Although Gov. Kay Ivey hasn’t won a gubernatorial election, she is playing this one like a seasoned pro.
If you haven’t heard (or care), Ivey is taking a lot of heat for not participating in the numerous Republican gubernatorial primary debates, which for some reason are all in Birmingham.
(That latest count is three in the last week-and-a-half for the Magic City, by the way.)
If you believe the polling that is being whispered around, Ivey is right on the 50 percent threshold that would push her over the top and avoid a runoff contest.
Would her appearance at a debate, which would feature an older lady on a stage taking fire from her three male competitors, better her position or diminish it?
My guess would be neither. In fact, it might hurt Ivey’s challengers. At least this way, they can take shots at her from afar.
What’s in it for her? Very little.
But what about democracy? What about all the people that are planning to tune away from “Empire” or “The Voice” tonight so they can watch a debate and make an educated choice for a primary election that is two-and-a-half months from now?
Ivey has been governor for a year. If you’re that involved in the process, you know her by now. The other three, Bill Hightower, Tommy Battle and Scott Dawson, are somewhat unproven commodities to the state. They are the ones that should be proving themselves as a contrast to the status quo.
Much of the angst you see from the pseudo-intellectuals at AL(dot)com (that now includes a Pulitzer Prize winner – congrats John Archibald) is born out of a desire to promote their own product. Of course, they want the incumbent governor at the sponsored-debate.
Why should Ivey be concerned with the outlet that hammered her during the 2017 U.S. Senate special election cycle for not disavowing Roy Moore? Perhaps they will run a front-page editorial reminding her how unacceptable they found it for her to support a Republican nominee selected by the voters, which by the way was also the choice of nearly half of all the voters in the state.
It’s a bit puzzling why Ivey’s competitors would agree to a debate that included AL(dot)com columnist John Archibald as a moderator, who is openly hostile to the conservative position on policy. We’ll wait and see how that turns out.
Strategically, avoiding debates is a smart move for Ivey. Isn’t that what you want to see from the person at the helm of the ship of state?