North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


January 4, 2013

Steve Flowers: 2014 will be the big year for politics in Alabama

COMMENTARY — As we begin the New Year, let us take one last look back at the 2012 presidential year in Alabama politics.

Our forefathers must have been clairvoyant to perceive that we in the Heart of Dixie would be more interested in state and local politics than presidential contests. Unlike many states, who elect most of their officials in presidential years, we in Alabama are just the opposite. There were very few state races on the ballot in 2012. Only five seats on the Alabama Supreme Court were up for election and only one of those was contested.

The next big year for Alabamians is next year. It is our gubernatorial year. In addition to electing our governor, all of our constitutional executive offices are on the ballot, including lieutenant governor, attorney general, state treasurer, state auditor, secretary of state and agriculture commissioner. In addition, our entire legislative branch of government will be up for election. All 140 House and Senate seats will be on the menu. We will also have a few of our judges on the ballot. Finally, all 67 sheriffs in Alabama will be up for election. Indeed, 2014 will be a big year in Alabama politics.

The year 2012 saw the end of the Democratic Party in statewide politics. There are no Democratic statewide officeholders in Alabama. All of our seven constitutional executive branch offices are filled with Republicans. Both of our U.S. Senators are Republicans and the GOP holds six of our seven U.S. House seats. The GOP also owns all 19 seats on our Supreme and Appellate Courts, as well as all three seats on the Public Service Commission. In the legislature, the Republicans hold more than three-fifths of the seats.

Alabama Democrats can console themselves with one advantage. They still hold a majority of the elected officials in county courthouses statewide. However, the Republicans made inroads at the local level in 2012. The number of Republican probate judges increased from 20 to 32 and the number of Republican circuit clerks rose from 17 to 29.

Democrats remained successful in urban counties with significant African American populations. In Montgomery County, Steven Reed, the son of legendary civil rights and Democratic chieftain Joe Reed, defeated longtime Republican Probate Judge Reese McKinney. This more than likely indicates that to be elected to a county office or judgeship in Montgomery County in the future one would need to run as a Democrat.

This same truth would be evident in Jefferson County. Democrats swept all Republican judges out of office in imperial Jefferson. Almost eight out of 10 registered voters showed up to vote in Jefferson County. Of the approximately 175,0000 who turned out to vote, six out of 10 of the votes cast in our most urban county were straight ticket. They simply pulled either the Democratic or Republican lever. Qualifications of judges did not matter. No amount of advertising or campaigning mattered. All that mattered was the Democratic or Republican label by each candidate’s name.

The GOP is king and in dominant control of state politics in Alabama. However, this is obviously not the case nationwide. We in Alabama are much more conservative than the rest of the folks around the country. Nationwide, Barack Obama won a clear victory, whereas in Alabama he drove the final nail in the coffin of the Democratic Party.

Republicans face a quandary in national politics. It looks as though they will need to expand their base to include Hispanic voters. The most significant and heart-wrenching disappointment among Alabama’s conservative and Christian majority will be in the power of Obama to appoint any openings on the U.S. Supreme Court. Obama will have free reign to appoint extreme liberals to the Supreme Court. The U.S. Senate confirms these appointments and that tribunal remains in Democratic control.

In the meantime, 2014 is just around the corner in Alabama politics.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His column appears weekly in more than 70 Alabama newspapers. Steve served 16 years in the state legislature. He may be reached at

Text Only
  • Danielle Cater: What kind of banana are you?

    They say what goes in is what comes out. I’ve heard it said, “Garbage in, garbage out.” There’s a lot of truth to that statement right there.

    July 28, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Bass fishing is just in my blood

    I was born the daughter of a fisherman. My dad was the pastor of a local church and the manager at various Jefferson County Waste Water Treatment plants, but anyone who knows him, knows he is a fisherman at heart.

    July 21, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Making memories not that hard

    Do you spoil your kids? Do you spend enough on them? What really matters when it comes to the well-being of your children? These questions are real doozies and I think the answers vary according to the family.

    July 9, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Graduation leads to hard decisions

    The caps and gowns are ordered, the invitations have been mailed. Checks are being written all across the country, it must be graduation time.

    May 29, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Longevity in marriage still possible

    I have officially seen it with my own eyes. I have witnessed it with my own life. Yes, I have seen a couple who has been married 60 years and still love each other. Even more than that, they still respect each other and still genuinely love to be around each other.

    May 27, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: ‘Girl in the front’ loves her job

    I’m 33 years old. Yes, I just admitted that. The reason I throw this fact out there so freely is that I have now, officially, been working for the North Jefferson News for over 10 years. That’s right, almost 1/3 of my life has been spent behind this desk. (And yes, I’ve had the same desk all 10 years.)

    May 27, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: What memories are you leaving?

    Death hurts. It hurts when it hits close to home and it hurts when it hits the people who are closest to you.

    May 27, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Life is precious from the beginning

    The media is all abuzz this week over the story of a woman who apparently gave birth to seven babies in the last 10 years without anyone’s knowledge, then killed her babies and stored them in boxes in her garage.

    April 24, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Be strong in moments of weakness

    A sad scene took place on Sunday at a church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The founding pastor of Calvary Chapel stepped down from his position of head pastor due to “moral failing which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church.” This church is home to over 20,000 members who worship together in 10 locations across Florida.

    April 15, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Old dogs can learn new tricks

    You’re never too old to learn something new. I’m of the opinion that you can, indeed, teach an old dog new tricks.
    So as an old dog, I’ve been trying to pick up a new trick.

    April 7, 2014