Flowers offers look at politics

Published 1:30 am Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Luverne Rotary Club got an inside look at Alabama politics from one of the state’s top analysts when Steve Flowers visited Monday.

Flowers offered insight into the repercussions of the recent election, and how changing populations affected races on the local level.

“I think what you’ll see when the new Census numbers come out is that much of Montgomery has moved across the river to Autauga and Elmore counties,” Flowers said.

Email newsletter signup

That fact had some effect on the state Senate race between Wendell Mitchell and Bryan Taylor, Flowers added.

“Butler, Crenshaw and Pike counties have always been together, but not Autauga County, which is in the district,” he said. “There are more votes in Autauga County than in Crenshaw, Butler and Pike combined. I don’t feel like we’ll be in the district with them after reapportionment.”

In light of the recent Auburn-Alabama game, Flowers also gave some statistics about recent governors and their alma maters.

Over the past 68 years, the University of Alabama has produced nine terms as governor (five terms by George Wallace), five terms were by governors with no college education (including “Big” Jim Folsom), and three terms were from Auburn University (two terms by Fob James).

Former gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne is a Duke graduate and Artur Davis is a Harvard alum.

“I made a tongue-in-cheek comment in my column about how hard it’ll be to get a Harvard or Duke alum elected,” Flowers joked.

Flowers also said the recent election will have far-reaching impact in politics throughout our life.

He said many of the election results were influenced by Washington.

“I saw the tidal wave coming because historically, the party that wins the White House loses seats in the midterm election, but I never saw the size of this tsunami coming,” Flowers said.

Flowers discussed the three times in history that a national trend has affected Deep South politics.

The first came in 1876, shortly after the South was coming out of Reconstruction and established the Democratic party as the primary party.

The second was in 1964, when many across the South voted for Barry Goldwater in the presidential election, which marked the first time a Republican had carried the state in over 100 years.

Since 1964, Alabama has only voted for a Democratic candidate for president once — Jimmy Carter.

The third change came in the most recent election, which leaves only one Democratic senator out of 24 across the South.

On the horizon, Flowers said he foresees ethics reform coming in the next session of the legislature with a particular emphasis on PAC-to-PAC transfers.

“That’s something that needs to be rectified,” he said.