Mask’s win a sign of things to come

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Alabama Republicans would like to think it was a sign of things to come; Alabama Democrats scoff at the suggestion.

I refer to the overwhelming victory of Republican Barry Mask in the special election in House District 31 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Rep. Jack Venable.

Mask destroyed Democrat Bobby Payne by a landslide 59%-41% margin.

Mask will not get to enjoy his victory very long.

He was elected only to serve out the remainder of Venable&8217;s term and must run for a full term in the upcoming primary and general elections.

A sidebar to the Mask victory.

He was administered his oath of office by House Speaker Seth Hammett, D-Andalusia, the very same Seth Hammett who had contributed a whopping $5,000 to the campaign of Payne.

Republicans are hopeful that Mask&8217;s victory is but the first of a number of Republican legislative victories in the 2006 election.

Presently Democrats control the House by a 61-to-43 margin thus a switch of ten seats is all the GOP needs to win control.

The Senate will be a tougher fight for the Republicans where they are outnumbered by a 25-to-10 margin.

I ran into a lot of Democrat facecards at the Embassy Suites this past week end

and they were unanimous in their belief that former Gov. Jim

Folsom Jr. will run for lieutenant governor.

Folsom himself has said absolutely nothing about what if any political plans he has.

As of this writing not one Democrat has announced for this office even though it is one of the few statewide offices now held by a Democrat &8212; Lucy Baxley, who is vacating the post to run for governor. It is inconceivable the Democrats will give up this office without a fight.

The Republicans are not lacking for candidates for this office.

Already announced are Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks, Birmingham attorney Luther Strange, and Public Service Commissioner George C. Wallace Jr.

The possibility of the gubernatorial sons….Folsom and Wallace…going head to head in this race is mouth-watering to long time political observers. Of course, Wallace first has to win his party nomination.

By the way, Lambert made it clear to me that he will have his name on the ballot in June.

He will be running for the Criminal Appeals Court judgeship being vacated by Judge Sue Bell Cobb, who is running in the Democratic Primary for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Most often when somebody in our state shouts &8220;We&8217;re No. 1&8221; they are talking football, but now comes a book which says Alabama is No. 1 in another category.

A book just off the press entitled &8220;Mudslingers: The Top 25 Negative Political Campaigns of All Time&8221; ranks the George Wallace-Albert Brewer run-off in 1970 as No. 1 in history. For the entire U. S. of A.

I don&8217;t think any of those involved in that campaign…and I was deeply

involved…would question that ranking.

Gov. Albert Brewer, who lost that

race, didn&8217;t question it. Of the No. 1 ranking he said it was &8220;very much


It is a chapter in our political history which I wish could be


Allow me to

express a personal note of appreciation to

Bob Martin,

the editor of this newspaper, for finding a picture of gubernatorial

candidate Loretta Nall

to run with my column last week.

I am sure it

attracted a lot of readers.

In 55 years of political writing, that was a first for me&8212;-a picture

in my column of a woman displaying cleavage.

I can only hope that my

mother…and I know for a fact where she ended in the after life…didn&8217;t see

that column.

She wouldn&8217;t have approved of that picture