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.