Preference vote good for Alabama

Published 10:06 am Wednesday, March 26, 2008

By Staff
The decision to move our presidential preference primary up to Feb. 5 has been considered by most observers to have been good for our state. Leaders of both political parties have hailed it as a success and well worth the cost. It was a public relations plus in two ways. It shed a positive image and gave us deference from the candidates for the first time in modern history. In addition, it gave us a relevant say in the nominating process. In short, we became players in the presidential race.
An Alabama physician has quietly become a player himself, not only in Alabama politics but nationally in this year's presidential contest. Dr. Randy Brinson, a Montgomery physician, recently became Chairman of the Christian Coalition of Alabama. Brinson quickly gave the organization renewed confidence and credibility it had lost after it was revealed that they were the conduits for a massive amount of money from out-of-state Indian gambling interests.
Brinson moved into the national political picture early this year. Brinson and his wife, Pam, founded Redeem the Vote during the 2004 Presidential Campaign to register faith oriented young people to vote. The organization is bipartisan and it is estimated that they registered 100,000 new voters in 2004. That number has doubled this year.
Brinson and his wife leased a red, black and gold bus and traveled throughout the country stopping at university campuses to register young voters and educate them on the process and issues. In Alabama the Redeem the Vote bus stopped at Alabama State, Auburn and the University of Alabama.
Brinson has received national publicity for his efforts. In fact, the Washington Post credits him with helping start Mike Huckabee's roll, momentum and ultimate victory in Iowa. Huckabee got involved with Brinson when he began his Redeem the Vote effort.
However, Brinson's power nationally is derived from another source. Brinson is the keeper of the most massive email list of Christian voters in America. Dr. Brinson used his list to guide Huckabee to victory in every evangelical state in America, including Iowa, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kansas. Brinson's list includes 70 million contacts, with 25 million identified as being between “25 and 45, upwardly mobile, right of center, conservative households.”
How did Dr. Brinson build this impressive, massive and target rich list which has made him such an important figure? In February of 2004 Brinson was at a meeting of national religious broadcasters when he met a group of people doing the early marketing efforts for Mel Gibson's film, “The Passion of the Christ.” Brinson, who has been involved in politics for much of his life, had been searching for ideas about how to build a list to reach the Christian community. In conversations with producers of the movie a trust was formed. Their bond began the production of the list. However, it was not until Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in the film, taped a promotion for Redeem the Vote that the list really took off.
Brinson has become an important mastermind in presidential politics. His counsel, and more importantly his list, will be very much sought after in years to come. Dr. Randy Brinson may not be a household name in Alabama politics, but if I were running for a statewide office in Alabama he would be the first visit I would make and hope I made a friend.
Steve Flowers served 16 years in the State Legislature. He may be reached at www.steveflowers.us