By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Saturday, June 21, an estimated 400 Republican State Executive Committee members and Republican leaders met at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center near the Jefferson and Shelby County line off of U.S. Highway 280 for the Party’s annual summer meeting. Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead told participants that the Party was doing well and that he expected to continue hold every Statewide office this fall as well as maintain a supermajority in both Houses of the State Legislature.
Armistead said that two Democratic Senators chose not to run again (Keahey and Irons) and ALGOP hopes to take both of those seats. Armistead said that Dr. Larry Stutts is an excellent candidate and has a good chance to defeat Sen. Roger Bedford. Armistead said that the party is also targeting independent Senator Harri Anne Smith and the party has an excellent candidate in Melinda McClendon. Armistead said that he hopes to pick up four Senate seats and not lose any.
Armistead said that the GOP has decimated the Democrats in the legislature. Liberal groups understood they could not come back as Democrats so groups and organizations that normally don’t support the Republican Party spent $7 million in the Republican Party Primary. They had no success in State-wide races or the Senate, but five House members were defeated including: Bill Roberts, Charles Newton, Richard Baughn, and Kurt Wallace. Speaker Mike Hubbard has reached out to those people (the successful primary challengers) and hopes to be able to work with them. Chairman Armistead said that he is working closely with Speaker Hubbard and Senate President Marsh to protect Republican incumbents and grow the Republican Supermajority.
Chairman Armistead said that the GOP is focusing on ballot security. The Party has sent poll workers out to areas where the Republican Party suspects that elections could be dishonest and they offered a $1000 reward to persons who witnessed election fraud. Armistead said those efforts have yielded some interesting results. The Party’s attorneys have met with some of those informants and there are some things that are going on behind the scenes with the Attorney General’s office.
You know you have a problem when there are still voters who go to vote and poll workers tell them that this is a Democratic precinct and they only have Democrat ballots here.
Armistead said the ALGOP was in good financial condition. We have approximately $one million in the bank right now we can spend on this election and fundraising efforts are underway from now until November. 800 people attended the Summer Dinner last night to hear Governor Mike Pence (R) from Indiana and the Alabama Republican Party grossed over $200,000.
ALGOP finance chairman Jerry Lathan said, “Fundraising has been very robust over the last three years.” The party has a $million in cash on hand. The Party is in a healthy position and we are doing well. The party has recruited over 50 new Capital Club members and for the first time the Party has its own building and we owe nothing on the building, where in the past the party had to pay to lease space.
Lathan said that the Winter and Summer dinners have become a good source of income for the GOP. We had $100,000 profit from the last two meetings.
Chairman Armistead said that the party has established a financial oversight committee to make sure that the party takes care of the money entrusted to it.
Don Wallace gave the report for the new financial oversight committee.
Republican National Committee Chairman Paul Reynolds said that when Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) lost the 2012 Presidential election he felt utter despair. Every one of us in this room remembers where we were than night. Reynolds warned that there is the possibility of having another painful memory if we don’t take back the U.S. Senate in the November elections.
Reynolds warned that money is coming in from Harry Reid and other people nationwide into Senate races in Louisiana and Arkansas. Southern Republicans need to get involved in these races to help the GOP take back the U.S. Senate.
Cole Lawson with the Alabama College Republicans Federation said that he and the college Republicans look forward to working with everybody from Chairman Armistead on down to grow the College Republicans presence on college campuses in Alabama.
Chairman Armistead said that a pass the hat effort for the College Republicans following Lawson’s report generated $1268 for the CRs.
The next meeting of the Alabama Republican Party will be the Winter Meeting, at which time ALGOP will elect new officers. Some executive committee members the Alabama Political Reporter talked to expressed hope that Chairman Bill Armistead would run for a third term as Chairman. Others were hesitant to endorse the Chairman at this time.