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Alabama Elections Directory 2006

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Why Roy Moore Might Win


(This is the first of two posts speculating on Moore's Republican primary gov. bid -- tomorrow "Why Roy Moore Might Lose" )

Roy Moore is a known quantity with an established record. Everyone in the state is familiar with at least some part of Moore's 10 Commandments saga. Moore probably starts off with a base of 35-45% of the GOP primary electorate. The positive thing about Moore's admittedly polarizing record is that there is that a large minority of voters who will support him no matter what. Moore can leave the motivation of his base (using the monument issue) up to his allies and focus on appealing to the remaining 5-15% he needs to secure the nomination.

If Moore stays with the themes outlined in his announcement he will be making a serious play for mainstream GOP primary voters. Government reform and fiscal conservatism have almost universal appeal to the GOP base, even if they don't agree with Moore's 10 Commandments fixation. Similarly Moore looks likely to focus on illegal immigration as part of his platform. It is possible that Moore could use that issue to wedge the suburban GOP voters from the Riley camp. If Moore can make inroads in suburban Birmingham, then Riley will be in serious trouble. Hoover, for example, should be solid Riley territory, but that city has been grappling with issues relating to immigration and a Moore appeal on that issue might allow Moore to win the votes of Republicans who have previously rolled their eyes at his religious rhetoric.

Also Moore's candidacy could very well energize people who don't normally vote in GOP primaries (or at all). Moore has shown surprising popularity among minority voters and rural Democrats for a Republican. Even if Riley can win among the traditional GOP electorate, a Moore candidacy may very well alter the primary math and sweep him to victory.

Also, it is possible that a third serious candidate could enter the race. Harri Anne Smith will announce her plans in December and the April filing deadline gives other candidates (credible or not) plenty of time to throw their hat in the ring. The more candidates in the primary, the more chance the nomination will need to be decided in a runoff. Traditionally challengers gain an advantage in a runoff and Moore's loyal followers could win the day in what is usually a lower turnout affair than the primary.

Finally, Roy Moore has been in this position before. He ran for Chief Justice in 2000 against the GOP establishment's hand-picked candidate, Justice Harold See. Moore not only defeated See without a runoff, but embarrassed the business wing of the Republican party. Bob Riley will be tougher than Harold See, but Roy Moore has beaten party bigwigs before and he thinks he can do it again.

Check back tomorrow for "Why Roy Moore Might Lose".

37 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Illegal immigration will be an issue, but Riley has a stellar record on it. First, as a congressman, he's got many votes to point to, including one where he voted to authorize the US military to patrol the borders. As Governor, he signed an agreement with the federal government that allows Alabama to be one of only 3 states in the nation permitted to use its state troopers to arrest illegals. We're one of only 3 states with that ability because of Riley.

2:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also disagree with the premise that Moore is "well known". The only thing people know about Moore is that he stood up for the Ten Commandments and they think that's a good thing.

To vote for him for governor though, they're going to have to learn a heck of a lot more.

2:18:00 PM  
Blogger PoliSciZac said...

I don't think that Riley has a bad record on illegal immigration, just that Moore looks likely to make that a key part of his platfrom.

It'll be intersting to see if Riley emphasizes that issue as well.

I do think that illegal immigration is the sleeper issue of the next several years. I think we'll see it in alot of state races and in the presidential race in 2008.

4:01:00 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

An unqualified religious zealot elected governor? When has that ever happened? *cough* GuyHunt *cough* At this point, Moore's chances are disturbingy good for election.

5:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he will win because he will levitate over the alabama supreme court building to prove once and for all that he is above the law.

3:28:00 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

This is a well written analysis, and if you don't mind, I'm going to post it over at Centerforfaithinpolitics.org

1:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Moore wins, it will be because of the Abramoff scandal. I don't think any of us fully realize just how devastating this thing is going to be Riley and possibly others in the state. One of his chief advisors and former campaign consultant, (BCA Pres) Bill Canary has now been tied to past dealings with Rove and Abramoff. Alabama is going to be key to this investigation and it aint gonna be pretty.

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