So…. Who comes next?
Without prejudging the fall-out from the sex-related allegations against Senate candidate Roy Moore, it still is obvious that a chance exists he may withdraw from the race. While state law seems clear that it’s too late to replace Moore on the ballot, some highly informed sources say precedent exists to do just that. Of course, there also is the possibility of a write-in campaign — although if the person being urged to mount a write-in effort is current Senate fill-in Luther Strange, that is one of the worst ideas in the history of ideas. Voters rejected Strange overwhelmingly already, and he is a long way from rehabilitating his image.
All sorts of possibilities suggest themselves for a short-notice GOP replacement. Most of them are current officeholders. I think that’s a bad idea, under the circumstances. If a current officeholder were somehow to win, that would in turn open up his or her seat and start yet another mad rush to fill that one. Alabamans should be sick of elections, though, especially expensive special elections in a time of tight state budgets.
Plus, almost every current officeholder comes with detractors or even outright enemies within the party. To mount a replacement effort or a complicated write-in effort, a party must do so with a unifying candidate, not a controversial one, if it is to have any chance of victory.
So here’s my suggestion as the best possible choice in this politically dire situation: Republican state chair Terry Lathan.
Lathan and her husband Jerry of course are well known, longtime Republican activists and party builders. As state chair, Terry Lathan has shown an ability to keep people unified, to bridge the existing divides within the party, to work as an honest broker for all sides and factions.
Lathan is a principled conservative; she is whip-smart; she is vivacious. She is an excellent public speaker, energetic, and organizationally competent to the Nth degree. She already knows a lot of the big-time players in Washington, but is clearly an Alabaman first and always, not a tool of DC insiders. In many ways she could “hit the ground running” in the Senate, without business or current legislative affairs elsewhere to untangle.
She would represent Alabama with honor. And, while “identity politics” ordinarily should not be a consideration, it is just reality that it would help the GOP right now to have a woman running, if indeed Moore steps down due to charges related to mistreatment of women (or girls).
I’ve known the Lathans for nearly 20 years. They are good people. And Terry Lathan has the right stuff to be a star.
Lathan for Senate: You heard it here first.
Yellowhammer Contributing Editor Quin Hillyer, of Mobile, also is a Contributing Editor for National Review Online, and is the author of Mad Jones, Heretic, a satirical literary novel published in the fall of 2017.