The aftermath of any election brings a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking with it. Campaigns are dissected from stem to stern and conjecture about why did this or that happen comes forth.
One of the more closely watched state senate campaigns was in Huntsville where Republicans Mary Scott Hunter and Sam Givhan were hoping to replace retiring senator Paul Sanford in District 7. Actually this was a rematch from 2009 when both ran in a special election for a vacancy in this seat.
That time Givhan was in a runoff with Sanford and lost. Hunter was third in the primary. She then ran for the state board of education in 2010 and was elected. To say the least, her two terms on this board have been fraught with controversy. Especially the role she played in the ill-fated hiring of Mike Sentance as state school superintendent in 2016. Hunter is now scheduled to go to trial later this year to defend herself in legal action brought by Craig Pouncey, Jefferson County school superintendent, regarding her conduct as a board member.
While Hunter is bright, it seemed she was always tripping over her ambitions. For eight years, almost ANY discussion of a political opening included her name. In 2014 she mentioned running for governor, then you heard her name kicked around when the 2018 race for attorney general was brought up. And in fact, in 2017 she held a kickoff for her campaign for Lt. Governor, only to reconsider a few weeks later when Twinkle Cavanaugh decided to seek the same office.
So, Givhan, already an announced state senate candidate at that time, suddenly had company.
Theirs was a hand-fought battle with polls showing them head to head until the waning days of the campaign when Givhan took her to task over Common Core. He ended up winning handily, 57 percent to 43 percent.
At the same time, two Republicans were vying for Hunter’s seat on the state school board. One, Wayne Reynolds is a one-time Athens City school superintendent. The other, Rich McAdams, once was on the Madison County school board.
Word was that McAdams was Hunter’s candidate of choice. This seems to be confirmed when you check his list of contributors. The Business Council of Alabama gave him $5,000. Because of their stance concerning charter schools, vouchers, A-F school report cards and the Alabama Accountability Act, money linked to BCA is a huge red flag for the education community.
(Editor’s note: I can speak with some authority on this topic as BCA relentlessly worked to make sure I did not get on the Montgomery County school board.)
McAdams also received $20,000 from Harold Brewer, CEO and co-founder of INTUITIVE, where Hunter is employed. (Brewer gave more than $175,000 to Hunter’s senate race.) In all, McAdams spent $57,000.
By comparison, Reynolds spent less that $4,000 to eke out a win by 2,156 votes.
The kiss of death for McAdams may well have been that on June 3, two days before the election, he posted Hunter’s response to Givhan’s attack ads on his Facebook page. In today’s world where it seems everyone is just a click away, this was probably one click too many for McAdams.