By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter
AUBURN – Speaker of the Alabama House Mike Hubbard has said that he has formally complained to law enforcement officials about phone calls being made in what he perceives as an attempt to hurt his reelection campaign, which faces a major hurdle June 3, when Hubbard faces GOP challenger Sandy Toomer.
Hubbard says that the calls, which have been reported by people both inside and outside of the Speaker’s actual House district boundaries, come from foreign telephone numbers that cannot be traced. Instead of an actual person asking poll questions, a recording plays of the audio from Hubbard’s first television advertisement.
When dispatched in great numbers, and aimed particularly at calling the same potential voters several times, campaign calls such as the one in question here would be an effective way to have the electorate become annoyed with a candidate – if such a practice were actually legal.
While campaign calls targeting potential voters with a droning of an opponent’s ad may be effective, those behind the practice are required to disclose who they are within the phone call, something which Hubbard, R-Auburn, said is not happening here.
The Speaker’s campaign has told media outlets that the complaint was filed with the US Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the Lee County District Attorney’s Office, all of which would have jurisdiction over such a case were the allegations deemed legitimate.
Speaker Hubbard has been implicated in the public corruption investigation currently taking place at the behest of the Lee County Special Grand Jury empaneled over the matter. His name has appeared both in the plea deal of convicted former Representative Greg Wren, R-Montgomery, and in the indictment of Representative Barry Moore, R-Enterprise.
Hubbard, though, has blamed any suspicion of wrongdoing as having come from his political opponents. Speaking to the Opelika-Auburn News, Hubbard said:
“When you’re in my position and you’re viewed as the leader of the reforms, you take a lot of bullets from a lot of folks. … They want me out of play because they fear I may run for governor in 2018. That comes into play. There have even been some that are jealous in the Republican Party that they aren’t the ones who led the takeover. You make a lot of enemies when you take this job, unfortunately. It’s political. I’m under political attack … by people who are desperate and will try to do anything to get me defeated, or hurt me and my family. Overall, it’s to try to get us in position where we don’t have the power in Montgomery to continue to do reforms.”
Speaker Hubbard will face Sandy Toomer in the Republican primary scheduled for June 3. The winner of that race will face Democrat Shirley Scott Harris in the general election in November.
According to paperwork filed by the AGO in Rep. Moore’s criminal case, the Lee County Special Grand Jury is set to meet this week.