Bad news for Sparks, or not? A June 3 poll of 500 likely Alabama voters suggests Democratic nominee for Alabama governor Ron Sparks will face an uphill battle in November. The poll, which was conducted by independent national polling firm Rasmussen Reports and reported on in the Birmingham News, found that 49 percent of respondents would choose Republican Bradley Byrne over Sparks, with only 40 percent choosing Sparks. Robert Bentley would fare even better—he got 56 percent to Spark’s 37 percent. But maybe Sparks shouldn’t pay attention to polls—they predicted Rep. Artur Davis would trounce Sparks in the Democratic primary, which Sparks won 62.4 percent to 37.6 percent. And respected polling analyst Nate Silver has shown that Rasmussen tends to have a “house effect” that favors the GOP, meaning they frequently report higher numbers for Republican candidates than other firms.
The truth about Natalee? Joran Van der Sloot, the Dutchman who is a suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Mountain Brook teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba, told Peruvian authorities that he knows where Holloway’s body is. According to Associated Press reports, Van der Sloot is being held by Peru as a suspect in the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, who was found dead last month in a Lima hotel. Van der Sloot reportedly confessed to the Flores murder. Finding Holloway’s body might offer some closure for her family, but Van der Sloot has an extensive record of lying about the Holloway case. Nonetheless, volunteers are ready to resume the search for the missing girl in Aruba should Van der Sloot provide new information. He has twice been arrested for Holloway’s disappearance but was released both times due to a lack of evidence.
Recount this: After all the provisional ballots from last Tuesday’s primary were counted, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James fell 167 votes short of making it into the July 13 run-off. He wants a recount in all 67 Alabama counties. It’s a reasonable request, but nobody seems to know quite what to do about it. When asked for his opinion, Alabama attorney general Troy King said a primary election cannot be challenged until the party has a nominee. The recount can go forward, he said, but first- and second-place candidates Bradley Byrne and Robert Bentley will be the candidates listed on the ballot on July 13. Afterwards, James can challenge the results. If the recount comes out in James’ favor, it could require a second run-off, keeping Republicans campaigning against each other instead of against Ron Sparks, the Democratic Party nominee.
Ad nauseum: The 2010 Alabama primary campaign featured several ads that were mentioned in the national press. Some say the ads, notably Tim James “Language” ad and Dale Peterson’s “We are Better than That!!!!!” ad, were embarrassing for the state. But perhaps it’s good that, at the very least, we’re getting some positive attention for the creativity of the ads (if not their success—both James and Peterson lost). Now there’s another campaign spot attracting national attention. This one is from Republican Rick Barber, who is in a run-off against Martha Roby in Alabama’s second Congressional district. The ad depicts Barber telling Samuel Adams and George Washington a senseless story about the taxes (which were actually instituted by a democratically-elected representative government) business owners have to pay to a “tyrannical government.” You can find it on YouTube under the title “Gather Your Armies.”