| The Associated Press picks up on what could be a surprisingly lively Senate race in Alabama next year, profiling the potential candidacies of three Democrats: state Sen. Vivian Figures, retired Jefferson County District Judge Pete Johnson, and state Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks.
Of all the potential candidates, though, it's Ron Sparks who seems like the most fearless campaigner:
Sparks, who's serving his second term as agriculture commissioner and can't run again, said he's received lots of encouragement to seek the office and is giving it serious thought.
Sparks said a review of Sessions' voting record indicates there would be plenty for a Democrat to talk about, including Sessions' push for a repeal of the estate tax.
"Only 1 percent of Americans would have benefited; 99 percent would not have," Sparks said.
In one breath, Sparks makes it clear why he's a Democrat, and lets it be known that while on the campaign trail, he won't be tempering his core Democratic principles of economic fairness and progressive populism. That's what a Democrat looks like, and that's the kind of scrappy, tough campaign that will be needed if Democrats hope to reconnect with Southern voters. Recall that Sessions attempted to exploit the deaths of Katrina victims in order to build support for repealing the estate tax, so a Democrat could be well-poised to expose Sessions' perverse values.
If Ron Sparks decides to run, the article also notes that he has a leg up on the competition:
As agriculture commissioner, he has been in the news more than some of his predecessors, including promoting agricultural trade with Cuba and showing he can cross party lines to work with Republicans on pushing alternative fuels and improving child nutrition.
Sparks said he will decide in a few months whether to enter the race. But if he does, he's not concerned about ending up like [2002 candidate Susan] Parker did with fundraising.
"From six years ago, the atmosphere has changed completely," he said.
Indeed, the atmosphere has changed dramatically in six years. Six years ago, there was no collaborative Sack Sessions blog, or a Facebook group with over 200 members dedicated to unseating the Senator. And while Dick Cheney recently stopped by the state to help fill Sessions' coffers with an extra $500,000, I bet there wouldn't have been this many negative letters to the editor had Cheney visited in 2002.
Race Tracker: AL-Sen