The headline on the news flash cracks me up; it says a “voter” is contesting the results, as if some random person had stepped forward to file the papers. Instead, it’s the losing candidate’s mother-in-law. The Alabama Democratic Party plans to certify the vote totals today, and a hearing will be held on the contest within 10-20 days.
Wheeler at Alablawg has some good commentary on the racial dynamics at work in the race. He includes a link to Kyle Whitmire’s column in the Birmingham Weekly about the race. Here’s a snippet that blew both of us away:
At the end of a press conference Tuesday, I asked the mayor [Birmingham mayor Bernard Kincaid] his thoughts on the runoff elections that were underway. The mayor refused to answer questions about his previous comments on the radio, but he did say something that took me off guard: The mayor said he believes that white voters in Birmingham are conservative Republicans, particularly in Forest Park.
After the press conference, I asked [Birmingham City] Councilor Valerie Abbott, who represents those affluent Southside neighborhoods, which political party holds sway there. Without hesitating she said, “Democrats.” I told her that the mayor didn’t share her opinion.
“The mayor thinks that all white people are Republicans,” Abbott said. “What he doesn’t know is that all those people he’s thinking of moved to the suburbs about 20 years ago.”
From all appearances, Gaynell Hendricks wrote off the white vote, assuming — wrongly — that she couldn’t get it. She also did some last-minute phone call campaigning that stressed her support for “family values” in order, one presumes, to remind voters that her opponent, Patricia Todd, is a lesbian. Not a good idea in a district that includes the most vibrant gay neighborhoods in the city. If she hadn’t already turned off potential supporters, she certainly lost the gay and gay-friendly vote with that move.
I hope the citizens of District 54 can get this contest behind them and move on. No matter what the results, they will have a new representative in Montgomery, and that person will need their support and their input.