Brown is expected to face a primary challenge from Appeals Judge (and Moore supporter) Glenn Murdock. Though it will not be as high profile as the governor's race or the Chief Justice race, this race will be an indicator of the relative strength of the business and social conservative wings of the GOP. Interestingly, both Brown and Murdock, as well as likely Dem opponent John England, lost their last race for State Supreme Court.
Judge Craig Pittman Runs for Re-election
Civil Appeals Judge Craig Pittman announced his bid for re-election. Pittman, a Republican, was first elected in 2000 in his first run for office. Pittman defeated Democratic incumbent Roger Monroe by less than 1%. In fact, Pittman's margin of victory was the narrowest of any statewide winner in 2000. Of the four sitting appeals judges running for re-election in 2006, Democrats would be wise to target Pittman as the incumbent with the weakest political track record. Though it is still early, Pittman has no announced primary or general election opponent yet.
AL GOP Technical Problems
And in a final note, I'd like to point out that the Alabama Republican website has been "undergoing maintenance" for several weeks now. The Alabama Democrats, who themselves have a good online presence, have poked fun at the GOP about the delay from time to time. But it's not a partisan issue of course and doesn't have any larger implications, but this is several weeks of the GOP missing donations or volunteers via the web. What's the hold-up AL GOP?