By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, January 16, 2014 over 90 St. Clair County Republicans met in the Pell City Court House to kickoff their 2014 election campaign.
St. Clair County Republican Party Chairman Lance Bell said that candidate qualifying had opened on Monday and the deadline for qualifying for office now ends on February the 7th. Bell announced, “There are several candidates who have qualified already.”
Bell said that the membership starts in January so members who had not paid already need to pay soon to keep their privileges to vote in party meetings. Bell said that it is important that everybody pays their membership dues. Chairman Bell said, “We are going to start having meetings every month through the election cycle.”
Treasurer Jane Bishop reported that the St. Clair County Republican Party had $15,242 in cash on hand this is down from $21,159.31 in the previous report. The Republican scholarships have been paid and 2014 dues and campaign qualification fees are now streaming in.
St. Clair County Commission President Stan Bateman warned,
“If we are not careful in this county, party, and in this state, and even nationally, we will be the party of the ‘good ole boys’ which is what the Democrats were when we took them over. We have to get some people in their 30s and 40s and move them up into some of these jobs.”
Bateman said that he did qualify for another term as the Chairman of the St. Clair County Commission. Chairman Bateman is being challenged in the Republican Primary by County Commissioner Paul Manning.
Numerous Republican candidates addressed the group and appealed for support including: Bateman, Manning, Sheriff Terry Surles, Judge Robert Minor, state Senate candidate Representative Jim McClendon, coroner Dennis Russell, Revenue Commissioner Elizabeth Mealer, her challenger Pell City Councilwoman Dot Wood, St. Clair County Superintendent of Education Jenny Seals, her challenger Gail Countryman, County Commissioner Jeff Brown, St. Clair County School Board member Scott Suttle, St. Clair County School Board member Allison Gray, and Ashville Mayor Robert McKay who is challenging state Representative Mack Butler (R) from Rainbow City in House District 30.
Chairman Bell said that the next meeting would be on February 20 and it will probably be at the Ashville Court House (St. Clair County has two county seats and two court houses). Bell said that the location could change and that more details would be coming in future emails.
Alabama State Executive Committee member and longtime Republican activist Mike Fricker announced that the state meeting this year will be in February in Birmingham.
Fricker said, “I can remember when we had just one elected Republican in this county. There are very few of us left who were here when we started this thing.” Fricker praised the Republican county administration and said, “I have not heard anyone say anything bad about any of our elected officials in several years,”
Chairman Bell exhorted the party members to bring somebody with them to the next meeting to grow the party.
Lance said he has received calls from other party chairmen asking for volunteers after the primary season to help them target Democratic Party incumbents.