Let’s do a quick round-up of the results from last night’s races.
- AL-Gov: Who among us would have guessed that outgoing Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks would defeat Artur Davis by a 62-38 margin for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination? Artur Davis led the money race, led in all polling, and had a primary electorate with a large number of African-Americans to persuade and mobilize. This was truly his race to lose — and he did just that, in spectacular fashion. The Birmingham News is calling it “one of the more remarkable upsets in Alabama primary history”. I guess Artur Davis’ strategy of playing for the general election at the expense of the primary by playing up his votes against the Democratic agenda in Washington turned out to be a massive dud. Makes you wonder if Davis is regretting his decision to seek re-election in 2008, and thereby putting himself in the awkward position of casting votes against Obama’s agenda and campaigning in a Democratic primary.
For the Republicans, ex-state Sen. Bradley Byrne, who recently served as chancellor of the Alabama Community College System, bought a ticket to the runoff with 28% of the vote. Second place is still officially up in the air, with a recount likely between state Rep. Robert Bentley, who has 123,870 votes, and “Speak American!” businessman Tim James, who’s sitting on 123,662 votes. However, unless there was a tabulation error or a pile of uncounted absentees sitting somewhere, it’s hard to imagine James making up the ground he needs. Ten Commandments judge Roy Moore fizzled out with just 19% of the vote.
- AL-AG: Republicans soundly turfed state Attorney General Troy King by a 60-40 margin, favoring instead ’06 Lt. Governor candidate Luther Strange. The Democratic race appears to be headed for a runoff, with Montgomery attorney James Anderson just barely missing the 50% cut-off. Giles Perkins, a former executive director of the state Democratic Party, placed second.
- AL-Ag Comm’r: It’s a tough pill to swallow when Alabama Republicans decided to side with thugs and criminals over Dale Peterson. Peterson, who ran one of the teabagging-est campaigns in modern political history, only won 28% of the vote. Yard-sign stealer and absolute “dummy” Dorman Grace came in second with 35%, and John McMillan won 37%. The runoff just won’t be the same without Dale. (The winner will take on Democrat Glen Zorn, one of Ron Sparks’ deputies.)
- AL-02: Montgomery city councilwoman Martha Roby, the NRCC-crowned establishment favorite, will have to slug it out in a runoff against teabagging businessman Rick “The Barber” Barber. Roby won 49% of the vote to Barber’s 29%. The winner will face Democrat Bobby Bright in November.
- AL-05: What a fun race. Parker Griffith capped off one of the more embarrassing party switches in recent history with a blow-out loss to Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks by a 51-33 margin. It was such an ignominious loss that Griffith refused to speak to the media or even show up at his election night reception to thank his supporters. Brooks will face Democrat Steve Raby, a former aide to Sen. Howell Heflin, who won his nomination with 60% of the vote over Taze Shepard, the grandson of legendary Sen. John Sparkman.
In his election night statement, Brooks excitedly gushed: “I know who our general election opponent is: (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi.” That’s very much reminiscent of the PA-12 Tim Burns playbook; and maybe it’ll have more legs in a district like this one, but it’s probably an unwise course to chart given the lack of traction Republicans have gotten when adopting such framing wholesale.
- AL-06: It’s a TARP! There was little worth seeing here as GOP incumbent Spencer Bachus defeated insurgent challenger Stan Cooke by a 76-24 margin in this impossibly red district.
- AL-07: We’re looking at a runoff between securities attorney Terri Sewell, the candidate who seems closest in style to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis, and progressive Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot. Thanks to her large fundraising advantage, Sewell won the first round with 37% to Smoot’s 29%. Earl Hilliard, Jr., son of the former Representative of this district, placed third with 27%. It’s going to be a tough battle for Smoot to overcome Sewell’s vastly superior fundraising and EMILY’s List backing, but hopefully she can make something happen.
- MS-01: GOP state Sen. Alan Nunnelee won the Republican nomination to face Travis Childers and his mighty ‘stache in November with 52% of the vote. Underfunded teabagger Henry Ross took 33%, while former Fox News talking head Angela McGlowan, the 12th hour pick of Sarah Palin, won only 15%. McGlowan is apparently refusing to endorse Nunnelee, calling him a RINO of the first order.
- MS-04: Republican state Rep. Steven Palazzo took 57% of the vote in his primary against businessman Joe Tegerdine. Palazzo will attempt to dislodge entrenched Democratic incumbent Gene Taylor in the fall.
- NM-Gov: Republicans picked former Dona Ana DA Susana Martinez over former state party chair Allen Weh by a 51-28 margin, ensuring that New Mexico will have its first female Governor in its history. (The Democratic nominee is current Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.) The general election promises to be very competitive, as Martinez has actually exhibited some strength in recent general election polling.