One hell of a Tuesday: After Tuesday’s Alabama primary elections, “I did not expect that” became the Wednesday-morning mantra of most Monday-morning campaign strategists. Things were topsy-turvy everywhere—frontrunners rethought, some incumbents tossed, others given another shot—causing Birmingham-Southern College political science professor and political analyst Natalie Davis to stay up past 1 a.m., offering her expertise and thoughts to the WBRC anchors, who were also having a late night. By 10 p.m. it seemed that reporters who thought they had drawn the easy assignment, the reporters covering the Ron Sparks campaign or Robert Bentley campaign who thought they would be home and asleep by 10:30 p.m.—those were the reporters who ended up staying on the scene the latest, in some cases. Let’s talk about what happened Tuesday, and take a look at the unofficial results.
The race for governor, blue edition: In the Democratic Party gubernatorial primary, the odds were on (soon-to-be-former) Congressman Artur Davis to beat Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks. Davis certainly thought he was going to win—he was running a primary campaign geared towards November instead of June. That came back to bite him in the butt, and Sparks’ early focus on gambling was a winner. The effect gambling had on Sparks’ numbers can be seen clearly in Davis’s congressional district—demographically speaking, Sumter and Greene are similar counties, but gambling matters much more to Greene county (home of Greenetrack) than it does in Sumter. The results? In Sumter, Davis got 2,424 votes to Sparks’ 2,282. In Greene, Davis had 1,196 votes to Sparks’ 2,556. The highlight of the night in this race was Davis’s off-the-cuff and extremely conciliatory concession speech.