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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Riley Fishing for Stronger GOPer in House Race


Bob Riley is doing his best to undercut a Republican candidate that the GOP establishment had previously supported.

After Nelson Starkey announced his intention to make this his last term, attorney William E. Smith was courted by Republicans at both the local and state level to switch his party allegiance (Smith had been a Democrat until very recently) and run for Starkey's open seat.

At some point between Smith's announcement and the untimely death of Starkey necessitating a special election, GOP strategists soured on Smith's candidacy. I am not sure if it's money woes, personality conflicts, or some other variable, but GOP leaders obviously don't think Smith can beat Democrat Tammy Irons.

With the filing deadline a little over a week away, Republicans are scrambling to find a candidate who can force Democrats to have to at least fight for the seat. The two individuals publicly identified as targets are ex Lauderdale DA Billy Jackson and Steve Pierce, a former Florence city councilman. Neither man has jumped into the race yet, but both have left the door open for a run.

Pierce is the one candidate who seems like he might have the potential to disrupt the coronation of Tammy Irons. In the 2002 Democratic primary against Nelson Starkey, Pierce won more than 47% of the vote. Though he's now switched to the GOP, Pierce has a demonstrated ability to attract Democratic votes. Billy Jackson might be a stronger candidate than Smith, but he is fresh off a 2004 loss to current DA Chris Connolly. Jackson's tenure as DA was due only to his appointment by Riley to succeed the previous DA who retired mid-term. If Jackson can't win running as the incumbent countywide in the boon Republican year of 2004, then I am skeptical of his ability to win as a special election race as a challenger in a house district more Democratic than the county as a whole.

It'll be interesting to keep an eye on this soap opera. If you want to follow the ins and outs of this special election, read Daily Times writer Todd Twilley. He's providing good local coverage of this race.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Smith is a nice person but a terrible candidate his far right leanings and his inability to impress most of the business community or leaders in the GOP have caused people to look elsewhere for a candidate. If he is the nominee for the GOP then Ms. Irons wins 65-35%.

7:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes me want to vote for him...

Whenever I hear someone described as "Far Right" they must be a true American.

7:38:00 PM  
Blogger ColonelRebel said...

Let's see. If "Mr. Tax" Riley doesn't like him and the Liberal Establishment denounces his "far right leanings" then he sounds like the kind of candidate who has been turning around these kinds of so-called "Democratic" districts to the GOP over the last half century.

7:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah I hear you now. Let's go ahead and cut and paste all these comments and come back to them after the election and see what the score is. I hear this "we need a real Republican" stuff all the time. In a swing district like the one we are discussing you go ahead and see if this candidate gets more than 35%. Of course you will cheer because you had a candidate who got 35% of the vote after being with you 100% of the time. That is why you in the GOP will continue to be the minority in the Al. Legislature.

11:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if tammy irons is related to luther irons, she is unfit to serve in any public capacity. just tar and feather her with that thief

12:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like this race is another example of short-sighted Republican business interests trying to avoid working with evangelical candidates. This is a dangerous game, because it threatens to drive the social conservative candidates to the trial lawyers for funds.

The leading trial lawyers in Alabama, unlike in most states, are pro-life Christians. So trying to make them look like John Edwards doesn't work so well in this state, and evangelical candidates may find that trial lawyer funding comes with fewer strings these days than business funding.

Just ask John Giles if you don't believe it.

7:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luther is trouble, just ask anyone who knows him.

9:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Billy Jackson would make a strong candidate

10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous TurkeyNeck said...

All of history has been ruled by the minority...

12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Responding to email 12:59am
Ms. Tammy Irons comes from a fine local family. She was born and raised here in Florence. I know tammy and her entire immediate family. Besides that, why judge someone for who they may be blood related to? Everyone should decide their vote by the character of the individual and their ability to represent their district and how it will affect the community and the people. For the record, Do you claim everyone you are related too? Personally, I don't. I am ashamed how some of my blood relatives act and treat other people. Unfortuantely, I can not control how my realtives act.

7:54:00 PM  
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