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Breaking the GOP House Supermajority, what will it take?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard said that he has raised $10 million through his various Political Action Committees for “incumbent protection.”

In 2010, with the help of then Gov. Bob Riley, Hubbard was a fundraising juggernaut. There is no reason to believe that Hubbard will not out raise his previous efforts.

Zac McCrary, Vice President at Anzalone Liszt Research (ALR), a Montgomery-based public opinion research firm whose best known client is Barack Obama, points out that “in most cases $250,000 would be a very high budget for a House race (in Alabama).”

The Alabama House of Representatives is comprised of 105 members. Currently, the GOP holds a supermajority, with 66 seats. The democrats have 38 members in their caucus, there is one independent who caucuses with the republicans.

“The goal would be to break the super majority, meaning they’d [the democrats]need to gain 5 seats in the House,” said McCrary. If the democrats pick-up at least 5 new districts they could break the 3/5th majority cloture vote that is used by the supermajority to cut off House debate. Thus insuring that republicans would have to negotiate more than dictate the terms of a given bill.

McCrary, believes that as many as 8-10 districts are “potentially vulnerable to a strong democrat.”
He also says that more House districts could be in play if a opposition candidate is well-funded in the primaries.

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McCrary, says that an anti-Hubbard faction would need to try to find “8 to 10 targets in the GOP primaries, then maybe another 6 to 8 in the general election, and hope they can pick off enough to take away the super majority.”

But he concedes that, “$10 million, would be a huge amount of money” to overcome, especially given the incumbents’ natural advantage and the fact that the candidate would be raising money also.

Hubbard doesn’t seemed concerned about democrats taking away the seats that make-up his supermajority, rather he is talking about “infiltrators” running as republicans in the GOP primaries.

He has expressed concerns that the Alabama Education Association is going to back republicans in the GOP primaries who will be friendly to the group’s education agenda.

Hubbard has sought to paint any candidate that takes campaign funds from the teacher’s association as a fake republican. But over the years many republican candidates received campaign contributions from the AEA, including Hubbard.

In April, Republicans in parts of Cullman, Blount, and Morgan Counties went to the polls selecting Randall Shedd as the Republican nominee for Alabama state representative over Hubbard-backed candidate Danny Alldredge in the Republican runoff for Alabama House District 11. Shedd who receive support from the AEA went on the win the seat in the May special election.

The teacher’s association also backed retired Blount County Probate Judge David Standridge in his republican victory in the special election for House District 34.

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Each of these men defeated Hubbard’s chosen candidate in the GOP primaries.

However, experts agree that special elections are much easier to win than a general. McCrary says that Hubbard has a huge advantage if he does have $10 million in the bank.

“If he has 10 (million dollars) now he should have 15-plus (million) by election season,” said McCary. “[It is] Hard to know if he is exaggerating or not, but that kind of money would be a different level of magnitude than state legislative races have seen previously.”

Filings for all PAC will be due at the end of June.

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The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.



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