Alabama Senate District 7

With Parker Griffith’s election to Congress, his State Senate seat is open.  John Peck of The Huntsville Times wrote about potential candidates, snippets here:

Gov. Bob Riley on Wednesday discussed with aides the pending vacancy for Griffith’s state Senate District 7 seat. Riley spokesman Jeff Emerson said the governor will not set a date for a special election until conferring with Democratic and Republican Party leaders…

One big-name candidate took his name out of contention Wednesday. Huntsville businessman and former District 7 state Sen. Jeff Enfinger said he changed his mind about running for the seat again…

Hinshaw confirmed he’s seriously giving the race thought. “It’s an open seat. We’re looking at it very strongly”…

Hinshaw said he’s had lots of encouragement to run. “I would be inclined to get in that race. We’re trying to gauge support. Everything looks on go,” he said.

Hettinger served two terms in the Alabama House before serving as Huntsville mayor from 1988-1996. Hettinger said although he is considering the state Senate bid, he first wants to weigh how the commitment would detract from his family and a job he loves. Hettinger works in software engineering for SAIC…

Attempts to reach political strategist Raby and Rep. Hall were unsuccessful. Madison County Democratic Chairman Doug Dermody mentioned their names as potential candidates…

John Noel, chairman of the Madison County Republican Party, hadn’t talked to any interested GOP candidates but said he hopes to soon.

As I said earlier, Randy Hinshaw (D) is in a good position. But if Steve Hettinger (D), former Huntsville Mayor and all-around good guy, enters the race the seat is his.  I didn’t even consider that he might be interested in running for office again.

I’m baffled that the GOP leadership didn’t have a couple of names ready to at least throw around. 

Here’s my GOP list:

Cheryl Baswell-Guthrie ran for the office last time but lost to Parker Griffith.  She’s probably interested in the seat, and her name recognition is much higher than last time.

Al Wiggins ran for State Representative last time but lost to Randy Hinshaw; he might be interested in the race. I think that Wiggins was planning to run for Hinshaw’s seat again next time, this just moves up the schedule.

Bob Long just ran for County Commissioner; he might be interested (and vs Hettinger that would be an SAIC vs SAIC race – fun!).

Chris Stuckey ran in the primary against Long. He might be a long shot, but he’s got great ideas and loads of energy.  In some ways, Chris may actually be the best candidate. He’s got ties to A&M and could possibly penetrate areas where the GOP is weak. Full Disclosure: Brian and I both like Chris. Brian even endorsed Chris on air at WVNN in the race against Bob Long.

Dale Jackson of WVNN is conditionally interested, in a jokingly serious way (“Worst. Idea. Ever.”). His platform is very real:

  • Rollback the pay increase
  • Real immigration reform
  • Eliminate taxes on food
  • Property appraisals back to every four years
  • Give citizens the ability to recall legislators
  • Give citizens the power of initiative and referendum
  • End gerrymandering, which has made this seat a safe Democrat seat, push for an independent commission that creates block districts and not crazy districts designed to protect incumbents/parties.

The GOP candidate will have a tough race regardless.  The Dems will have a strong candidate and the District has been polling roughly 60% Dem to 40% GOP (most recent State Senate, State Representative, and County Commission races).

UPDATE:  One issue that I will be sure to raise with any candidate will be their support for Free the Hops.  They don’t have to buy a t-shirt, but I would like for the candidate to commit to Sponsor, or at least support, or at the very least not oppose, the Gourmet Beer Bill.  Both Griffith and Hinshaw supported the Gourmet Beer Bill.

UPDATE:  Here’s the Map of State Senate 7:

UPDATE:  Thanks to Dale Jackson at WVNN for discussing this on air. 

Dale commented that each of the listed candidates has “lost”.  Note that President-Elect Obama lost a race for Congress.  Also note that Congressman-Elect Parker Griffith lost a race for Mayor. Here’s Patrick Ruffini on the issue:

We need to encourage good repeat candidates in Democratic seats. The average second-time candidate who won in 2006 won just 42% in their previous bid. A lot of people figure they won’t run if they’re not absolutely sure they can win. We need to create a culture, like the one that exists in Britain, where it’s expected that you’ll have one or two elections to hone your skills as a candidate before winning. Barack Obama was a failed House candidate in 2000.

15 thoughts on “Alabama Senate District 7

  1. I was thinking Stuckey or Long would be intriguing candidates. Stan McDonald would be a good possibility as well (assuming he lives in district and would want to run).

    I really vote we draft Brian to run if he is going to move in district in a timely fashion.

  2. I will be living in the district in time, but I would make a terrible politician. I tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. I would support FTH, though.

  3. Daisy – when you say Stan, do you mean McDonald?

    If so, I’ll add him to the list.

  4. We need to get some governing experience for our potential candidates for higher offices.

    Parker Griffith being a State Senator seemed to help him in his election (even though he wasn’t a particularly good one).

  5. I have known Steve Hettinger for a long time. He was an excellent House member. Who is to say that since then and now he would run as a Democrat?

    BTW…Steve was sitting about 6 rows back at the start/finish at Talladega in 1987 when Bobby Allison dismantled 250 feet of fence in what had to be a world record time.

  6. I don’t know that he would run as a democrat – but that seems to be where he still gives most of his money, so I would assume that would be his party.

  7. I might run on an independent or Free the Hops ticket:) BTW, CBG was my real estate lawyer.

  8. Living in Elmore County I don’t have a dog in this fight, but if I did I’d vote support any candidate of any party (or no party) who would work to pass Representative Mike Ball’s constitutional amendment to make Alabama the 25th Initiative and referendum state…..even a radio talk show host.

  9. deesonic – we got comments about CBG’s lawyering during the primaries. How was your experience with her?

    Plus, anytime you want to debate, you’re welcome here. I’ll post whatever subject you want to talk about.

    Don – I support I&R. I can hardly wait to come up with one myself.

    If we do a questionnaire for candidates, Free the Hops and I&R will be on there. Any other issues?

  10. Reactionary, welcome aboard what I hope is the I&R bandwagon.

    Before the 2006 elections Dan Roberts of the former “Daily Dixie” blog and “Between the Links” at that time, I, and a few other people canvassed as many candidates for the Alabama Legislature and higher executive positions as we could and asked them whether they would support I&R if elected. Dan was able to contact more candidates than I was, but unfortunately since he is no longer blogging his report on their responses is no longer available on the internet. If you contact Dan he may be able to recover his report and send it to you.

    I was able to recover a page that was once on my website that reported on how candidates responded at that time and I can email it to anyone who is interested in seeing it if they request it. Anyone can go to
    to see what became of Representative Mike Ball’s I&R constitutional amendment bill during the 2006 session of the legislature and to's%20I&R%20bill.htm to read the text of his bill as introduced in the past several sessions.

  11. Talked to Steve Hettinger, there will be no SAIC vs. SAIC in the Senate fight. I have heard nothing from the MCGOP regarding who they think has the best chance to fight for this seat – that candidate will need the entire Republican machine to support them.

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