I disagree. Not that it's going to be easy. But there are things Sparks can do, and there are factors that people aren't considering.
First of all, why believe the polls?
They were wrong, oh, so wrong, about the primary election with their predictions of a Davis win and a poor Sparks showing. Ron Sparks proved them wrong.
Or, should I say, the voters proved them wrong.
So, ignore all future polling data on this race.
Of course, we don't know who the Republican candidate will be.
We don't know how much crossing over will take place in the runoff.
We don't know if the Republican Party will accept the results. They could screw up like the Democrats did in 1986 (Graddick/Baxley).
Now, consider a few things.
Republicans love to gamble. They bet on the Alabama/Auburn game. They buy lottery tickets in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and other states. They travel to Silverstar in Philadelphia, Mississippi and to Biloxi to the Casinos there.
They might not be crazy about Milton McGregor, but they love to gamble.
Trouble is, many are in the closet. They don't want the people who sit on their pew at the Baptist Church to know they play the slots. Or the tables.
So they gamble on the downlow.
And put a Byrne or James or Bentley sign in their front yard.
But when they go into that voting booth, they could easily fill in the Ron Sparks oval rather than the Bradley Byrne/Robert Bentley/Tim James choice. The voter knows that their ballot is secret. They can vote to allow the regulation of gambling in this state, to allow the state to reap the benefits of gambling rather than sending all those dollars to Mississippi and Florida.
Conventional wisdom (and a lot of people) tells us that Alabama Black voters wanted Artur Davis to learn a lesson. That you don't take them for granted. Conventional wisdom might also tell us that the voters feel they have done just that, and that they won't be excited to come back out in November to vote for Sparks.
But I've spoken with a number of Blacks in the Bessemer area and not one has led me to believe that they will sit at home in November. Sparks will hold on to that support.
Ron Sparks needs to do three things. Everyone now knows that he is the only pro-gambling candidate.
- Ban PAC-to-PAC transfers
- Campaign contributions will be transparent, clearly identifying the individual contributor
- Federal "office holder" fund transfers to State campaigns will have the same transparency
- Lobbyists will report "every penny"
- Lobbying the Executive Branch will have the same transparency, and lobbyists will be required to register
Please read the entire editorial.
2. He needs to develop a consistent and sound policy about the disaster on the Gulf Coast. This will be a major focus of the next governor's term, and Sparks can tie his plan for saving the coast with his successful promotion of international trade, particularly with Cuba, without "politicizing" the disaster.
3. Every other word out of his mouth should be "jobs". He has worked in a factory. He has promoted jobs in agriculture during his two statewide elected terms as Agriculture Commissioner. The Democrats brought in the automakers. Yes they did. Autoworkers know that the Democratic governors have been pro - their industry. Teachers should know that the Democrats support them (and that the Democrats in Washington are saving their jobs).
Ron Sparks can win in November. The issues that Alabama cares about are not how strongly a candidate believes in science, or in God, or in both, or how many guns a Governor totes. But even for the gun toting, beer drinking, hunting and fishing voters of the state, Sparks is their buddy.
With Ron Sparks' Black support and pro-ethics reform and gambling and good ole boy identity and union/workers support we can look forward to taking the Governor's mansion in November.
But we won't take anything or anyone for granted. Artur Davis taught us that.