Alabama gubernatorial election, 2010

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Breaking news

In the Alabama gubernatorial election of 2010, held on November 2, 2010, Republican Robert J. Bentley defeated Democrat Ron Sparks. The incumbent Governor, Republican Bob Riley, was term-limited.

Following the June 1, 2010, primary elections, Ron Sparks became the Democratic nominee, having beaten Artur Davis by over 25 points.[1] Among the Republicans, Robert Bentley and Bradley Byrne finished so close to one another as to require a runoff, held in July.

Outgoing Governor Riley had publicly supported Byrne, initially considered the front-runner, during the primary and runoff elections.

November 2, 2010 general election results

On November 22, 2010, the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State jointly certified the official canvass of the 2010 election.[2]

Governor of Alabama, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRobert J. Bentley 57.6% 860,472
     Democratic Ron Sparks 41.9% 625,710
     Write-in Write-in 0.5% 8,091
Total Votes 1,494,273

Inauguration and transition

Inaugural date

Robert J. Bentley and the then-Lieutenant Governor-elect of Alabama, Kay Ivey, were sworn in on January 17, 2011, six days after the first meeting of the state legislature.

Transition team

Governor-elect Bentley established a transition wesbite at Gov Elect Bentley and named Charles D. McCrary, CEO of the Alabama Power Company, to head the transition.[3]

Key staff appointments for the transition included attorney Clay Ryan as Transition Coordinator, S. Eason Balch, Jr., also an attorney, as Transition Legal Adviser, and Steve Bradley as Communications Director.[4]

July 13, 2010 GOP runoff

With results almost certain to hinge on turn-out, the response of Democratic primary voters and the energy of Republican voters outside the core population centers were the two big variables. Early reports from polling centers noted lower than expected turn-out, though a moderate stream of voters were coming and going through the lunch hour and early afternoon.[5][6]

Following the close of polling at 7:00 local time, the count was much faster than June's primary, which went into a recount requested and paid for by losing GOP contender Tim James.

At 9:43, Eastern Time, on July 13, 2010, the Associated Press reported that Robert Bentley had defeated Bradley Byrne for the Republican nomination for governor. Turnout was impressive - especially in the context of a single party runoff. Just under half a million Alabamans turned out to have a say in the GOP's nominee.[7]


Governor of Alabama, 2010
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngRobert J. Bentley 56.1% 260,887
Bradley Byrne 43.9% 204,394
Total Votes 465,281

June 1, 2010 primary

2010 Race for Governor - Democrat Primary[8]
Candidates Percentage
Artur Davis (D) 36.69%
Green check mark.jpg Ron Sparks (D) 62.31%
Total votes 318,330
2010 Race for Governor - Republican Primary[9]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Robert J. Bentley (R) 25.2%
Green check mark.jpgBradley Byrne (R) 27.9%
Tim James (R) 25.1%
Bill Johnson (R) 1.7%
Roy Moore (R) 19.3%
James Potts (R) 0.3%
Charles Taylor (R) 0.5%
Total votes 492,480

Race Background

It was a surprise all around when Robert Bentley's surprise second -place finish forced a runoff for the GOP. Then, he came in three points behind Bradley Byrne. Next, he upended the table, With the runoff decided, it remained to be seen how much of the GOP establishment that strongly backed Byrne would move over to Bentley's campaign. Ultimately, partisan allegiance triumphed. Bentley positioned himself as an outsider in the campaign throughout the primaries, riding that strategy all the way to a November win.

Alabama's open primary system allowed registered Democrats who voted in the June 1, 2010, primary to cast a ballot for Bentley or for Byrne in the Republican runoff, meaning some rivalrous elements of the general election began showing sooner rather than later. Mr. Byrne was a Democratic attorney during the Clinton years and switched to the GOP in late 1990s, something his rivals were always quick to point out.

In the weekend ahead of the runoff, as both candidates aired new spots touting their credentials, Byrne picked up the backing of another key figure on Alabama's Republican establishment, as outgoing Gov. Bob Riley publicly committed his vote to Mr. Byrne. Mr. Bentley, however, held that it was just such establishment endorsement of his rival in a year when economic woes and the seeming inability of incumbents to speed recovery that led to his surge in polls.[10]

Race ratings

See also: Gubernatorial elections 2010, Race tracking

2010 Race Rankings Alabama
Race Tracker Race Rating
The Cook Political Report[11] Lean Republican
Congressional Quarterly Politics[12] Leans Republican
Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball[13] Likely Republican
Rasmussen Reports Gubernatorial Scorecard[14] Solid GOP
The Rothenberg Political Report[15] Currently Safe Republican
Overall Call Republican

Changes

1. Rothenberg moved race from "Republican Favored" to "Currently Safe Republican" in its October ratings.

Polling

General election polling

2010 Race for Governor of Alabama - Rasmussen Reports
Date Reported Bentley Sparks Other Not sure
September 21, 2010[16] 55% 35% 1% 8%
August 19, 2010[17] 58% 34% 3% 5%
July 22, 2010[18] 55% 35% 3% 7%
(Sample)[19] n=500 MoE=+/- 4.5% p=0.05

Primary election polling

2010 Race for Governor of Alabama - Rasmussen Reports
Date Reported Byrne Sparks Other Not sure
June 9, 2010[20] 49% 40% 5% 6%
May 28, 2010[21] 47% 41% 6% 6%
April 1, 2010[22] 43% 35% 11% 13%
Date Reported Bentley Sparks Other Not sure
June 9, 2010[23] 56% 37% 2% 4%
May 28, 2010[24] 44% 31% 13% 11%
(Sample)[25] n=500 MoE=+/- 4.5% p=0.05
2010 Race for Governor of Alabama - Public Policy Polling[26]
Date Reported Byrne Sparks Other Don't Know
March 31, 2010[27] 43% 30% -% 26%
June 10, 2009[28] 41% 27% -% 33%

Candidates

The November Ballot – Who Made It? Alabama
Nominee Affiliation
Ron Sparks[29] Democrat
Robert J. Bentley[30] Republican
This lists candidates who won their state's primary or convention, or who were unopposed, and who were officially certified for the November ballot by their state's election authority.

Democratic

  • U.S. Congressman Artur Davis, who has represented the 7th District of Alabama since 2003, entered the race of February 6, 2009. During the campaign, he stressed his independence from Democratic party platforms, becoming the only black member of Congress to vote against President Barack Obama's healthcare bill. He lost the primary to Ron Sparks and announced an intention to finish his current term in Congress and to then leave politics.
  • Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks began testing the waters to run for higher office in December 2008, when he launched a generic campaign site. On April 3, 2009, he formally announced himself as a candidate for the governor's seat. When Congressman Parker Griffith announcing his switch to the Republican party, Sparks briefly considered beginning a Congressional campaign.[31] However, he chose to continue gubernatorial bid only days later and handily won the Democratic primary against Artur Davis.[32]

Republican

  • Alabama State Representative Robert Bentley, a veteran and physician, entered the race in May 2009.[33] He surprised some observers when he finished second in the primary, forcing a runoff.
  • Bradley Byrne, an attorney and former member of the State Senate, is currently the chancellor of Alabama's Community College System.
  • Kay Ivey, the State Treasurer, was a candidate before poor performance in fundraising and in opinion polling led her to switch her candidacy to the Lieutenant Governor's race, a nomination she secured for her party.[34][35] Her departure from the race was early enough that was not officially certified to the primary race and did not appear on the ballot.
  • Businessman Tim James, who ran for the GOP nomination in 2002 and finished third, became the first announced Republican candidate, beginning his campaign more than two years ahead of the June 2010 primary. In a repeat of his first bid, he placed third in his party's primary, only 167 votes behind Robert Bentley. James is the son of former Republican Governor Fob James, Jr., who was ousted in 1998 by Democrat Donald Siegleman. Though James abstained from endorsing either candidate in the runoff, many of his staffers openly backed Bentley.
  • Bill Johnson, who formerly directed the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, took less than 2% of the votes cast in the primary.
  • Judge Roy Moore previously server as the Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court. He challenged incumbent Bill Riley in the 2006 governor's race and lost the primary. On June 1, 2009, Moore announced his candidacy for the 2010 race; he finished fourth in the primary.[36]
  • James Potts, a fifth-generation Alabaman and farmer, failed to gain traction and finished the primary with 0.3% of the vote.
  • Charles Taylor also struggled in the competitive race, winning 0.5% of the primary vote. He later stated his intent to vote for Bradley Bryne in an open letter on his campaign site.

Cash on Hand and campaign donations

Candidate reporting deadlines of campaign funds for the 2010 gubernatorial cycle were as follows:

  • 2009 Annual Report - January 31, 2010
  • 45 Day Pre-Primary - April 19, 2010
  • 10 Day Pre-Primary - May 25 2010
  • 10 Day Pre-Runoff - July 8, 2010 (only due for GOP candidates)
  • 50 Day Pre-General - September 20, 2010
  • 10 Day Pre-General - October 28, 2010
  • 2010 Annual Report - January 31, 2011
Robert J. Bentley Campaign Finance Reports
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Contributions In-Kind[37] Other Sources Expenditures Cash on Hand
10 Day Runoff[38] July 8, 2010 $14,351.09 $621,073.07 $37,859.20 $750,000.00 $1,187,731.50 $197,692.66
10 Day Primary[39] May 25, 2010 $105,587.56 $59,865.60 $0.00 $375,000.00 $526,093.07 $14,351.09
45 Day Primary[40] April 19, 2010 $733,253.71 $72,038.68 $0.00 $1,457.64 $701,162.47 $105,587.56
2009 Annual[41] February 1, 2010 $0.00 $144,067.00 $0.00 $787,000.00 $197,813.29 $733,253.71
Bradley Byrne Campaign Finance Reports
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Contributions In-Kind[42] Other Sources Expenditures Cash on Hand
10 Day Runoff[43] July 8, 2010 $149,982.46 $2,004,970.45 $32,258.67 $774.89 $1,192,898.48 $262,829.32
10 Day Primary[44] May 27, 2010 $1,118,472.38 $1,051,643.00 $32,988.98 $349.83 $2,020,482.75 $149,982.46
45 Day Primary[45] April 19, 2010 $1,824,609.85 $1,154.115.00 $0.00 $2,918.82 $1,863,171.29 $1,118,472.38
2009 Annual[46] February 1, 2010 $0.00 $2,605,010.80 $0.00 $54231.80 $834,632.75 $1,824,609.85
Ron Sparks Campaign Finance Reports
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Contributions In-Kind[47] Other Sources Expenditures Cash on Hand
10 Day Primary[48] May 27, 2010 $298,289.24 $526,820.00 $10,428.84 $00.00 $706,297.54 $108,811.70
45 Day Primary[49] April 19, 2010 $836,094.56 $204,016.01 $18,666.48 $0.00 $741,821.33 $298,289.24
2009 Annual[50] February 1, 2010 $0.00 $656,188.00 $52,083.51 $608,500.44 $428,593.88 $836,049.56

Key endorsements

Robert J. Bentley

  • Former Congressman Sonny Callahan
  • Former Governor Mike Huckabee
  • Tuscaloosa County Commissioner Don Wallace
  • The Clarke County Democrat
  • The Tallassee Tribune
  • The Tuscaloosa News
  • The Wetumpka Herald
  • Professional Firefighters of Alabama

Bradley Byrne

  • U.S. Representative Spencer Bachus (AL-o6)
  • State Representative Jim Barton
  • State Representative Mike Bell
  • U.S. Representative Jo Bonner (R-AL)
  • Jeb Bush
  • State Representative Steve Clouse (R-93)
  • U.S. Representative Jack Edwards (AL-01)
  • Former U.S. Congressman for Alabama's 2nd District, Terry Everett
  • State Representative Chad Fincher
  • State Representative Victor Gaston
  • John W. Giles, former president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama
  • State Senator Jim Holley (R-31)
  • State Representative Jaime Ison
  • State Senator Tripp Pittman (R-Baldwin)
  • Governor Bob Riley
  • Madison County Commissioner Dale Strong
  • State Representative Phil Williams
  • The Anniston Star
  • The Birmingham News
  • The Montgomery Advertiser
  • The Press Register
  • Right On Huntsville
  • Alabama Association of Realtor
  • Alabama Home Builders Association
  • Alabama Retail Association
  • Alabama Trucking Association
  • Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama
  • Business Council of Alabama

Campaign spots


Ron Spark's "Lottery" ad

Bradley Byrne's "Values" ad

Robert Bentley's "Own Two Feet" ad

Gubernatorial electoral history

1998 Gubernatorial Results
Candidates Percentage
Donald Siegleman (D) 57.7%
Fob James, Jr. (R) 42.1%
Total votes 1,314,901
2002 Gubernatorial Results
Candidates Percentage
Bob Riley (R) 49.2%
Donald Siegleman (D) 49.0%
John Sophocleus (L) 1.7%
Total votes 1,364,602
2006 Gubernatorial Results
Candidates Percentage
Bob Riley (R) 57.4%
Lucy Baxley (D) 41.6%
Total votes 1,238,154


Mr. Riley followed up his extraordinarily close win in 2002 with a far less harrowing margin in his 2006 re-election. Prior to his two terms of service, the state had elected a Democratic governor, Donald Siegleman, whom Riley unseated.

Presidential electoral history

2000 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George W. Bush (R) 56.0%
Al Gore (D) 42.0%
2004 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George W. Bush (R) 62.0%
John Kerry (D) 37.0%
2008 Presidential Results[51]
Candidates Percentage
John McCain (R) 60.0%
Barack Obama (D) 39.0%


1992 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George H.W. Bush (R) 48.0%
Bill Clinton (D) 41.0%
1996 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
Bob Dole (R) 50.0%
Bill Clinton (D) 43.0%

Busking recent national trends, Alabama has steadily voted for the Republican candidate in Presidential elections, and by a margin that has been growing for the last several cycles. In fact, Alabama has not gone for a Democratic candidate since 1976. Prior to that, the state had swung red, voting for Goldwater in 1964. Native son George Wallace carried the state in 1968, and Alabama went from Nixon in 1972 to Carter in 1976. However, by the early 1990s, the Republican dominance was more than a fellow Southerner could break, even as the rest of the nation swept Bill Clinton into the White House. Earlier than post-Kennedy era triumph of the Republican's 'Southern Strategy', Alabama has been a staunchly blue state dating back to Reconstruction.

External links

Campaign Sites

See also

References

  1. Alabama Secretary of State, "Certification of Republican party candidates," June 11, 2010
  2. Alabama Secretary of State, "Canvass of Results, General Election, November 2, 2010," November 22, 2010
  3. Governor Elect Bentley, "A Note from the Transition Team Chairman, Charles D. McCrary," accessed November 17, 2010
  4. Gov Elect Benetley, "Governor-Elect Robert Bentley Transition Team Announces Transition Staff Appointments," November 11, 2010 (timed out)
  5. AL.com, "Light to moderate voting reported in metro Birmingham during first hour of primary runoffs ," July 13, 2010
  6. AL.com, "Turnout reported light in Alabama primary runoff voting," July 13, 2010
  7. Politico, "2012 Alabama Governor Primary," accessed October 4, 2012
  8. Alabama Secretary of State Election Division - 2010 Republican and Democratic Primary
  9. Politico 2010 Election Map - Governor - Alabama
  10. Washington Post: The Fix, " Alabama candidates spar over outside group's role in runoff," July 13, 2010
  11. The Cook Political, “Governors: Race Ratings”
  12. CQ Politics, “2010 Race Ratings: Governors”
  13. Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball', “2010 Governor Ratings”
  14. Rasmussen Reports', “Election 2010: Scorecard Ratings”
  15. Rothenberg Political Report, “Governor Ratings”
  16. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Governor of Alabama: Bentley (R) Continues to Hold Solid Lead in Governor of Alabama’s Race," September 23, 2010
  17. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Governor of Alabama: Bentley (R) 58%, Sparks (D) 34%," August 20, 2010
  18. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Governor of Alabama: Bentley (R) 55%, Sparks (D) 35%," July 28, 2010
  19. [More complete methodology and sampling tabs are available at www.RasmussenReports.com]
  20. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Governor of Alabama: Sparks Trails Top Republicans," June 9, 2010
  21. Rasmussen Reports, "Governor of Alabama: Race Still Wide Open," May 28, 2010
  22. Rasmussen Reports, "Governor of Alabama: Republicans slightly ahead in wide open contest," April 1, 2010
  23. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Governor of Alabama: Sparks Trails Top Republicans," June 9, 2010
  24. Rasmussen Reports, "Governor of Alabama: Race Still Wide Open," May 28, 2010
  25. [More complete methodology and sampling tabs are available at www.RasmussenReports.com]
  26. [Full crosstabs and methodology are available free of charge with the press release accompanying each poll]
  27. Public Policy Polling, "GOP Favored in Governor of Alabama's Race," March 31, 2010
  28. Public Policy Polling, "Byrne, Davis strongest in 2010 polling," March 10, 2010
  29. Alabama Secretary of State, "Amended Certification of Democratic Party candidates," certified to the counties August 20, 2010
  30. Alabama Secretary of State, "Amended Certification of Republican Party candidates," certified to the counties August 20, 2010
  31. Politico, "Ron Sparks open to Parker Griffith challenge," December 27, 2009
  32. WHNT 19 News, "Ron Sparks to Stay In Governor's Race," December 29 2009
  33. Robert Bentley for Governor, "Representative Robert Bentley to Enter Race for Governor," May 12, 2009
  34. The Birmingham News, "Alabama Treasurer Kay Ivey switches from governor's to lieutenant governor's race for Republican primary," March 31, 2010
  35. Montgomery Advertiser, "Kay Ivey, GOP, nominated Lieutenant Governor, Alabama," June 1, 2010
  36. TimesDaily Montgomery Bureau, "Roy Moore enters race for governor," June 2, 2009 (dead link)
  37. [As these are not cash contributions, they are not reflected in the reported ending balance]
  38. Alabama Secretary of State, accessed July 12, 2010
  39. Alabama Secretary of State, accessed July 12, 2010
  40. Alabama Secretary of State, accessed July 12, 2010
  41. Alabama Secretary of State, accessed July 12, 2010
  42. [As these are not cash contributions, they are not reflected in the reported ending balance]
  43. Alabama Secretary of State, accessed July 12, 2010
  44. Alabama Secretary of State, accessed July 12, 2010
  45. Alabama Secretary of State, accessed July 12, 2010
  46. Alabama Secretary of State, accessed July 12, 2010
  47. [As these are not cash contributions, they are not reflected in the reported ending balance]
  48. Alabama Secretary of State, accessed July 12, 2010
  49. Alabama Secretary of State, accessed July 12, 2010
  50. Alabama Secretary of State, accessed July 12, 2010
  51. 270toWin.com, "Alabama Presidential Election Voting History," accessed July 12, 2010