By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead addressed the St. Clair County Republican Party gathered at their January meeting in Pell City to elect new officers.
Chairman Armistead thanked the St. Clair County Republican Party for donating money for the Battleground Patriots program during the 2012 election. Armistead said that they knew that Republican PresidentiaI candidate, Mitt Romney would carry Alabama, but the party decided to help in other states. The Alabama GOP sent two busloads of volunteers to campaign in Ohio and one busload to Florida. Armistead said that he had hoped to help swing the election. The Chairman said however, “A lot of people voted in Ohio that weren’t from Ohio.” The ALGOP Chairman blamed massive voter fraud for helping swing those state to President Obama.
Chairman Armistead said, “We have 30 Republican governors and we have to get them to get serious about voter ID and fighting fraud.” Alabama will require that every voter show a photo I.D. beginning in the 2014 election year.
Despite the disappointment in the Presidential election, Armistead said that the Republican Party, “Had a record year in Alabama.” The state elected 329 Republicans last year (the most ever). Colbert County elected a Republican County Commissioner for the first time since Reconstruction. Two Republican county commissioners were elected in Jackson county. Not a single Democrat was elected to a statewide office. Armistead said that the Party focused on Probate Judge and Circuit Clerk in this election, next time the focus will on electing Republican Sheriffs. The Sheriff in Tallapoosa County switched to the Republican Party this week raising the total to 25 Republican Sheriffs out of the 67 counties. Armistead said that a few more are going to switch soon. A Talladega County Commissioner switched yesterday.
Armistead said that the GOP did not want every politician in the state to become a Republican. “They need to show proof of some conservatism.” The Chairman said that when he became ALGOP Chairman that he insisted on having a process by which party switchers are screened. “We pushed some people aside last year.” Armistead said that 2014 will be a big year and predicted that the Republican Party should pick up some more seats in the state legislature. Armistead thanked state Representative Jim McClendon from Springville for making the districts more fair and ending the gerrymandering that the Democratic controlled legislature had done in the past.
Rep. McClendon estimated that the GOP could gain 5-10 additional Alabama House Seats in 2014 and could potentially add as many as three seats to their majority in the State Senate.
Chairman Armistead said, “Roger Bedford (Democratic Senator from Russellville) needs to go home. He doesn’t represent the values of the people of Alabama.” Armistead warned that Lowell Baron (former Democratic Senator from Fyffe) wants to come back.” The 70 year old former Senator was defeated in 2012 by Republican Senator Shadrack McGill.
Armistead said that on Friday night the Alabama Republicans are having a big event: the Winter Dinner at the Sheraton in Birmingham. Reince Preibus, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee will be speaking as well as Senator Ron Johnson (R) from Wisconsin. Armistead said of Johnson, “You will love him when you hear him.” Armistead said that Priebus has been criticized for the November defeat but “Reince’ job was to raise money,” the campaign was run by Romney. Priebus did his part and raised $328 million at RNC Chairman.
Armistead invited the gathered St. Clair County Republicans to the event and said that tickets were still available if you called the Republican state headquarters on Friday morning. For Capital Club members the tickets cost $100 each. For non-Capital Club members they cost $150 each.
The ALGOP Chairman said, “There is a big election on Saturday.” Armistead said that he was seeking reelection as Chairman of the party and asked that state executive committee members there, “Please give me every consideration.”
Bill Armistead is a former State Senator and is a former Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor. He defeated state Rep. Jay Love in 2011 to become ALGOP Chairman.