I wrote last week about the fouled-up legal and political situation in Alabama, where the third-place finisher in the June 1 Republican gubernatorial primary, Tim James, is trying to erase a 167-vote lead for Robert Bentley via a recount, despite an Attorney General’s ruling that challenges to primary results can’t be done until an actual nomination has been made–after the runoff in which James is trying to secure a spot!
So now James is plunging ahead with the recount–done county-by-county by Republican volunteers, with James picking up the tab–and Alabama Republican officials are trying to figure out what to do if he prevails, according to the Birmingham News:
At that point, James could contest the primary vote to the Republican Party senior state leadership. If the party found for James, then it would have to set a second runoff — this one between James and the winner of the Byrne-Bentley July 13 showdown.
That scenario is keeping Republican Party state Chairman Mike Hubbard from getting a good night’s sleep.
“It’s a potential mess,” said Hubbard. “All we can do at this point is follow what the attorney general says is the law and the recommendations of the secretary of state and then see what we see. If the recount shows Bentley still in the lead, then I guess this is all over. If the recount shows James pulling ahead, then all I can say is, hold on.”
Bentley’s campaign manager, Bryan Sanders, criticized the recount but stopped short of saying Bentley planned any legal action to stop it.
So there’s every prospect for a good, mean intraparty political battle, perhaps drifting into litigation (always fun when it involves those trial-lawyer-hating Republicans), and then maybe culminating in a round-robin second runoff.
It’s got to make Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ronnie Sparks feel all warm and cuddly inside.