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Thursday, December 29, 2005

GOP Polling for Special Election in HD 31

I've received information about a new poll which sheds light on the upcoming GOP special election primary for the vacant State House seat of the late Jack Venable. While Tallassee mayor Bobby Payne, as the sole Democrat running, already has his ticket punched to the general election, the GOP primary pitting Elmore County Commissioner Don Whorton and economic development consultant Barry Mask has the potential to get lively.

The poll was commissioned by the Whorton campaign and tested only likely GOP primary voters. Certainly a poll paid for by one candidate can (and usually should) be viewed with a cautious eye. However, this poll was not undertaken to push Whorton's standing among interests group or media, but to gauge the current state of the race for the use of their campaign. So you can quibble with the numbers if you'd like, but I am inclined to give them a fair amount of credence.

The head to head numbers have Whorton at 35% and Mask at 15%. But as is often the case, there is more to the poll than just the initial matchup numbers. Whorton has roughly a 2 to 1 name recognition advantage (approx 65 to 35) over Mask, which is unsurprising given Whorton's stint on the county commission.

What is surprising is that the negatives on each candidate don't follow a similar scale. While Whorton reaps the expected negative perceptions from serving during a fairly controversial time on the commission, Mask also has a significant amount of negatives. Since most of Mask's career has been behind the scenes it is unexpected (and a bit baffling) that he would not enjoy a significantly better positive/negative ratio than his more battle scarred opponent.

Since Mask is generally the favorite of the Montgomery GOP establishment, he is expected to out-raise Whorton. Interestingly, Mask's once (and future?) rival State Sen Larry Dixon has been aggressively pushing a Mask candidacy. Dixon wants to see Mask take the house seat so he (Mask) will be disinclined to primary Dixon in June, as was expected before Venable's death. Don't be shocked to see Mask lose the primary then turn around and challenge his current benefactor Dixon for his State Senate seat. Dixon's "investment" in Mask's political aspirations could come back to haunt him in a few months.

Even though Mask should have a bigger warchest than Whorton, the polling shows that he has a lot of work to do before the primary and time doesn't seem to be on his side. Christmas and New Years celebrations will reduce an already short six week campaign to an even more abbreviated three week sprint. This leaves Mask with a small and closing window in which to make up considerable ground in the primary. So Mask is left with less than a month to raise his name ID, give voters a reason to vote for him (or against Whorton), and finally to energize his supporters and turn them out for a low interest special election on a cold Tuesday in January.

And that doesn't even take into account Whorton's strengths as a candidate. He is in his second term on the county commission and seems to be a solid ideological fit with the district (e.g. he's a past local ALFA president). And while his service on the commission has no doubt earned him some criticism, my understanding is that most of his detractors aren't necessarily traditional GOP primary voters.

So, while Mask certainly has support among some powerful individuals and groups, many in Montgomery seemed to have underestimated Whorton's appeal to local Republican voters. This of course wouldn't be the first time that a state (or national party) has been rebuffed by the locals.

34 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

bobby bright put Mask in this race to keep him out of the mayors race in montgomery. seems nobody wants mask, but everybody wants to help him leave town!

3:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How could Mask run for Mayor of Montgomery? I thought he lived in Wetumpka.

3:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mask is a resident of Elmore County, and we're extremely happy to have him in the area. I think his numbers will rise as the race goes on. As much as I hate to say it, Whorton is a crooked as a box of macaroni.

6:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mask doesn't even live in Montgomery. He lives in Wetumpka so your previous comment is just plain stupid.

7:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the mayor in montgomery wants to run for congress. the previous poster is correct but semi wrong. mayor stupid, er mayor bright is using his wallace family clardy family goons to keep mask in that race so bright can run for congress. thats what montgomery democrats are saying.

1:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Don said...

I don't understand the logic behind Dixon's pushing Mask for the HOR seat. He would be better off if Mask ran against him for the Senate seat because the more candidates there are that run against Dixon (already Suzelle Josey and some lawyer plan to oppose Dixon) in the primary, the more fractured will be the votes against him, and he would easily be re-elected.

I would appreciate it if the commenter who said, "Mask is a resident of Elmore County, and we're extremely happy to have him in the area" would contact me by going to http://www.doctoriq.com and leaving a message on the "Contact Dr IQ" page.

8:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow ...everyone jumping on
Mask,,,,hmmmmm....what does that tell you ? As for the article , any candidate can run a "poll" and have it say what they want it to ...This tells me the Democrats are scared as hell of Mask , and they are prying and hoping Whorton wins ( because his negatives are super high because of the stuff he has done as a county commissioner)
....another reason the poll is bogus is that it asserts Mask's negatives are high too....how ? due to what ?Mask has never held office ....all he has done is good stuff for Elmore County - stuff no one else could or would do....I don't know the guy perosnally but my friends that do speak very highly of him and all agree he is 10 times more qualified and able that Dandy Don Wjorton or Bobby " where am I ? " Payne ...

5:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Barry Mask is well known in Montgomery, too. All the people who know him always remember his good nature and positiveness he has given to people. He is truly genuine. I would imagine Larry Dixon would be "tickled to death" that he isn't running against him. And yes, Barry might have worked behind the scenes in getting things done because he isn't one to try to grab the spotlight. He works with "People"!

3:01:00 PM  
Blogger powderpuff said...

I don't think the Montgomery Democrats would be helping anyone but Payne. They did not have sense enough to start recruiting young intelligent minds back in the early nineties to have any qualified candidates now for these house seats, etc.

3:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Bobby Payne is the best the democrats could do , then they're screwed in this seat ...As a long-time Tallassee resident I can tell you Payne is weak here...so if he's got problems in his own town , where's his support ?Look for Mask to carry Tallassee ina blowout over Whoton in the primary , and then win big in the general - the guy has alot of ( albeit closeted since Payne is so vindistive) support here in Tallassee.

1:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Powderpuff is right ...one more thing too - as a democrat I'm concerned we are wasting resources on this race .... The only reason this district stayed "D'was because of Jack Venable ....Barry Mask has alot odf the same personal qualities as Jack ..... mask is repub. , but he's not a right-winged nut case ...he has a reputation for making things happen , even working with democrats ...so , I will vote for him...

2:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't find the 35% support in the Wetumpka and Wallsboro (Dandy Don's Community) he is talking about in his poll. Everyone we've talked to has nothing but vile language for him. So where in the world is all his support. They are probably hidden in a Hole like Saddam was. Most people I know would rather vote for anyone other than Dandy Don...Dandy Don's ego has gotten the best of him.

Dandy Don's support is in the Millbrook area. He (Dandy Don) abandoned the people who put him in office as a Commissioner the first go-around. Everyone north of his present district would really like to linch him. There is no kind words being said about Don Whorton anywhere you go in Elmore County Precinct 31.

To the people with the Democrats or whoever wrote the previous blogs about Barry possibly running for Mayor of Montgomery would be wise to see a Brain Surgeon for a Brain Transplant...Boy, you all have problems in the Brain Department, when thinking he would run for a Job like Mayor of Montgomery. Barry Mask lives in Elmore County and could not possibably qualify for Mayor of Montgomery.

Beleive Me....Barry is interested only in State Government..and what he can do to improve Coosa and Elmore Counties.

What most people should be interested in is which of the Three Candidates would do the best job of helping the people of District 31. Dandy Don claims he was the President of ALFA for two years and he is in his 2nd term as a commissioner. The only other experience he has is hooking up milking machines to cow's tete's and the rest of the time in the commission who knows how much experience he has as a commissioner. I have't as a resident of Elmore County had any road work done in twelve years on my road or since the present commission has been in office. So do you think I would vote for Dandy Don!!!!!!!!

2:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really? A guy that can't even hold the Chairman's post of the County Commission is running strong for an even bigger job? That makes no sense at all.

All this race will do is drop Mr. Whorton down another notch. The next fall will be when he loses his Commission seat in a few years. The only person I know that is voting for Whorton is the Wetumpka City Clerk.

6:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Data shows- 35% Whorton - 15% Mask- It is coming from somewhere!
500 people were called! I think more than the city clerk has said who they will vote for! You need to pull up past information - don't just talk to those good ole' boys in the coffee shop! Get your facts straight! Look up what has been proven not just "he said" - "she said"!!! Sit down and go through everything -positive and negitive - which one over rules- get the facts not just what someone is saying!???!!!!!!

6:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There a new poll out that tells a different story! Which one do you believe? "Dandy Don's", the poll conducted by Jerry Willis coffee club at "Little Sam's Cafe" or the Real Latest Poll? There is alot of people out there that don't even know there is a special election in the works for January 24th. For instance, in today's Wetumpka Herald, there was an article in the paper stating the election is on January 21st. A call to the publisher of the Wetumpka ask; Well when is the Special Election? She didn't even know when it is. Polls can be accomplished on twenty people. and come up with 35% and 15%. If you add these two percentages up that's only 50%, so what about the other 50%. Most people I've talked to say they are not voting for that crocked SOB. You people keep on believing the 35% vs. 15% like Jerry the jerk off did when running for Mayor against Mayor Joe Glenn.

11:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you say Bobby Payne is weak in Tallassee? In case you didn't know, he is serving his 5th term as mayor. He received over 75% of the votes in his last election. If he does lose this election it will not because he didn't carry the elmore county side of Tallassee. He has and always will carry Tallassee. And, if he does lose, you will have to deal with him for the remainder of his mayoral term and then as many terms as he wants to continue serving as mayor. So if you want to get rid of him, I suggest you vote for him in this special election.

3:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bobby Payne is a good man. He has a great chance at this race in my opinion. He is a very conservative democrat and not too far off from Mask on his views. I think it would be one heck of a race between Payne and Mask. Coosa and Elmore county could only be so fortunate if it comes down to those two. Whorton or "Dandy Don" as another commenter responded is putting on his good face right now in the tv ads. Hopefully the voters are wise enough to Don Whorton's angry and devisive style of politics not to fall for it. I'd like to see that Mask vs. Payne battle. It may just be a war of ideas for a change instead of mudslinging.

2:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talking about Polls - Donnie's boys did another poll this past Tuesday and Wednesday. People I talked to told me that When the person being called did not give the right answer to the question "If you voting today who would you vote for Barry Mask or Don Whorton? The caller would slam the phone down without saying "Thank You", Kiss My Rear. Made them mad as hadee's. Apparently, Donny Boys Poll if it was reliable, Showed he was not getting the numbers he was wanting. Like I been saying, Donny needs to go back to the farm and grab a cow tete.

On his latest brochure, he gives himself and A-Plus as a commissioner. I give him and the rest of the commission a D- D-Minus for the job they have done and are doing. All the Members of the County Commission are controlled by Donny Boy. He either has his way or there is No Way.

Donny Boy, claimes he has cleaned up the County Commission and he Is asking District 31 Voters to Send him to Monkey Town to clean it up. I can just see Donny Boy in the Legislature in Monkey Town. If he went down there to push and shove his way around in the House, he would be a ZERO in a weeks time. He would find out that his pushing and shoving wouldn't work down there. The next time you saw Donny Boys fake smile would probably be on the Out House Wall being used as a wipe.

Bobby Payne claims to being such an outstanding Mayor that he is so much in favor of Schools and Education. He wants to put two new computers in every classroom? Funny, I saw a Newspaper article in the Montgomery Advertiser and Wetumpka Herald about the Tallassee High School having to put Pasteboard over some windows in their Gym to keep the rain out. You know if Tallassee High School is in such a dire condition why hasn't the School and the Mayor's and City Council done something about this. You know glass doesn't cost very much. Schools and school kids do Fund Raising all the time. There ways to get Windows repaired. I give the Mayor as well as the City Council in Tallassee and "F" in this situation.

12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These "polls" are conducted by a company - that does not care one way or the other who wins- why would they slam the phone down or end a conversation one way or another???? They get paid no matter what the answer. Good thing names don't go on the "blogs" -the previous blogger would look pretty duh.. with all the slang and cute names he has for everyone-- so how fast does your donkey have to run around your house to make your internet work? Why not spend your time pointing out good points of the person you plan on voting for and not bashing others? We will see Tuesday!

11:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Beth Whorton Roberts said...

Unlike the previous "bloggers," I am proud to give my name which is Beth Whorton Roberts. I am sure that each of the candidates are dedicated, hard working men who would do an excellent job in their elected position. However, after reading the other comments which have been posted, I felt compelled to share my views as well.

My father, Don Whorton, is the hardest working person I have ever known. In all phases of his life, as a husband, a father, a dairy farmer, a business man and as an elected official, he has always shown others that if there is a job to be done, we should strive to do our very best to do the job right! He instilled this work ethic into our family.

More importantly, he has lived a life of high moral standards. Because he believes in honesty and integrity, these traits spilled over into his work as an Elmore County commissioner.

Unfortunately, there are others he came in contact with in our county, who may not have held the same traits. Of course he has angered people in the county. People tend to get angry when they get caught doing less than honest things. Others get mad when changes are made, even if they are for the better. If Mr.Whorton has angered you or someone you know, have you/they taken the time to discuss the matter with him and listened to his reasoning rather than making a snap decision?

I realize that my opinion is biased because my candidate is my father. However, I would like for others to realize that comments on sites such as this, in newspapers, or made on the street, are seen/heard by the candidates' spouses, children, grandchildren and other family members. I know that this is just part of politics, but, if you have a comment to make, be bold enough to contact the candidate directly, or at least give your name.

Thank you to the individual who coined the phrase "Dandy Don."
We think he is pretty dandy too.

2:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ran upon this site while serfing the net and I think all you people need to get a life. I live outside your district and I think if all of you would vote and elect the best qualified person in that district maybe Elmore and Coosa County would stop being the drag on this state. You people do some thinking before you vote. Stop putting good ole boys in office that sleep their way through four years except for the special interest people. Don Whorton may be a good qualified person, however, he hasn't shown it on the County Commission. Take for instance, T. J. Eason is probably one of the best people I have known in years. From what I have been told he goes to sleep at the meetings held at the County Commission. He has the largest commission district and he gets absolutely nothing done in District 1. He is not able to get the job done. Mickey Shaw is scared to buck Don Whorton as well as the rest of the Commissioners in Elmore County. So the only district that get any real attention is District 3 (Don Whorton's District). This make Don Whorton look good! Everyone else and Property Tax payers are being left out in the COLD. I have driven on roads in Elmore County that look like they have been cluster bombed by B-52 Bombers. Absolutely impassable! Don Whorton gives himself an A+ on the county of Elmore. I think he see's himself as an A+ because he never see's the rest of the county except District 3. A cousin of mine lives in your county and it took twelve (12) years to just get a yellow divider line on his road. That's twelve years! The road has so many repairs, patches upon patches and 12 years later the county comes along and puts a yellow line down on patches and pot holes. That make a lot of sense to me as a property owner of Elmore County and resident of Tallapoosa County. What does this tell you people over there! I pay property taxes to Elmore County and my road is at the point of needing to be closed due to the poor maintenance on it. I don't feel like I as a Tallapoosa County Resident am getting my money's worth! So as far as I am concerned, the people of Elmore County need to band together and wipe the slate clean on the County Commission's post and elect a New Commission and a good qualified person for House District 31 so especially Elmore County can move into the twenty first century.

9:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well- sounds like they are working - for 12 years the road you were talking about did not get fixed - now it is??? Sounds good to me- Good Job Commission-

6:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You dummy, you don't even know where the road is. You need to chase your Donkey back to the Whorton House.

1:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Thad Hankins said...

Wow! So much vitriol! And from some very simple-minded people (there are some intelligent posts here, by the way)who have so little self-esteem that they will ANONYMOUSLY criticize good men that they don't even know to make themselves feel better. Perhaps, if you actually had the intelligence to, you might consider introducing yourself to these men and having a conversation with them before judging them to be the things that you have called them. But, judging from the grammar in your posts, you may not be able to do that.

9:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a rumor floating around our neck of the woods that Don Whorton is retiring from politics and will go to preaching. It was reported that he is seeking a church, preferably in Elmore County, that will hire him as pastor. It was also stated that he would consider a church in Coosa or Autauga counties. Can anyone verify the correctness of this rumor??

8:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bobby Payne is a joke. If elected, he will be a pawn for the Democratic party. Let me get some things strait.
Ads Say:
1. Bobby fought for industry(Dow). Dow was here 3 years before bobby became mayor. He voted against it while on council.
2. Bobby brought new school in. He and one other councilman voted against new school. Fact is that city use to donate gas and water to schools, Bobby stopped that.
3. Bobby as Mayor of Tallasee for many years never advertises job openings but hires his own folks that no nothing about there responsibilities. Violation of equal opportunity act.

1:51:00 PM  
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