By Beth Clayton
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY–The River Region Republicans met yesterday to discuss the special election to fill the House district 74 seat and the need for real Conservative leadership in Alabama.
Heather Sellers, the Vice President of the Montgomery County School Board, attended the meeting and circulated a letter saying that she was considering a run for the soon-to-be vacant House seat.
Dimitri Polizos, a Montgomery County Commissioner who also intends to run in the special election, was also present for the meeting.
Charlotte Meadows, a former Montgomery County school board member, has also declared candidacy for the seat, however she was not present for the River Region Republicans meeting.
Polizos, Sellers and the group, lead by former State Senator John Rice, discussed how the current school board and county commission district lines relate to the lines of District 74. The Secretary of State’s office announced last Thursday that the current district lines would be used for the special election.
Representative Joe Hubbard (D-Montgomery), who has been very open about his intent to run for this seat, recently bought a house within the new lines to become eligible to run for the seat in 2014. Hubbard’s new residence falls into District 74 under the new lines but is not included in the current district. Under state law, he would have to live in the district for at least a year to be eligible.
Hubbard disagrees that he is ineligible under the redistricting law. “I bought a house in the neighborhood I grew up in because I wanted to raise my kids here,” Hubbard said. “I even told Jay [Love] not to take the neighborhood because I planned to move here eventually…By the time they hold the election to fill Jay’s seat, the new lines will be in effect,” he said.
“I see nothing that could happen between February of 2014 and November of 2014 that could make me less qualified as candidate for that district,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard has still not declared whether he intends to run for the District 74 seat in the special election.
After discussing the district lines, the conversation turned to the potential results of the election.
“So there’s absolutely no way a Democrat can win this seat?” Rice asked. “Not if I run,” Sellers answered.
“Here’s why Joe Hubbard has a chance,” said one group member, explaining that the old District 74 was 15 percent Black while the new District 74 is 25 percent black. “To me, the key is, does a Democrat get in the race? If you’ve got any Democratic friends, make sure they run next year for the election and they’ll pull his votes off and they’ll get the Black voters,” he said. “If not, he has a chance, with 25 percent and a bunch of white folks, to win. So don’t write him off.”
Sellers added that Hubbard told her that he was running as an Independent. “He said John Anzalone has polling data with him running five percent ahead as an Independent,” Sellers said. The polling data did not include candidate to candidate polling, only generic candidates.
Polizos said that he had also had conversations with Hubbard about the race. He said that Hubbard called Monday night to ask him to keep the race clean. “I’m one of these eye-for-an-eye types,” Polizos said, indicating that he would keep the race clean as long as Hubbard and the Democrats did so as well.
The Governor has not set a date for the primary and general elections for this race. Love will resign August 1 to continue his work on education policy.