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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

A Runoff To a Runoff?

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.

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