UAB political expert says primaries were "historical"

By Alan Collins

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - "This was a historic night," was the opinion of UAB political analyst Larry Powell of the recent primary elections. Powell says the biggest surprise was the overwhelming defeat of Congressman Artur Davis for the Democratic nomination.

"In the Democratic election you had the black candidate not getting the black vote and Sparks running away with it," says Powell.
Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot, who is trying to win Davis' congressional seat says the defeat was not based on race. "Oh no, I don't think Alabama was not poised to elect a black leader to be governor of this state. I think as political folk we make political errors in wondering what folks want," Smoot said.
Powell says the Republican showdown between Bradley Byrne, Robert Bentley or Tim James may force the candidates to change their strategies. "To what extent do they go after each other? Does Bradley Byrne run a positive campaign, or if he goes after Bentley, how does Bentley react?" Powell said.
Powell says whoever wins the Republican nomination in the runoff will be the frontrunner come November against Ron Sparks. "He is going to have to broaden his appeal. He is appealing too much to the left in the party. He has to got to find some way to appeal to moderates, people out there who didn't vote for either party," Powell said.
Powell says legalizing electronic bingo is not in the top ten issues for Alabama voters.

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