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Republican Presidential Campaigns Spar in Mountain Brook

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter 

The Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina Republican Presidential primaries and caucuses are over and now the campaigns are beginning to gear up for states farther down the schedule.  Florida votes today (January 31) and the Alabama Presidential Primary is just six weeks away on March 13.  Already the four Republican presidential campaigns are mobilizing their forces within the state of Alabama in a battle for the hearts and minds of Alabama’s Republican Primary voters.

All four campaigns sent their representatives to the Red Mountain Republican Club meeting Monday at Salvatore’s Pizza and Pasta in Mountain Brook, AL.  The debate was moderated by Alabama State Representative Paul DeMarco of Homewood.

Alabama State Senator Jabo Waggoner, who is the Chairman of the Alabama Newt 2012 campaign, spoke on behalf of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s campaign.  Chairman Waggoner said, “the ultimate goal is to defeat Obama in November.” Chairman Waggoner said he has been friends with Speaker Gingrich for 28 years and was honored to be Speaker Gingrich’s Alabama campaign Chairman. Waggoner said that he had personal reasons for supporting Speaker Gingrich; but that he was also supporting him “because he is a real intellect,” is “the brightest person in the campaign,” and is “the best debater.”  Chairman Waggoner said that Gingrich “does not always win [every debate] but is always competitive and knowledgeable.”   Chairman Waggoner said that he believes the media is trying to prevent Gingrich from getting the nomination because, “as Sara Palin said, I think the main stream media knows that Obama would not clobber Newt Gingrich in a debate.”  Waggoner said, “At the end of the day you are going to know that he (Gingrich) is the true conservative in the race.”  Chairman Waggoner said that the campaign was going well and that they were trying to get Gingrich campaign chairmen in all 67 Alabama Counties.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign was represented by Ms. Caryn Gleason.  Ms. Gleason said that Rep. Ron Paul was the best choice for the Republican Party because he had the greatest appeal with younger voters and independent voters.  Ms. Gleason said that there is a lot of misunderstanding about Rep. Paul’s campaign.  She said that Rep. Paul is “not an isolationist,” but instead believes in a “less interventionist foreign policy.”  Ms. Gleason said that Rep. Paul voted to send American troops to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, but opposed invading Iraq.  Ms. Gleason said that a less interventionist foreign policy is favored by younger voters and that most Republican voters favored Rep. Paul’s domestic policies.  Ms. Gleason said that Rep. Paul wants to eliminate five federal government departments, cut federal spending, and get control of our nation’s debt which is growing much faster than is the nation’s gross domestic product.

Former Alabama Republican Party Chairman Marty Connors represented former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s Alabama Republican Presidential Primary campaign.  Chairman Connors said that we need a president that has actually gone out in the real world and made money and not somebody who has simply studied economic theory.  Chairman Connors said. “I would like a guy (as President) who intuitively gets it (economics)” and who has “private sector experience.”  Chairman Connors said that the federal government needs to be managed like Gov. Romney managed Bain Capital. Chairman Connors also said that he wanted a President with predictability.  We did not need somebody as President who pursues a new idea every day; but rather we needed somebody like former President Ronald Reagan who focused his presidency on two things: defeating communism and making government smaller.  Chairman Connors said that the third most important thing to look for in a Presidential Candidate is electability.  Connors said that the Republican Party needs a candidate who can win more than just Alabama.  The only question President Obama had in Alabama was whether he lost with 37% of the vote or with 39% of the vote.  Chairman Connors said that the party needed a presidential candidate who could win over voters in the swing states that could go toward either party.  Chairman Connors said that Gov. Romney has won more debates than Newt Gingrich has thus far in the campaign.  Chairman Connors said that the Mitt Romney campaign has already set up a large and extensive leadership team in place in Alabama.  Chairman Marty Connors said that both he and the Romney campaign “are in it to win it” in the Republican Primary and beyond. 

Jackie Curtiss spoke for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s campaign.  Ms. Curtiss said that Sen. Santorum “is a family guy”, is authentically pro-life and is the best candidate in the field for pro-life issues, and if elected Sen. Santorum will reinstate President Bill Clinton’s ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy for gays in the military.  Ms. Curtiss said that Sen. Santorum also had the best record on national security and of supporting the U.S. Military.   

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In other business, several Republican candidates for office addressed the group and asked the Republicans for their support:

Al Mickle is running, in a crowded field, to represent Alabama’s Sixth District in the United States Congress.  

Judge Suzanne Childers is seeking reelection to Jefferson County’s Domestic Relations Court.  Judge Childers is running unopposed in the primary but faces a Democratic Party opponent in the general election.

David Faulkner is running for Jefferson County Circuit Judge Place 6.  Faulkner has opposition both in the Republican Primary and in the November general election.

Pat Thetford is running for Jefferson County Place 13.  Thetford is opposed in the Republican Primary and in the November general election on November 6th.


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Written By

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.