To go negative or not to go negative…that is the almighty question.
While Bradley Byrne may have gotten a head start in the race to the runoff, he needn’t relax because Robert Bentley is taking off like a torpedo and he is heading straight for Dexter Avenue. When the mostly unknown dermatologist and state representative from Tuscaloosa entered the governor’s race last spring most people never expected he could potentially become the republican nominee for governor beating out the state’s former 2 year college chancellor and commonly know, Ten Commandments Judge, Roy Moore.
Bentley’s grassroots approach was reminiscent of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in 2008. Bentley, much like Paul, had very little name recognition but after running a clean campaign and putting in a lot of leg work would go on to make a splash at the ballot box. While campaign rivals Tim James and Bradley Byrne were busy arguing over “common sense” issues like what language Alabama’s driver’s license test should be given in and whose daddy helped him get a job building a bridge, Robert Bentley’s light began to shine brighter in the state of Alabama.
The doctor from Tuscaloosa who vowed not to accept a pay check as governor until Alabama reached FULL, yes FULL, employment never went negative and the voters noticed. In the last two weeks of any campaign season it is impossible to avoid watching at least one or two negative campaign ads but Alabama’s dark horse candidate never went negative and now he has a chance to tackle Ron Spark’s in the general election in November.
So what makes a candidate go negative? Do they think the voters enjoy hearing one candidate beat up on another? Usually candidates go negative because another campaign has launched an attack against them. In the case of Bradley Byrne, he was being attacked by a political action committee called the True Republican PAC. This PAC, funded in part by the Alabama Education Association (AEA) and a Tim James campaign employee, alleged that Byrne was a flip flopping democrat trial lawyer who believed in evolution. Byrne in return launched an ad disputing those claims but negative ads tend to be all consuming like quick sand, one leads to another and another and another. By the June 1st primary James and Byrne were trading cheap shots in multiple ads even being critical of family members, primarily James’s father, the former Governor of Alabama.
On June 1st when Bentley was clearly the nominee for the runoff in July, it appeared that Byrne would try to run a clean campaign since his primary nemesis was out of the running. Unfortunately for Byrne, his friends at the Alabama Education Association (AEA) and the True Republican PAC would make that nearly impossible. The AEA launched a campaign to make democratic voters aware that they were eligible to vote in the republican runoff even though they voted in the democratic primary. This attempt by the AEA was to stock Bentley supporters at the polls on July 13th. With just three weeks until the runoff, it is unclear what other tricks the True Republican PAC and AEA might pull to oust Byrne from the running.
In return Byrne has now launched his first negative ad for the runoff and this time Robert Bentley is the one being attacked. Byrne’s ad pegs Bentley as a liberal AEA follower who voted to allow a convicted teacher to continue receiving pay. Now the real question is…Will Bentley respond?
Byrne has not published the attack ad on his webpage or YouTube site, but Docs Political Parlor has the ad, HERE is the link.
Filed under: Elections