By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Since the demise of the Whig Party the Alabama Democratic Party has dominated politics in rural Alabama. Alabama Democrats controlled the Court Houses and the Sheriffs’ offices even when those counties were voting for Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, and two Bushes. That legacy appears to be fading into history. Alabama Republicans took both houses of the Alabama State Legislature for the first time since the 1870s and rural majority White rural counties joined with their long Republican voting suburban brethren in rejecting Alabama Democrats in 2010. On Thursday District Attorney Chris McCool joined the growing ranks of conservative Democrats who are becoming conservative Republicans.
DA McCool said in a written statement, “Aligning myself with the Alabama Republican Party is something I’ve been considering for a long time. I have always been a conservative, and for many years tried to survive as a ‘conservative Democrat,’ but it has become increasingly obvious that there is no more room for me and my principles in the Democrat party. And it is clear to me that the GOP vision for this state and country is essential for the future of our nation.” Chris McCool serves as district attorney for Fayette, Lamar and Pickens counties.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said in a written statement, “President Barack Obama and Alabama Democrat Party Chairman Mark Kennedy have taken the Democrat Party so far to the left that few Alabamians can identify themselves as Democrats any longer. Chris McCool is a fiscal and social conservative and it is hard for elected officials with a conservative philosophy to remain in the Democrat Party.
Chairman Armistead said, “District Attorney Chris McCool comes from a strong family who puts God first in their lives as is evidenced by the fact that Chris and his brother, Tim, currently pastor churches themselves. I am so pleased to welcome Chris into the Republican Party and I know that we will be seeing much more of Chris in the years to come. He is truly a public servant.”
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said, “Chris McCool represents everything that is good and honorable about public service. I am delighted to welcome him into the Republican Party.” Gov. Bentley has been long time friends with the McCool family and joined many Republican dignitaries and McCool family friends at the announcement, which was made at the Gordo City Hall.
DA McCool said the continuing liberal philosophical direction of the Democrat Party on both the state and national levels convinced him that changing parties was the only way to remain true to the conservative values that have guided him in both his life and his career.
McCool was appointed district attorney in 2001 by Gov. Don Seigelman (D). McCool was reelected in 2004 and 2010 as a Democrat without any opposition. McCool is the past president of the Alabama District Attorney’s Association and currently serves on the Supreme Court’s Standing Committee on the Rules of Evidence, and on the Alabama Sentencing Commission. McCool is also the pastor of Zion Primitive Baptist Church near Gordo, Alabama and resides on his family’s farm. McCool is a 1990 graduate of the University of Alabama and a 1993 graduate of the University Of Alabama School Of Law. He is married to Sherri McCool and they have four children, Meredith, Austin, Ashleigh, and Mason.
Chairman Armistead said, “More than 50 conservative Democrats have now switched from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party since I became Chairman and I am delighted that Chris McCool is the latest to realign himself with the Republican Party.” Armistead said that the Republican Party would welcome other conservative Democrats in the state to join the Republican Party.