By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—After the GOP landslide in 2010, party switching became a spectator sport for Alabama politicos.
With the redistricting of state legislative lines, party switching is back on the list of things to watch.
Recently, a rumor was circulated via a website ran by GOP operatives that said that Democrat Senator Jerry Fielding was looking to switch to the GOP. This rumor was not been confirmed by Senator Fielding but raised some interesting question among longtime GOP faithfuls. It was not about Fielding per se but about what standards, if any, there were for such crossovers.
The main theme of the question kept coming around to the notion, is any white male that says they want to switch parties from democrat to republican welcome?
Rather than looking to the state party for a better understanding we thought it more interesting to see what was the thinking of a GOP county chairman.
Danny Hubbard is the Chairman of the Talladega County GOP offered us some of his insight from a grassroots perspective.
“There should be a process it should not be carte blanche,” said Hubbard.
Hubbard says he believes there have to be standard by which a party-switcher would be welcomed to the GOP but also cautions, “We are an open party and I realize there is a real fine line between accepting and not accepting people who crossover.”
But Hubbard says that an individual who has held public office should be accountable for their voting record, “when you have staunch liberal voting record then I would say that individual is not a conservative at heart. I would have a problem with that person switching parties.”
Hubbard like many doesn’t buy into the idea that middle-aged men suddenly wake up one morning and change a lifetime of ideology.
Yet, at the beginning of this last political season some 50 plus individuals changed parties.
Political change of heart or gaming the voters to win?
More than one GOP member has said that the only thing you absolutely must have to win a political race in Alabama is an R by your name.
This is the very kind of thing that worries and frustrates Hubbard who said, “All that does is water down the party brand.”
Hubbard says while state representatives and senators are qualified by the state party but he believes it is important for them to, “get input from the counties that are affected by potential crossovers.”
“I have to say that Chairman Bill Armistead and his people have done a really good job of asking for advice from the grassroots members. That pleases me greatly,” said Hubbard.
Hubbard did not wish to comment on Senator Fields future or the rumors that are circulating.