I tend to follow Alabama news a fair bit.
Today, it was noted via Al.com that things are lining up for the 2018 Governor's election.
The GOP folks?
1. Kay Ivey (present governor of the state). On the positive side, Kay hasn't screwed up since taking over. Kay doesn't have some boy-toy or part-time lover on the side. And Kay seems to avoid any kind of controversy. On the negative side, Kay is 73 years old.
2. Tommy Battle (Huntsville mayor). On the plus side, Battle has been a business guy for most of his life, and if you wrote down his entire resume....it'd be at least five pages (he's 62 years old). If you were looking for soap opera lifestyles.....he's about as boring as you can get. The other plus of Battle is that he's gone and created more than 10,000 jobs in the last decade of being mayor in Huntsville. In some ways, he is a mini-Trump-like character. The title that he likes to point out? He's won a few bar-b-q awards and apparently knows how to grill pork and beef.
3. Birmingham evangelist Scott Dawson. He's a mega-church kind of minister....a four-star public speaker....and likely will carry a fair number of the church-votes in the state. Beyond that? No real experience. We've never had a minister as a governor, so it might be a shock to most folks if he were to win the election.
4. Bill Hightower (state senator, Mobile). He's a businessman turned state senator. For four years, he's been around Montgomery and shaken a few hands. In the Mobile area....probably half the folks have heard of the guy and would recognize him. Beyond Mobile? He's unrecognizable.
5. Josh Jones. He's a health-care executive out of Birmingham and likely the most unknown individual of the five. Past political background? Zero.
For the Democrats?
1. Sue Bell Cobb. Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama, and has done a fair amount of legal work. Age? Near 60. The problem in her case is name recognition. You can ask a hundred Alabama folks about the name, and maybe three would have remembered her being on the state Supreme Court.
2. Walt Maddox, current Tuscaloosa Mayor. He's 45 years old....mostly done work with the education sector, and been a political figure for about a decade. On the positive side....with the 2011 tornado episode that tore up the city, he's known for crisis management skills and is one of the folks you'd want in an emergency situation. His problem will be name recognition outside of the Tuscaloosa region.
3. Jason Childs. Trucker (Oxford). Well, he's the one odd character of the whole bunch. He admits right up front.....he is pro-marijuana, and pro-LGBT. He even says up front....both parties have failed the working-class folks in the state, and we need to bring back a fresh view of the common man. Name recognition? Near zero. The thing is....if someone just stood up with a web site and actively went to some campuses in the state..Childs could pick up 25,000 votes and interest a fair number of people. But that probably won't happen. To be honest as well....we've never had a trucker as a governor and that might be worth exploring.
4. Anthony White. Local black minister from Dothan. He's a local guy....former Army....been a small business owner, and got a degree in business. His issue will be name recognition.
5. James Fields. He's a black Methodist minister from Cullman. He's actually pushing this idea of a rapid-rail system in the state....connecting cities. Course, if you asked a hundred Alabama folks about something like this....they'd tend to rate this at the bottom of 10,000 things that you could do for the state. His problem will be name recognition.
Is that it? There might be two or three more jumping in by March, but I suspect this is the main group.
The odds here? I suspect that Kay Ivey will have a problem in the primary and Battle might actually be this Alabama-style Trump-figure, who gets the primary win. A second vote required? Well, here's the thing, this Dawson-character will be popular with church-voters and he might actually take 15-percent of the state vote....meaning that Ivey and Battle don't reach the 50-percent required in the first primary.
For the Democrats.....the Tuscaloosa mayor Maddox ought to win in the first primary. Childs is a wild-card because of his marijuana stance, and if this election was about making it legal....he might find 50-percent of the 18-to-50 year old voters in the state favoring him. It'd be a shocker if suddenly this whole election was about making marijuana legal in the state.
The likely winner? I think Battle wins in November.