By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—If the political chattering class is to be believed the 2013 Legislative Session began immediately after Bill Armistead was re-elected Chairman of the ALGOP.
Honest political observers rightly saw Saturday’s defeat of Matt Fridy as a rejection of Mike Hubbard and his cronies. A top-ranking political operative said, “After Saturday, if you want to win a GOP race in Alabama convince the party faithful the opposing candidate is a Hubbard man.”
It would be hard to say that this will be a continuing reality but anyone with a grain of political insight saw the race for chairman as a battle between, Bill Armistead and Mike Hubbard. Armistead standing for conservative principles and Hubbard representing the more liberal corporatist.
Like him, love him or hate him, for 45 years Chairman Bill Armistead has stood for conservative values. During the campaign, Armistead tirelessly traveled the state to remind people of what it means to be a republican in action and not just in name. This is certainly not to take anything away from Matt Fridy who should have a bright future in the GOP but it is a reminder of the suspicion long-serving conservatives have for Hubbard.
Along with the Armistead win, the shadow of a Special Grand Jury hangs over the head of the republican Senate and House leadership. It remains to be seen just how weakened Hubbard and Marsh have become and who might challenge them on their agenda. But no doubt the thumping last Saturday will have an impact.
Hubbard, obviously is up for a fight with his old nemesis the AEA. Hubbard and company decided to challenge the AEA on the first working day of the session. Last session Henry Mabry beat Hubbard and Marsh like rented mules, when it came to issues concerning the teacher’s union.
Expect Mabry to come in like Vlad the Impaler this go round. Mabry, raised by a general who was an aid to General George S. Patton during WWII, has been marshaling his forces for war. However, Hubbard is a planner himself and, while diminished, is still a pugnacious character who should not be underestimated.
It will also be interesting to watch the AEA battles with Hubbard as well as the RSA. One thing to notice is that Billy and Leura Canary are standing in the shadows in each fight. Billy Canary, who has a brotherly relationship with Hubbard, has long expressed his loathing of the AEA, while his wife is employed by the embattled RSA.
Other things to watch are the fundraising operations during the session especially donations to the House and Senate Funds. Also, Hubbard’s new Storm PAC has reported its biggest donations from payday lenders and big tobacco, so, it will be interesting to see what favors are handed out to those groups. Who knows? Could it turn out like Don Henley said, “Somebody’s to emergency, somebody’s going to jail”?
The legislature is back in town so lock up your liquor and your women, and get ready for the Thump in the Gump.