2008 was politically exciting
Published 10:55 pm Wednesday, December 31, 2008
As 2008 comes to an end and we begin a new year in Alabama politics let us look back at what happened politically in Alabama in 2008.
Presidential politics took front and center stage. Barack Obama won the presidency in an impressive margin nationwide, but not in Alabama. Republican John McCain won Alabama overwhelmingly. The fact that the Republican nominee carried our state is no surprise. Since 1964 the GOP candidate has won ten times and the Democrat only once. That solo victory by Jimmy Carter in 1976 was 32 years ago, which makes the Republican streak eight straight. Therefore, it was no surprise that McCain won in the Heart of Dixie. However, the margin was larger than usual. The 60 to 39 percent shellacking McCain administered to Democrat Barack Obama was huge.
Our Junior Senator Jeff Sessions breezed to reelection to his third six-year term. His easy victory over an obscure, low profile opponent almost went unnoticed.
The 2nd District is a different story. This district, which covers the southeastern quadrant of the state, has been in the Republican column for 44 years since the 1964 Goldwater southern landslide, but not anymore. Bobby Bright, the Democratic Montgomery Mayor, won the seat with a grassroots populist appeal to wiregrass voters. This pick up was heralded in Washington as the district was considered a strong Republican enclave. Our congressional delegation is now four Republicans and three Democrats.
Another Alabama political icon passed away this year. Jimmy Faulkner, a legendary Alabama politician and businessman, died at 92. Faulkner was Mayor of Bay Minette, a State Senator and ran close races for Governor in 1954 and 1958. He owned a chain of South Alabama newspapers and radio stations, as well as a life insurance company. Throughout his life he was a supporter of colleges in the state. Faulkner believed that higher education should be accessible to all Alabamians so he shared his wealth with colleges. Due to his extreme loyalty and philanthropic support, Faulkner University in Montgomery is named for him.
While traveling the state visiting my newspapers this past summer, one of my most enjoyable visits was in Centre. Early into my visit with the Cherokee County Herald, Kathy Roe called Dean Buttram Jr., one of my oldest and dearest political friends, to come over to the newspaper. He walked over a few blocks from his law office and we had the best time reminiscing.
Steve Flowers is a
political columnist who served 16 years in the
State Legislature. He may be contacted at