The deadline for qualification has passed and we now have a slate of eleven candidates in the Republican primary. There is little doubt that Alabama’s next senator will come out of the Republican primary in a state where the Democratic Party is irrelevant in statewide elections.
The special election is to fill the seat of Jeff Sessions who resigned to become U.S. Attorney General.
So for what it’s worth, here is my characterization of the candidates, in alphabetical order:
JAMES BERETTA – A Rhode Island native currently practicing osteopathic medicine as a pain management doctor in the Birmingham area.
JOSEPH BREAULT – Unknown. All anyone knows is that he paid the $3,480 qualifying fee.
RANDY BRINSON – An online Google search reveals he was head of some kind of religious organization.
MO BROOKS – Current North Alabama Congressman. Smart guy who graduated in three years “with highest honors” from Duke.
DOMINIC GENTILE – Owns a janitorial service business in Birmingham.
KAREN JACKSON – Unknown. A $3,480 egotistical folly?
MARY MAXWELL – Unknown. Ditto.
ROY MOORE – Former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, twice removed from office for improper conduct on the bench. Additionally, he’s had two failed runs for governor.
BRYAN PEEPLES – Who?
TRIP PITTMAN – Baldwin County businessman and a member of the Alabama State Senate. Qualified to run only hours before the deadline and only after fellow State Senator Del Marsh declined to run.
LUTHER STRANGE – Tainted, tainted, tainted.
As I view the election at this early stage, it’s a three-man race between Luther Strange, Roy Moore and Mo Brooks to get into the two-man runoff. Trip Pitman might possibly be in the mix depending on his fundraising prowess.
The first primary voting will be on August 15 and the runoff will be September 26.
Luther Strange is so tainted by the smelly Bentley appointment that I believe it’s possible that he will not even make the runoff despite the millions of dollars available to him from Washington as the “incumbent.” This would be amusing.
Roy Moore has a solid core of supporters among Alabama Republican voters amounting to about 30% of the electorate. But he’s been mostly unsuccessful in expanding that base. His core base gives him a good chance of making the runoff in the senate race, but if he does, I suspect he’ll get beat in the two-man faceoff.
To have a chance, Trip Pittman needs money to establish name identification outside of Southwest Alabama. With money, he could be a dark horse contender.
The man to watch, in my opinion, is Mo Brooks. He’s very bright, quick on his feet, and can often turn a memorable phrase. He’s already talking about “swamp critters.”
And Brooks is the guy who made a fool out of MSNBC reporter Contessa Brewer during an interview. Reporter Brewer mistook a southern accent for ignorance. As Mo Brooks was trying to explain his stand on budget issues, she mockingly asked if he had a degree in economics. His answer placed scrambled eggs all over the reporter’s face. The amusing exchange can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mtQyEd-zS4.
Anyway, stay tuned. It should be interesting.