By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
In the not so distant past, many Republican voters in Alabama voted in the Alabama Democratic Party Primary, because that was where the action was. There were more contested races and Republican voters wanted to choose the least objectionable Democratic candidate, since the Democrat was probably going to win in November anyway.
In 2006, evidence of Republicans voting in the Democratic Party runoff in violation of Alabama Democratic Party rules likely cost then Democratic Attorney General Charlie Graddick the governorship, when a three-judge panel removed him from the ballot and replaced him with rival Lt. Governor Bill Baxley. The backlash by angry Graddick supporters likely led to the election of Cullman County Probate Judge Guy Hunt, the first Republican to win the governorship in over a hundred years.
The Republicans have lost only one gubernatorial election since then (to Lt. Gov. Don Seigelman in 1998. Now Alabama Republican Bill Armistead is warning that Democrats are trying to do the same thing that Republican voters were doing in the 1980s….and that is voting in the Republican Party Primary.
Chairman Armistead said, “It was four years ago that Alabamians turned out to vote to change the political landscape in the Alabama legislature. For the first time in 136 years, Alabamians made a bold statement by giving Republican legislative candidates an opportunity to lead. The historic accomplishments of our Republican legislators have improved the lives of all Alabamians. In order for Alabama to continue to move forward, Republicans must vote in next week’s primary. The higher the Republican turnout, the stronger our chances are of electing leaders who will faithfully represent their districts and our state. Democrats have made it clear they plan to vote in the Republican Primary and if Republicans do not turn out in record numbers the Democrats will have succeeded in infiltrating OUR primary and selecting OUR nominees.”
Chairman Armistead warned, “The once dominate Alabama Democratic Party no longer represents the people of Alabama. Their ideas of larger government and continuous support of President Obama have encouraged voters to find haven in the Republican Party. Despite their decline over the last four years, the Democrats are still attempting to stop Republicans from being elected. Through organizations like Empower Alabama, the Democrats are trying to influence the Republican Primary. Republicans must go to the polls in huge numbers to ensure we elect the leaders most capable of representing us. If you cannot get to the polls on June 3, make sure you send in an absentee ballot!”
Chairman Armistead said, “The 2014 Alabama Primary Election is just one week from today – June 3! The celebration of Memorial Day this week should serve as a striking reminder of how much was given by so many to ensure that Americans have freedoms that many countries do not have. One of those freedoms is the privilege of voting for our leaders. The future direction of our state will be greatly determined on June 3. Will you cast your vote on June 3, or via absentee ballot, or will you let others determine who our leaders are for the next four years? Some candidates will win the Republican nomination by .a very small margin. Some voters will be too busy to vote and upon learning of the election results on Wednesday, June 4 will wonder why they didn’t take voting more seriously.”
Republicans currently hold a supermajority in both Houses of the State legislature, both of Alabama’s U.S. Senate seats, six of Alabama’s seven Congressional seats, and all Statewide elected offices.
For many races, the June 3 Primary will decide who gets the office because either no Democrat is running for the position or the electorate in the district has become so Republican dominated that it is unlikely that a Democrat will gain enough traction to prevail.
Many Democrats worry about this strategy. Liberal critics worry that if historically Democratic aligned interests like unions and trial lawyers spend large sums of money in Republican Primaries, that means they have less to spend in the November General Election on Democratic candidacies.
Furthermore, encouraging voters who think of themselves as Democrats to vote in the Republican Primary may mean that they have less connection and name recognition for the Democratic candidates who run in November and voting for Republicans could become a habit.