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Alabama voters may elect controversial Jim Bonner because they think he’s someone else

Winning elections requires a strategy, and few strategies garner results like having a famous name.

Jim Bonner, a controversial candidate for Alabama Public Service Commission, Place 1, is showing promise as he leads his 6-year incumbent competitor among some Alabama voters, particularly those who used to be represented in Congress by Jo Bonner of Mobile.

Recent data published by Cygnal, a Montgomery-based polling firm, indicates that Jim Bonner leads current commissioner Jeremy Oden 28 percent to 6 percent in the Mobile area.

“What makes this particular race so interesting is that Jim Bonner is benefiting greatly from having the same last name as the former Congressman Jo Bonner and his well-known sister former Judy Bonner,” Cygnal’s president, Brent Buchanan, said in a press release.

Jim Bonner has no apparent relation to Jo Bonner, but that doesn’t matter much.

“It appears from the data that this PSC race is within the margin of error strictly because of name confusion,” Buchanan said. “Jim Bonner is competitive across the state despite the fact that he has spent no money on advertising or building his name ID. Given what is expected to be a low turnout election, Jim Bonner would be favored to win this race if it were held today.”

In his own media market of Huntsville, Oden leads Bonner 25 percent to 9 percent, reinforcing the evidence that Bonner’s name “recognition” down on the coast is helping him in the polls.

What also makes this particular race so interesting, perhaps more so than the wonky polling data, is Jim Bonner himself.

On Monday, Alabama Political Reporter published this story including some of Bonner’s Facebook posts, wherein he makes a joke about the Holocaust and some unsavory comments about, presumably, an unnamed woman.

In response to the Reporter story, Bonner apparently deleted the posts and took to Facebook, writing, “Looks like my facebook posts have made some liberals mad.. NEWSFLASH : All my facebook posts are intended to make liberals mad !”

The highly-questionable posts add another layer of meaning to the conclusion that Alabama probably doesn’t know what it’s getting if it elects Jim Bonner.

Cygnal conducted its survey of 623 likely Republican primary voters between May 14 – 16, 2018.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News