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Law of unintended consequences: McConnell’s meddling in Alabama Senate election may have cost Kentucky Toyota-Mazda

(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

 

Last week’s big announcement that Toyota Motor and Mazda Motor Companies would make north Alabama their choice for a $1.6 billion manufacturing facility that would create 4,000 jobs for the region was indeed a shot in the arm for the region’s economy.

Reportedly, Alabama’s primary competitor was North Carolina, which was at a disadvantage due to geography according to experts that watch economic development projects for that region.

However, another competitor vying for the plant was Kentucky, the site of another Toyota facility.

Almost immediately, members of the political commentariat in Alabama speculated one of the reasons for Alabama’s victory came because voters chose not to elect Roy Moore to the U.S. Senate last month.

“I don’t know whether anyone will answer the question, but I’d like to know whether Alabama would have won the Toyota-Mazda plant had Roy Moore won the #ALSen race last month,” tweeted AL(dot)com’s Kyle Whitmire, who is waging a “war on dumb.” “Word in the grapevine a month ago was no.”

That wasn’t just a theory brandished by left-wingers wanting an “I told you so” moment. Wednesday on his Birmingham Talk 99.5 radio show, the reliably conservative Leland Whaley said outright Moore’s defeat was a factor.

“The mistake we made was isolating that race and the whole country being fixated on us with that kind of candidacy,” Whaley explained. “And so, in no uncertain terms, and they didn’t say that out loud because they didn’t want to spook the field, they couldn’t tell anybody — I mean, they just all looked at their shoes when confronted with the possibility of him representing our state. But anybody that’s involved in that project will privately tell you that would have killed it. It was so marginal that anything takes this off the table and killed it.”

“And not only that – there were two other deals that suddenly were announced once we got past that election,” he added. “There was the Delta order for the Airbus planes – a hundred Airbus planes. A bunch of stuff started happening right about that time. I don’t think that’s coincidental. I think they were holding back because these corporations are very sensitive to image. They’re very politically correct. They don’t want to be associated with any of that nonsense. In that delicate world, which I don’t live in, but I’m connected to – I can see the rationale.”

There were all types of Monday morning quarterbacking that occurred on December 13, 2017, the day after Doug Jones’ election win. Many believe Moore was already at a disadvantage because of the war waged upon him by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund in his runoff race against Luther Strange.

Moore limped into last month’s election without much money and would later, as we all know, be plagued by sexual harassment allegations. Yet, he still only lost by 1.7 percent, roughly 21,000 votes.

Let’s suppose Moore had not had to face millions of dollars in attacks from the McConnell camp with everything being the same. Let’s also assume it was still Moore versus Strange in the GOP primary runoff. And let’s also say The Washington Post report about Leigh Corfman’s allegations was still published a month out of the December special election as it was.

Moore would have likely gone into Election Day without a fractured Alabama Republican Party. His contest against Doug Jones might not have been quite as prominent of a story, which might have meant lower turnout.

And without McConnell’s meddling, Roy Moore might have been elected U.S. Senator.

If indeed Alabama’s prospects were diminished with a Moore victory, the chances that Lexington, Ky. would have been the site of this week’s Toyota-Mazda announcement and not Montgomery, Ala. significantly increase.

Thanks for your help, Mitch McConnell. Every little bit counts.

Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.