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Efforts To Reform ALGOP State Executive Committee Selection Get Mixed Results

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

In most counties in Alabama, there is a County Republican Party.  It is the job of the County Republican Party to build interest in the Republican platform and support local and State Republican candidates against all foes: be they Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, or even a Conservative Third Party like the Constitution Party.  Members of the County Republican Party typically run candidates from among their members for the County and State Executive Committees.  If there is more than one candidate for a slot, then the race appears on the Countywide Republican ballot to be decided by Republican Primary voters.

Many longtime County Republicans were shocked in the 2014 Primaries, to see opponents qualifying for these positions.  In some cases, longtime members of the county executive committees were being challenged by people whom they claim were not active in the county Republican Party at all.  Alleged attempted takeovers of the Republican Party by outside groups was a very heated topic at the summer Alabama Republican Party Meeting on Saturday, June 21.

Adam Lowther a member of the ALGOP Executive Committee from Elmore County said, “We had a number of candidates that qualified for State Executive Committee that were not known to the Elmore County Executive Committee.”  Lowther said that we had an attempt to pack the executive committee with people that are not active Republicans.  “This went on all over the State.”

To combat this, Lowther, proposed both a change to the bylaws and a resolution which would limit Republican State Executive Committee candidates to: Active members of the County executive committee.

Active members of affiliated Republican groups like the Young Republicans, the Republican Women, or the Minority GOP.

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Persons that the County Chair certifies are active Republicans in good standing.

Jim Woody from the Lee County Republican Party said, “I strongly support this idea.”  “We had candidates running for office we had never heard of before.”

An Executive Committee member from Houston County said they had six candidates running for 4 executive committee positions that were recruited by interlopers.  They need to bring border security to the Executive Committee.

Becky Sloan from the Lowndes county GOP said that a young man who was not a resident of Lowndes County and was not a registered voter in Lowndes County, applied to run for the State Executive Committee, representing Lowndes County. There was one hearing. Then a second hearing, but the young man did not attend the second.  Despite this, two members of the Executive Committee still voted to allow the man to qualify to run to represent the Lowndes County GOP on the State Executive Committee.

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An angry Chairman Bill Armistead said “that young man was Baron Coleman and he is a professional liar who works for the AEA,” (Alabama Education Association).

In the spirit of full disclosure, Baron Coleman works on air for the s

Coleman said that is was Armistead who recruited him to run for the executive committee from Lowndes county. He has challenged truth of Armistead’s statement, in an email and in a story published at alreporter.com.

Former Republican National Committeewoman Betty Fine Collins said, “I have a problem with the process.”

A State Executive Committee member from Jefferson County, Jonathan Barbee said, “I definitely think something needs to be done. I was real active in the McCain/Palin campaign in 2008 but I never got involved in the Republican Party until 2010 when I ran for State Executive Committee.  I was not aware of the Jefferson County Executive Committee then but I was elected to the Jefferson County Executive Committee later.  I have donated thousands of dollars of video work to this party.  What you are telling me is that under these rules I could not have run for the State Executive Committee.  I understand that there are people who are trying to take over the party.  Run a real campaign against them with signs and campaigning.  This will allow the county executive committee to have too much control.”

Barbee introduced a motion to table the resolution but it was voted down on a voice vote.

The Resolution passed on a voice vote.

Then the measure came before the Alabama Republican Committee as a bylaw change.

A bylaw has much more force upon the County Executive Committees than does a resolution but to pass a bylaw change from the floor bypassing the ALGOP bylaws committee requires an 80 percent majority.

Elbert Peters from Huntsville told the Executive Committee: “I am going to vote for it.  We have been looking at this for two or three months.  The premise is not to exclude Republicans.  The bylaws committee can propose changes to the wording if we need to fix it.  If we are ever going to have anything similar to this we need to pass this right now.  If not this will linger.”

Collin Luke, the Legal Counsel for the Alabama Republican Party said, “This can not be passed retroactively.  It can not affect the process this year.”

Alabama Young Republican Chair Clayton Mark Turner said it is difficult for people who are trying to become involved in the party to be allowed to be involved.  He thanked the sponsors for inserting language allowing persons who are active in Republican affiliated groups to still be able to run for the State Executive Committee.  Turner said that people who run for the State Executive Committee should be active in Republican politics and not just disappear after the Chairmanship vote next February that they were recruited for.

Ultimately the bylaws change got 72 percent of the ballots cast…….not enough to pass under the 80 percent rule.

The measure will be forwarded to the Alabama Republican Party’s Bylaws committee, who could make a recommendation on this at the February ALGOP Winter Meeting.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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National

Today is Thanksgiving

Today is a national and state holiday. Schools, banks, government offices and many private businesses are closed.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Four hundred years ago, on Nov. 11, 1620, after 66 days at sea, a group of English settlers landed near what is today Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Onboard the Mayflower were 102 men, women, and children, including one baby born during the Atlantic crossing, who made up the Pilgrims.

The Mayflower, captained by Christopher Jones, had been bound for the mouth of the Hudson River. The ship took a northerly course to avoid pirates, but the decision to avoid the then widely traveled sea lanes to the New World took the ship into bad weather, which had blown the Mayflower miles off course and left the ship damaged. Off Cape Cod, the adult males in the group made the fateful decision to build an entire colony where none had existed prior. They wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact.

“In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together in a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.”

After a few weeks off Cape Cod, they sailed up the coast until they reached Plymouth. There they found a Wampanoag Indian village that had been abandoned due to some sort of plague. During the Winter of 1620-1621 they lived aboard the Mayflower and would row to shore each day to build houses. Finally, they had built enough houses to actually move to the colony, but the cold, damp conditions aboard the ship had been costly.

Some 28 men, 13 women (one of them in child birth), and 8 children died in that winter. Governor John Carver would die in April. His widow, Kathrine White Carver, would follow a few weeks later. There is some recent archaeological evidence suggesting that some of the dead were butchered and eaten by the survivors.

The Mayflower and her crew left for England on April 5, 1621, never to return.

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About 40 of the Pilgrims were religious Separatists, members of a Puritan sect that had split from the Church of England, in defiance of English law. In 1609, they immigrated to Holland to practice their religion but ran into problems there too. Others in the group had remained part of the Church of England but were sympathetic to their Separatist friends. They did not call themselves Pilgrims, that term was adopted at the bicentennial for the Mayflower voyage. The members of core Separatist sect referred to themselves as “Saints” and people not in their sect as “Strangers.”

In March 1621, an English speaking Native American, named Samoset, visited the Plymouth colony and asked for beer. He spent the night talking with the settlers and later introduced them to Squanto, who spoke even better English. Squanto introduced them to the chief of the Wampanoag, Massasoit.

Squanto moved in with the Pilgrims, serving as their advisor and translator. The friendly Wampanoag tribe taught the Pilgrims how to hunt and grow crops. The two groups began trading furs with each other.

William Bradford, a Separatist who helped draft the Mayflower Compact, became the longtime Plymouth Governor. He was also the writer of the first history of the Plymouth Colony and the Mayflower. Bradford’s more notable descendants include author, dictionary writer and scholar Noah Webster; TV chef Julia Child; and Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

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In the fall of 1621, 399 years ago, the Pilgrims invited their Wampanoag Indian friends to a feast celebrating their first harvest and a year in the New World with a three-day festival. This has become known as the first Thanksgiving.

Today is a national and state holiday. Schools, banks, government offices and many private businesses are closed.

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Health

Alabama hospitals nearing COVID-19 summer surge levels

Wednesday was the 18th straight day with more than 1,000 people in hospitals in Alabama with COVID-19. 

Eddie Burkhalter

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UAB Chief of Hospital Medicine Dr. Kierstin Kennedy.

Alabama hospitals reported caring for 1,483 people infected with COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest number of patients since Aug. 11, when the state was enduring its summer surge. Wednesday was also the 18th straight day with more than 1,000 people in hospitals in Alabama with COVID-19. 

The seven-day average of hospitalizations was 1,370 on Wednesday, the 36th straight day of that average rising. The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 2,453 new cases Wednesday. The 14-day average of new cases was — for the eighth day in a row — at a record high of 2,192. 

Across the country, more than 80,000 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 on Tuesday, a record high and the 15th straight day of record hospitalizations nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project, a coronavirus tracking website.

The CDC this week recommended people not travel for Thanksgiving to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

“The only way for us to successfully get through this pandemic is if we work together,” said Dr. Kierstin Kennedy, UAB’s chief of hospital medicine, in a message Tuesday. “There’s no one subset of the community that’s going to be able to carry the weight of this pandemic and so we all have to take part in wearing our masks, keeping our distance, making sure that we’re washing our hands.” 

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Kennedy said the best way she can describe the current situation is “Russian Roulette.” 

“Not only in the form of, maybe you get it and you don’t get sick or maybe you get it and you end up in the ICU,” Kennedy said, “but if you do end up sick, are you going to get to the hospital at a time when we’ve got capacity, and we’ve got enough people to take care of you? And that is a scary thought.” 

The Alabama Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported an increase of 60 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. Deaths take time to confirm and the date a death is reported does not necessarily reflect the date on which the individual died. At least 23 of those deaths occurred in November, and 30 occurred in other months. Seven were undated. Data for the last two to three weeks are incomplete.

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As of Wednesday, at least 3,532 Alabamians have died of COVID-19, according to the Department of Public Health. During November, at least 195 people have died in Alabama from COVID-19. But ADPH is sure to add more to the month’s tally in the weeks to come as data becomes more complete.

ADPH on Wednesday announced a change that nearly doubled the department’s estimate of people who have recovered from COVID-19, bringing that figure up to 161,946. That change also alters APR’s estimates of how many cases are considered active.

ADPH’s Infectious Disease and Outbreak team “updated some parameters” in the department’s Alabama NEDSS Base Surveillance System, which resulted in the increase, the department said.

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Corruption

Judge reduces former Alabama Speaker Mike Hubbard’s prison sentence

The trial court judge ordered his 48-month sentence reduced to 28 months.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard was booked into jail to begin serving his four-year sentence for ethics violations in September. (VIA LEE COUNTY DETENTION CENTER)

Lee County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Walker on Wednesday reduced former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s prison sentence from four years to just more than two. 

Walker in his order filed Wednesday noted that Hubbard was sentenced to fours years on Aug. 9, 2016, after being convicted of 12 felony ethics charges for misusing his office for personal gain, but that on Aug. 27, 2018, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals reversed convictions on one counts. The Alabama Supreme Court later struck down another five counts.

Hubbard’s attorneys on Sept. 18 filed a motion to revise his sentence, to which the state objected, according to court records, arguing that “Hubbard’s refusal to admit any guilt or express any remorse makes him wholly unfit to receive any leniency.”   

Walker in his order cited state code and wrote that the power of the courts to grant probation “is a matter of grace and lies entirely within the sound discretion of the trial court.” 

“Furthermore, the Court must consider the nature of the Defendant’s crimes. Acts of public corruption harm not just those directly involved, but harm society as a whole,” Walker wrote.

Walker ruled that because six of Hubbard’s original felony counts were later reversed, his sentence should be changed to reflect that, and ordered his 48-month sentence reduced to 28 months. 

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Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Wednesday said Walker’s decision to reduce Hubbard’s sentence was the wrong message to send.

“Mr. Hubbard was convicted of the intentional violation of Alabama’s ethics laws, the same laws he championed in the legislature only later to brazenly disregard for his personal enrichment,” Marshall said in a statement. “Even as he sits in state prison as a six-time felon, Mike Hubbard continues to deny any guilt or offer any remorse for his actions in violation of the law.  Reducing his original four-year sentence sends precisely the wrong message to would-be violators of Alabama’s ethics laws.”

Hubbard was booked into the Lee County Jail on Sept. 11, more than four years after his conviction. On Nov. 5 he was taken into custody by the Department of Corrections.

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News

Nick Saban tests positive for COVID-19, has “mild symptoms”

It’s unlikely Saban will be able to coach in person during Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Auburn.

Eddie Burkhalter

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University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban.

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Iron Bowl and has mild symptoms, according to a statement from the university on Wednesday. 

“This morning we received notification that Coach Saban tested positive for COVID-19,” said Dr. Jimmy Robinson and Jeff Allan, associate athletic director, in the statement. “He has very mild symptoms, so this test will not be categorized as a false positive. He will follow all appropriate guidelines and isolate at home.” 

Saban had previously tested positive before Alabama’s game against Georgia but was asymptomatic and subsequently tested negative three times, a sign that the positive test could have been a false positive. He returned to coach that game. 

It’s unlikely Saban will be able to coach in person during Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Auburn, given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for quarantining after testing positive and with symptoms. Neither Saban nor the university had spoken about that possibility as of Wednesday morning.

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