Being both an insider and outsider to Alabama....I have a different prospective on things.
In most state elections in the real world.....you need to have some amount of money to do advertisements, and line up unique vote combinations (women's vote, Latino vote, minority vote, etc).
Up to the 1980s....I think that was the trend in Alabama as the Republicans and Democrats faced each other off. Then something unique in Alabama occurred. The GOP turned and picked out a couple of topics, and lessened the need for advertisements or unique vote combinations. The topics?
1. Anti-lotto. The GOP went straight to the Baptist membership of the state, and harped on lottery operations being an evil thing. Speeches would be made about the negativity of lottery money. Naturally, the Democrats aren't stupid.....most every state around Alabama is raking in money off lottery....so it only makes sense. The GOP legislature? Oh, they will chat openly about lottery chances. But whoever is the governor candidate....will always take a dim view of the lottery business.
2. Anti-Casino. The GOP went straight to the Baptist membership of the state, and harped on casino gambling being bad. Speeches would be made by the GOP caniddate about the negativity of casino profits being taxed. The Democrats? They aren't stupid.....other states are signing up....so it only makes sense. The Baptist loved the anti-Casino talk.
3. Anti-Evolution. Amusing as it sounds....the Baptist crowd likes to hear this, and no Democrat will dare suggest anything on evolution.
All of this costs almost nothing, and gets talked around via various Baptist channels in the state. So you take the crowd who will vote GOP no matter what.....toss in the Baptist-chatter crowd, and you got a remarkable 60-percent chance of winning.
In an amusing way.....the Democrats in Alabama have no virtual way of getting in on this action....even with the latest GOP resignation of the governor, and the suggested corruption going on within the state.
What happens after the Alabama GOP gets lottery and casino bills passed? I suspect that they will move onto marijuana and it's evils....suggested their anti-marijuana position will save the state....then oddly, five years later, we will find that the GOP and Democrats have passed a medical marijuana bill into law.
Are folks that stupid? Well....it's just that they'd like to believe in something related to their religious preferences. Since Jesus never said anything much about lottery, casinos, or marijuana....it's left to interpretation. You know how that goes.