By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday, September 8, the Republican State Leadership Committee’s (RSLC) Future Majority Project and “Right Women, Right Now” initiatives both announced their “14 in ’14 Races to Watch” during the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (RLCC) Northeast Regional Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.
Although the meeting focused on Republican opportunities to gain ground in the Northeast U.S. in the upcoming midterm elections, two Alabama races were included as targets for the national GOP group. The group is urging that Republicans get behind Darius Foster in the Alabama House District 56 race. The group also list 14 races for Republican women and included: Tijuanna Adetunji’s challenge of long time incumbent Alvin Holmes (D) in Alabama House District 78.
RSLC Board Member, Christine Toretti issued a written statement announcing the “Races to Watch.” Toretti said, “It is critical we ensure our Party reflects the full diversity of America and the RSLC’s Future Majority Project and ‘Right Women, Right Now’ initiative has been instrumental in guaranteeing that female and diverse Republican candidates are a part of the political conversation, both nationwide and at the state level. I applaud the candidates recognized today in these ‘Races to Watch’ and thank them for leading the way to help us grow the Republican Party in their respective states.”
Toretti announced that The Future Majority Project’s “14 in ’14 Races to Watch” are: Darius Foster – Alabama House 56, Anand Dubey – Alaska House 21, Rene Plasencia – Florida House 49, Bob Cortes – Florida House 30, Krishna Bansal – Illinois House 84, Tony Barton – Kansas House 41, Shamed Dogan – Missouri House 98, Victoria Seaman – Nevada Assembly 34, Herman Joubert – North Carolina Senate 22, Ervin Yen – Oklahoma Senate 40, Bryan Terry – Tennessee House 48, Sabi Kumar – Tennessee House 66, Rick Galindo – Texas House 117, and Chris Carmona – Texas House 148.
Toretti announced that the Right Women, Right Now “14 in ’14 Races to Watch” included: Tijuanna Adetunji – Alabama House 78, Michele Reagan – Arizona Secretary of State, Shawnna Bolick – Arizona House 28, Irene Littleton – Arizona Senate 8, Candice Benge – Colorado House 3, Terri Bryant – Illinois House 115, Erin Davis – Kansas House 15, Karyn Polito – Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor, Carol Ann Fausone – Michigan House 21, Jill Dickman – Nevada Assembly 31, Sharon Gamba – Rhode Island House 32, Patsy Hazlewood – Tennessee House 27, and Sophia DiCaro – Utah House 31, and Tracie Happel – Wisconsin Assembly 94.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said in a written statement following the announcement: “We are so very proud of Darius and Tijuanna for this special recognition by the RSLC. We have known for some time that both Darius and Tijuanna were very special people and the honor that has been bestowed upon them is well deserved. The Alabama Republican Party is excited that Darius and Tijuanna have been chosen as one of the 14 candidates in each group that are being recognized by the RSLC. Their recognition by the RSLC confirms that they are extremely well qualified to represent their constituents in the Alabama House. We look forward to working alongside of each of them to ensure their victories in November.”
Darius Foster is the Republican nominee for the District 56 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives. Darius Foster is a native Alabamian who was raised on the west side of Birmingham. He has a degree from Miles College, is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, is a former member of the Alabama GOP steering committee, and is a former member of the leadership team with the Birmingham Urban League Young Professionals.
Foster, who is African-American, said that people often have trouble hiding their shock when they find out he is also a Republican. Foster said, “I am very excited about the opportunity to earn the vote of the citizens of District 56. I am even more excited about offering voters something different. A new face with new ideas. I believe that the choice will be clear for voters in November.”
Foster said on his website, “It’s simply time for a new direction. Business as usual is no longer acceptable.”
Foster ran unopposed in the June Republican primary for the District 56 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives. Foster said that after redistricting, HD56 is arguably one of the most racially, economically, and generationally diverse districts in the State.
The majority minority district is currently represented by Representative Lawrence McAdory (D), but he was narrowly unseated in the low turnout Alabama Democratic Primary by challenger Louise Alexander from Bessemer.
In Alabama House District 78, Tijuanna Adetunji (R) from Montgomery is challenging the longest serving current member of the Alabama legislature. Clearly the incumbent, Alvin Holmes (D) from Montgomery, has the advantage in name recognition after his 40 years of service in the legislature, but during the last year Holmes has made a number of racially insensitive statements that have drawn widespread national criticism and condemnation.
Adetunji wrote, “As Alabamians we have come too far to turn back now to the years of racial divisiveness. Coretta Scott King said, “Segregation was wrong when it was forced by white people,” and that it is “still wrong when it is requested by black people.” I am not surprised that such request are still being made from the Alabama House floor like the one recently by Representative Alvin Holmes (D-78), that the U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas is an ‘Uncle Tom.’”
Adetunji said, “I believe the true Uncle Toms of our day are those that work hard to silence the voices of blacks that refuse to deny their values in the voting booth. These Uncle Toms go to great lengths to make government more appealing than God. They call evil good and good evil. They have cheapened the struggle of “Civil Rights” to include a person’s sexual preference. They have built strong alliances and strongholds as Democrats and any black person who wakes up from the nightmare of their tactics are attacked for doing so. When did being black mean subscribing to their views only?”
Adetunji continued, “Since announcing my candidacy there have been many blacks that wholeheartedly agree with me and say with exasperation, ‘It is time for a change.’ But there are others that also agree but are afraid of the ‘establishment.’ As a Republican for the Alabama House of Representatives District 78, I ask Alabama to wake up, stand up and take courage for the values that once made this country great. These values can be found in the Declaration of Independence, ‘that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…’ It is my duty to make sure that those rights are not forgotten or marred by fear tactics, name-calling and sabotage.”
Tijuanna Adetunji is a native Alabamian born in Birmingham and reared in Montgomery. Her husband Fred Adetunji, is the Director of Missions and Executive Pastor of Fresh Anointing House of Worship (FAHOW) in Montgomery. They have four children and one grandchild. Adetunji owns a business that provides insurance products. She is a proponent of entrepreneurial growth and development through the Small Business Resource Center, where she completed Entrepreneurial University.
Tijuanna is the volunteer Director of Life Outreach at FAHOW, is an inspirational speaker, passionate advocate for the unborn and the author of “Dear Daughter: How To Choose Your Way To A Better Life.” Adetunji is a founding member of the Montgomery County Minority GOP, a member of the Alabama Minority GOP and the Capital City Republican Women. She has a Bachelors degree from Liberty University and is near completing her Masters in Public Policy from Liberty University. Adetunji is a U.S. Army Veteran who served during the first Gulf War where she served with the 1207th Medical Unit. Like Foster, Adetunji is running as an African-American Republican in a majority minority district.
The Alabama Republican Party leads the entire nation in minority candidate recruitment, but at this point it is uncertain if African-American voters will embrace African-American Republican candidates like Foster.
In recent years, ALGOP has had tremendous success at breaking into counties that were long dominated by Democratic Party machines. The party controls both Houses of the State legislature, six of Alabama’s Seven Congressional Districts, and every Statewide elected office despite routinely losing the Alabama African-American vote by 85 to 90+ percent.
If the Alabama Republican Party can make inroads among a new generation of African-American voters, the ALGOP will cement its place as the dominant political party in the State of Alabama.<