After finally wresting control in 2010 from a Democratic machine that had ruled the state for 136 years, the state Republican Party seems determined to give control back.
Former State Sen. Tom Butler, a Madison Democrat who lost his seat to Republican Bill Holtzclaw in the 2010 rout, went the way of many conservative Democrats when he announced he would switch parties and run for a seat on the Madison County Commission.
Despite his winning an endorsement visit from former Gov. Bob Riley, the Republican candidate committee voted 6-0 to keep Butler out of the March 13 primary. In a split decision, the Madison County Republican Party executive committee upheld the decision.
“Tom Butler is a likable gentleman and a good, moral man,” GOP Executive Committee member Hugh McInnish said before the Dec. 19 meeting. “But he’s a Democrat and a liberal, and he does not fit the Republican Party.”
If Alabama’s political spectrum has shifted so far to the right that Butler can be considered a liberal, then the conservative end of the Republican Party must be busy polishing jack boots and stitching armbands.