Democrats and Republicans gear up for Tuesday's election

By Jonathan Hardison

BIRMINGHAM,AL (WBRC) - We're less than 48 hours away from a possibly historic election day in alabama. Not only will voters decide whether Dr. Robert Bentley or Ron Sparks is Alabama's next governor, but who controls the state house and senate is as close of a race as it has been in a generation.

Voters have probably seen the faces of Bentley and Sparks on TV more this election season than any other candidate, but in the last day of campaigning Monday, both parties are planning most of their get-out-the-vote efforts around state house and senate races which could be some of the tighest in years.

"That's really what our efforts are focused on the last 48 hours is making phone calls, knocking on doors and touching as many voters as we can, encouraging them to elect a conservative legislature on Tuesday," said Alabama Republican Party spokesman Philip Bryan.

"I still come back to these legislative races," said Alabama Democratic Party Chair Joe Tunrham. "They're of epic importance, and really close, some of the toughest legislative races I've seen in my entire life."

Democrats have controlled both houses for more than 136 years and Turnham says he's cautiously optimistic that will continue, but Republicans are just as bullish on their chances.

Their roadmaps to keep or get control are very different. In a tough year nationally for their party, Alabama Democrats are hoping voters judge each candidate on their own, while Republicans are happy to make these local races more about national issues.

"I think all politics is gonna be local Tuesday and I think people are going to be voting split tickets, based on what's on their local ballots - state senate races, state house races, very important, sheriff races bring a lot of people out," Turnham said. "I do think there are gonna be people that'll vote for one party for Governor, another one for Lt. Governor.

"That's wishful thinking on Joe Turnham's part," Bryan said. "Most of the voters we're talking to when we make our calls, all they wanna know is "is that candidate a Republican?" So we're seeing the people of Alabama really galvanize around the Republican Party."

Bryan said Republicans will be watching the results in Rep. Ken Guin's (D-Walker Co.) and Sen. Zeb Little's (D-Cullman) races on Tuesday to get a sense of where the night is heading. Guin and Little are the Majority Leaders in their respective chambers and both are in tough re-election fights.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved