By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—A flurry of charges and counter-charges were set-off due to an email from Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead, saying that Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard is providing campaign cash and other campaign resources to Chris Sells, who is the Republican candidate for House District 90.
Armistead’s allegation was quickly denied by Sells, who insisted that Hubbard was only supplying fundraising opportunities.
Armistead’s revelation and the subsequent denial by Sells has led his opponent, Walton Hickman, to suspect that Hubbard is providing campaign cash and other campaign resources to Sells. This may help explain what motivated Sells, who qualified to run as a Democrat on February 7, to switch party affiliation and run as a Republican in June.
Walton Hickman, Sells’ opponent, says that Sells’ public statements and his official campaign filings raise serious questions about who is paying for Sells’ campaign and whether Sells has violated campaign reporting laws.
In an interview with Brandon Mosley published on Wednesday, Sells identifies his campaign manager by name, but then states, unequivocally, that he “is not paying her.”
“All voters, Republican, Democrat or Independent, should be concerned with a man being able to change his party affiliation so quickly. What would make him do such a thing?” Hickman asked. “Clearly, the offer of financing and campaign resources is a very probable answer to that question….If Mike Hubbard is making all the decisions now, as the Republican Chairman indicates, then Hubbard will make the decisions for Sells if we send him to the legislature. We don’t need that,” Hickman said.
Sells’ campaign disclosures do not show any payment to his campaign manager nor do they show any in-kind contributions to pay for these professional services. Failure to show such contributions could be a violation of the State campaign disclosure laws.
“So, who is paying for Chris Sells’ campaign manager and why didn’t Sells report the contributions on his disclosure?”
“Chris Sells seems to think he can say or do anything to get elected and that no one will care, or that we’re not smart enough to see through what he is doing. Our district needs a strong independent representative in the legislature and that’s why I’m running.”
Hickman raises serious questions about Sells’ trust worthiness, as a party switch and a possible pawn of Hubbard, who is under criminal investigation by the State’s Attorney General’s Office.