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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Catch-22 in Alabama

I don’t have a lot of use for Tim James, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Alabama who cynically tried to inflame xenophobic passions in his state in the wake of national controversy over the Arizona immigration law with his viral “Language” ad. For that matter, I’m not a fan of James’ role back in 2003 in the defeat of a tax reform initiative that would have helped fix one of the world’s most regressive tax structures.
Still, you have to feel for James’ efforts to get a recount of Robert Bentley’s 167-vote margin over him for second place and a runoff spot in the June 1 primary, which would have happened automatically at public expense in many states. Instead, in Alabama, counts have to be challenged in individual counties, with the challenger bearing the entire cost (in this case several hundred thousand smackeroos). James fished in, but just as the recount was about to begin, lame-duck Republican Attorney General Troy King (who was trounced on June 1 in a renomination bid) weighed in with an opinion saying that candidates can’t get a recount until a nomination is final, and that won’t happen until the runoff is over.
So Tim James can’t spend his own money to find out if he really made the runoff until the runoff’s already happened. Catch-22.
Alabama GOP leaders are apparently mulling over what to do during the weekend, and James says he’s hasn’t given up. But sounds like a simple English-language interpretation of his situation would be: “Just fergit’ it.”

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