Jeff Co. GOP Chairman fears lottery vote could impact local races in November


JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman Sallie Bryant is urging GOP state lawmakers to vote against having a lottery initiative on the November ballot.

In a letter to members of the Republican Delegation, Bryant says a lottery would not have an immediate impact on the budget shortfall and argues it could have negative economic consequences for the state outweighing any positives.

Bryant also lays out potential political costs for Jefferson County Republicans if a lottery vote is held in November.

In an email to the Mid-Alabama Republican Club, she says postponing a vote on the lottery would be far better for the Republican Party, especially in Jefferson County.

“This would be disastrous for Republicans, as it would drive up Democrat turnout on a year when it is expected to be lower,” said Bryant.

Samford University Political Science Chair Fred Shepherd says she may have a point, but not necessarily.

“Locally, I guess the GOP has a concern because Jefferson County is kind of split. The rest of the state I don’t think it’s going to be a factor. This could go in any number of ways,” said Shepherd.

Shepherd tells CBS 42 News that one variable is the amount of moral outrage expressed by conservative voters against the Republican governor embroiled in a scandal.

“I think it might bring out the anti-Bentley troops, but from the conservative more than from the liberal. But it could bring both out. I could easily see a case where it would help some of the more conservative interests because you’ll get a very anti-lottery vote and you’ll also get a very strong anti-Bentley faction as well,” he continued.

Democratic Party chair for Jefferson County, Richard Mauk, is blasting his local Republican counterpart.

“I’m surprised by it because if you’re voting on something you need to have it when most people are voting and there’s already going to be an election. We’re already spending money on that election. Why have a special election that’s going to cost taxpayers $3 million plus out of the general fund that you’re trying to put money into,” said Mauk.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.