(Editorial Note: the Alabama Republican Party is faced with a choice this weekend between keeping ALGOP Chairman Bill Armistead or replacing him with Matt Fridy and we are posting letters from supporters of each candidate.)
By Ray F. Robbins II
Dear Fellow SEC Members:
I began working for Republican candidates when only 17 years old and a freshman in college. That year I met Bill Armistead who had started the College Republicans at Samford University. With Bill’s leadership I began working in a phone bank. I have known Bill Armistead since those days in the mid 1960’s. Bill’s energy and dedication to working to get Republican candidates elected even then in the 1960’s impressed me and influenced me to try to do more to help Republican candidates.
I have seen Bill work in the trenches of the party for other candidates and as a candidate himself. Bill has had a strong compassion to help all Republicans defeat Democrats. In 2010 I ran for the State Senate. While I worked hard and many hours every day during that campaign, I was often challenged by Bill Armistead. Many times I would get an email from Bill well after Midnight working on my campaign writing script for my direct mail, radio and TV ads and just giving me guidance on how to run my campaign. I honestly began to wonder if he ever slept. I know that my campaign was not the only campaign he was working in to elect Republicans in Alabama. Bill helped in so many ways that I hesitate to try to list what all he did. To me as a candidate, Bill’s help and insight was invaluable.
In these past elections of 2012, I ran into Bill all over the state helping Republican candidates. Having been an elected State Senator and served in Governor Hunt’s Cabinet, Bill gained insight into how government functions and how to help other candidates win elections. Bill has continued to offer himself along with his expertise to so many candidates and to the Alabama Grand Ole Party.
I felt compelled to write this letter because having known Bill for so many years and seeing what and how he has contributed to the Alabama Republican Party and the State of Alabama, I am disappointed in those in our Party that continue to tell untruths and make misrepresentations about Bill Armistead. Those same individuals continue to talk about division within our Party. What is so interesting is that it seems to me that the only talk about division is from those that want there to be division. I do not appreciate those that create the illusion of division and then try to use that for their own benefit. There is no division within the rank and file members of the State Executive Committee. The only division is an illusion trying to be created by those who want to control the party for their own personal gain or benefit. Bill represents all of the members of the SEC and not a few elected officials who want to control the party.
I personally believe that the time has come in Alabama, since we appear to again be a one party state, that the State Executive Committee should be the check and balance to elected Republican officials. Having elected officials in control of our party through their hand-picket candidate is much like allowing the fox to watch the hen house.
I trust that most of you have known Bill for years and know him to be an effective leader, hard worker and a man of unquestionable integrity. Bill Armistead is the man the ALGOP needs.
Ray F. Robbins,II