By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY— Last week, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard made an uncharacteristic video to announce his reelection bid for 2014.
In a short, seventeen second video posted on Instagram and distributed on facebook, Hubbard said,
“Alabama is getting stronger and I am proud of our State’s progress. But, there’s more work to be done. I am Mike Hubbard, Alabama’s Speaker of the House, and I am running for reelection because I believe that by working together, Alabama’s future is brighter than ever.”
In under fifty words, Hubbard announces his reelection bid, but does not specify, “election to what?”
It also may strike some as unusual that Hubbard would announce his reelection while his website reports he is not taking campaign contributions.
According to his official website, mikehubbard.com, “Speaker Mike Hubbard is not accepting donations at this time. We appreciate your continued support and look forward to connecting with you throughout the year. Check back soon for ways to be involved and contribute to the efforts of Speaker Hubbard.”
Several prominent attorneys who spoke on background said that this could mean that Hubbard is receiving legal advice not to commingle present and future funds with possible tainted funds in other PACs.
The attorneys see this as a defense strategy should any of Hubbard’s PACs come under investigation or seizure.
No one can say for certain how this is being viewed by law-enforcement, but for many in the legal community the closing of such an influential PAC has sent up an undeniable red flag.
Also in his reelection video, the usually dapper Speaker appears wearing an unbuttoned pale-blue oxford shirt without a tie. Hubbard stands to the side of a small framed poster of his vanity-publication, Storming the State House, speaking in his usual announcer’s voice.
Hubbard’s attire in this video is a strange departure from his trademark suit, tie, French cuffs and expensive cuff-links. Also absent is the usual marquee setting of a big event or elaborate visual.
This is abnormal for a man who has made “stagecraft” an integral part of his “statecraft.”
Hubbard is a showman from his well-practiced “radio-voice” to the slick graphics that surround even the smallest facebook post, Hubbard is a master at packaging a message.
So…why the simple, down-home video?>
Hubbard, told Drew Taylor of the Opelika-Auburn News <“I just wanted to do it because it is cutting edge, utilizing technology and no Alabama candidate has ever done it before, so I thought I might as well do it.”
Hubbard goes further telling the Opelika-Auburn News, “ I just want to be a part of the leadership team that continues to move Alabama forward.”
Here we have not only a more casual Hubbard, but a humble one as well, a man who “just wants to be part of the team.”
This is a far cry from the self-styled architect of the Republican takeover of the Alabama Statehouse.
This doesn’t sound like the man who, when he travels, even the shortest distances, must have an armed entourage.
This doesn’t sound like the man who has five flatscreen televisions in his office with one playing a continuous loop of him pictured with famous men.
This doesn’t sound like the man who disparages law-enforcement, threatens House members and pens self-aggrandizing memoirs.
Perhaps the final question asked Hubbard by reporter Drew Taylor will provide some clues as to the new Hubbard.
When Taylor asked Hubbard about his engaging famed white-collar crime attorney J. Mark White to investigate “potentially libelous statements against him,” Hubbard said he had been advised not to address the progress of that situation: “I’m going to let those guys handle all that stuff…I’m concentrating on being the Speaker of the House…That’s what they’ve told me to do and that’s what I’m doing.”
As of this report Hubbard’s reelection video had 154 likes and 17 comments on Facebook.
It is also appearing as a paid advertisement on the facebook side bar.
Hubbard has almost 4,000 Facebook followers, but follows less than 60 individuals.