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Republican Party Disallows Several Candidates: Does Not Go Far Enough for Some Critics

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Republican Party announced in two releases that Ray Bryan, Kimberly Drake, Thomas Drake, Jim McFerrin, Ginger Poynter and Jamie Wilkins were all denied ballot access by the ALGOP Candidate Committee in meetings on Friday and Saturday.  The Candidate Committee remanded John McKelvey and George Carleton, Jr. to the Tallapoosa County Republican Party to make a decision concerning admittance on the Republican primary ballot.

The Republican Party Candidate Committee however rejected candidate challenges by Thomas Scovill from Madison against: Garreth Moore (State Senate district 31), Rep. Todd Greeson (Senate District 8), Tim Sprayberry (Senate district 13) and Corey Harbison (House District 12).

Moore accepted $150,000 from the Alabama Education Association (AEA).  Rep. Greeson, Sprayberry, and Harbison accepted $50,000, $30,000, and $15,000 from the AEA respectively.

Scovill wrote: “Members of the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee, As you know, the Alabama Education Association (AEA) is an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA).  As you know, the most recent standing rule adopted by the Alabama Republican Party, adopted on February 2, 2013, admonishes Republican candidates in Alabama to not accept campaign contributions from affiliates of the NEA such as the AEA. As you know, this standing rule requires the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee to regard such candidates negatively. As you know, four candidates seeking the nomination of the Republican Party for the state legislature have accepted money from the Alabama Education Association (AEA).”

Scovill continued, “As you know, there are no matters of extenuation of mitigation that could possibly excuse the defiant disloyalty of these would be candidates who have sought and accepted great aid and much comfort from the AEA, an organization which controls the Democrat party and wishes to diminish the political power of Republicans in Alabama.  Now the eyes of Alabama Republicans are upon the committee in anticipation that you will do as required by the standing rule you have so recently adopted.”

The ALGOP rule Scovill referenced states, “NEA Contributions: The Party shall not accept money, in-kind contributions, or anything of value, directly or indirectly, from (i) the National Education Association (NEA), (ii) the NEA’s affiliates or entity controlled by the NEA or (iii) any of the NEA’s state affiliates or their related organizations. Officeholders and candidates are strongly admonished to follow the same rule and, because the NEA is a veritable adjunct of the Democratic Party, failure to heed this admonition shall be regarded negatively by the Committee.”

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This rule was widely interpreted at the time of its passage to mean that candidates were encouraged not to take contributions from the powerful teacher’s group (AEA), not forbidden to take those contributions.  The rulings by the candidate’s committee affirmed that viewpoint.

In the other cases, ANY support of ANY non-Republican candidate is grounds for denial of ballot access.

Ginger Poynter supported Democrat Robert Vance over Republican candidate for Chief Justice, Roy Moore in 2012.  Public support of a non-Republican candidate is grounds for removal from the ballot.

State Senator Harri Anne Smith was previously removed for supporting Democrat Bobby Bright over Republican Congressional Candidate Jay Love in the 2008 election.  Smith was defeated in the 2008 Republican Primary by Love for the Second Congressional District seat in a closely contested battle.  Smith held on to our seat in the Alabama Senate by successfully running as an independent despite being then under indictment for corruption at the time.  Smith was eventually found not guilty after two trials.  Poynter said that she could not support Moore because of his previous refusal to comply with a court order from a federal judge.

The decision to allow Republican candidates on the ballot that accept AEA contributions opens the door for more candidates to take AEA money.  Some conservative activists are upset about the ruling and its implications.

Montgomery area talk radio host Mark Montiel wrote on Facebook,

“The AEA French Republicans have officially infiltrated the State Republican Party. The current leadership seems to think that AEA/democrat operatives are welcome…if they bring a check. Very disappointed in this today.”

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.



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