Primary less than six weeks away

Published 1:31 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Believe it or not, the 2012 election season is upon us. The Legislature, in a cost savings measure last year, moved our primaries up to March 13. Our presidential preference primary and our regular primary will be on the same day, which is less than six weeks away.

Most of the contests this year will be for judicial posts. Five of our nine Supreme Court seats are up for election, along with several appellate court positions. One of the three public service commission offices, the presidency, is also on the ballot.

All seven members of our congressional delegation have to run every two years. Therefore, they are always running. Our delegation to Washington is made up of six Republicans and one Democrat. We have two females and five males. All seven are seeking reelection to Congress.

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As the deadline for qualifying ended on Jan. 13, the biggest surprises were the number of opponents that our incumbent congresspeople picked up. Incumbent congressmen win reelection at an over 90 percent rate. The odds are over 95 percent that an incumbent Republican congressman will win reelection in a GOP primary. Republican voters tend to stay with a known commodity more than Independent or Demo-cratic voters. Therefore, the biggest shock to the early campaign season was the amount of opposition that veteran 6th District Congressman Spencer Bachus drew in his 11th campaign for congress.

Bachus’ district encompasses the suburban en-claves of Jefferson, Shelby, Blount and Tuscaloosa counties. It is one of the most Republican congressional districts in the nation. Bachus will be favored to win. He has represented the district for almost 20 years and has a million dollar campaign war chest. However, he finds himself facing five fellow Repub-licans. All five appear to be willing to disregard the adage made famous by Ronald Reagan, “speak no ill of another Republican.”

The only theory as to the onslaught of opposition is that these challengers sense that Bachus may be vulnerable due to a recent expose by 60 Minutes that featured and centered on Bachus. He is the senior member of our Potomac delegation and has risen to the chairmanship of the Financial Services Com-mittee. In that position he has access to private financial information. The CBS show insinuated he took advantage of that privileged information to guide his personal investments.

The other GOP congresspeople, Jo Bonner has token Republican opponents and should coast to re-election. Martha Roby, Mike Rogers and Robert Aderholt are unopposed. The lone Democrat, Terri Sewell, escaped Democratic opposition. She has one of the most Democratic districts in the country making it likely she will return to Washington next year.