Ben Carson journeyed here last week to the buckle of the Bible Belt, where he proclaimed America a “Judeo-Christian nation” and delivered a stern warning to his devoted followers: Show up at the polls on March 1 or face consequences.
On Saturday, Donald Trump again swooped into Alabama, where he has cultivated friendships with immigration hardliners, to rally fans in Birmingham. Sen. Marco Rubio has his eyes on the state, too, recently becoming one of only two candidates (Carson is the other) to submit a full slate of 76 delegates for its primary.
Then there’s Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, whose volunteers have been buzzing around Alabama gathering names of grass-roots opponents to the Common Core education standards. At next weekend’s Alabama-Auburn football game, Cruz’s campaign bus will be parked with free stickers and literature. “The Iron Bowl is a big, big moment in Alabama, and Cruz people will be everywhere,” said Ann Eubank, Cruz’s state co-chair.
Alabama has become an unusual magnet for Republican presidential candidates because it is one of 11 mostly southern states holding a primary or caucus on March 1 — the delegate bonanza known as Super Tuesday.