FAIRHOPE, Alabama – Former Auburn University head football coach Pat Dye had a saying on Saturday mornings in his pre-game interviews: “The hay is in the barn. Now it is time to play the game.”
That’s the case as Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) both made their closing arguments on Monday night shortly before one of the most nationally consequential elections in Alabama’s history.
Moore appeared before an estimated 600 people at a rally at Oak Hollow Farms in Baldwin County with some high-profile warm-up acts including former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, former White House strategist Steve Bannon and Duck Commander’s Phil Robertson.
Meanwhile, simultaneously 270 miles up the road in Birmingham, Strange appeared before an estimated 350 people at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport with Vice President Mike Pence.
Late polling suggests Moore is the favorite in Tuesday’s Republican special election GOP primary runoff. President Donald Trump’s appearance Friday night in Huntsville, AL on Strange’s behalf did little to close the gap for Strange, who has been running between five and ten points behind Moore.
Alabama State Sen. Trip Pittman, one of the featured guests at Moore’s Oak Hollow Farms event, told Breitbart News turnout will be the name of the game.
“It’s all about turnout,” Pittman said. “It’s all about the people in this state deciding who they want to represent them in the United States Senate. I think it is going to be a close election and I think it’s going to be about who has motivated their base to get out and vote for them and that will be who gets elected tomorrow.”
Even with the late flurry of activity, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill still expects a low-turnout. He told AL.com on Monday to expect roughly 12 to 15 percent.
Weather also likely won’t be a factor in Tuesday’s election, as precipitation chances are very low in Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham and Huntsville.
As polls close Tuesday night, the early tallies will come from absentee ballot counts and Alabama’s more rural areas. That might mean early in the vote count, Moore could jump to a lead in some precincts.
However, JMC Analytics John Couvillion told Breitbart News on Sunday absentee ballot voters tend to be more establishment and possibility go in Strange’s favor, which might provide a counterbalance in the very early going.
If Moore jumps out to a big lead early, Strange will have to hope for big nights in the Birmingham area counties of Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Blount. He will also have to hope he outperforms Moore in Madison County, home of Huntsville, the site of his appearance with Trump.
The winner of Tuesday’s election will face former Clinton U.S. Attorney Doug Jones in the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions on December 12.
Depending on tonight’s outcome, that election may receive national attention as well given the possibility of another low-turnout event that could be won with efforts excite the base and generate a strong turnout.
Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Alabama next week to appear on Jones’ behalf.
Even national Democrats will have watchful on tonight’s outcome as things begin to gear up for the December event.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor