Race for governor nears end
It may not seem like it but we are heading down the home stretch in the governor’s race. The Republican and Democratic primaries are only six weeks away. On June 1 we will separate the wheat from the chaff in the Republican field of candidates. With four viable candidates on the stage it will be hard for one candidate to get over 50 percent needed to be the nominee. Therefore, the challenge is to make the runoff.
The two frontrunners will face-off six weeks later on July 13 to determine the final GOP nominee for the Nov. 2 General Election. This six-week runoff span is a new twist. Historically we have had a three week runoff contest. This will make the primary even more expensive for the final two participants in the fray.
Besides being the most civil primary I have ever seen, it is also the quietest and least combative on record. It is almost like there is no race happening. The voters seem disinterested and are not particularly excited about any of the candidates. My guess is that at least one third of all GOP primary voters are undecided at this time.
I will venture a guess as to where the field is currently positioned. Roy Moore has a solid 22 percent of the vote and that will probably remain the same. The Moore voters are committed and unwavering. However, if you are not for him now you will probably not be for him on June 1. He has so little money that some of his people do not even know he is running. You can actually ask some folks who they are for and they will say, “I was for Moore but I think he dropped out.” With no money the best he can hope for is to keep his 22 percent.
In early fundraising Bradley Byrne eclipsed the field by raising over $2.6 million and setting a fund-raising record. He has gained traction with an early media buy and is probably sitting at 22 percent.
Tim James and Robert Bentley are probably bunched together at 10 percent. James is in somewhat of a conundrum. He is helped by his daddy but at the same time he is hurt by him. More than once I have heard someone say, “You know I like that boy, but I just didn’t like his father as governor.” As you will recall, Fob James got only 42 percent of the vote as an incumbent governor in his last race.
Robert Bentley is likeable and has low negatives. Although people seem to like him, they do not believe he can win. His situation reminds me of an old country saying, “he just ain’t heavy enough.”
Thus, my unscientific totally intuitive guess on the outcome of the June 1 GOP primary is that Bradley Byrne will lead with 36 percent. Tim James and Roy Moore will be in a dogfight to make the runoff. I believe they will be in a dead heat at 24 percent each.
Dr. Robert Bentley will finish with a respectable 12 percent. His endorsement will be worth coveting in the runoff.