By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The 2014 elections are over and the Presidential primaries are still over a year away, but Alabama politics never takes a holiday. The ALGOP Chair race is already well underway. Current Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead has announced that he will not seek another term.
Already, two candidates have come forward publicly seeking the position: Mobile County Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan and former State Representative Mary Sue McClurkin from Indian Springs.
Over the holidays, McClurkin emailed the members of the Alabama Republican Executive Committee will select the new ALGOP officers in February at the Republican Party’s Winter Meeting in Montgomery.
Former State Representative McClurkin wrote, “After much thought and prayerful consideration, I am excited to announce I will seek the chairmanship of the Alabama Republican Party at the Winter Meeting of the Executive Committee in February.”
Rep. McClurkin wrote, “I believe that chairing the ALGOP will allow me to continue promoting the conservative beliefs and values that have guided my life and that all of us share as committed and devout Republicans…During the coming weeks, I will share the specific goals and agenda items that will serve as the basis for my candidacy, but, in the meantime, allow me to share my qualifications for the post.“
McClurkin continued, “I have been active within the Republican Party for decades and have held several leadership positions, including seats on the Shelby County and ALGOP executive committees, and serving as Vice Chair of Women’s Affairs on the state party level…On the political front, I co-chaired the successful Alabama presidential primary campaign of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2008 and also co-chaired the Tim James for Governor effort in 2010. In addition, I have worked on dozens of other Republican campaigns on the grassroots level.”
Representative McClurkin wrote, “My friends and neighbors in Shelby and Jefferson counties also allowed me the honor of serving them in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1998 until my retirement earlier this year. As someone who believes deeply in the pro-life cause, I was responsible for the Legislature’s passage of the Women’s Right to Know Act and the Women’s Health and Safety Act, both of which discouraged abortions from taking place in Alabama.”
McClurkin touted her experience as chair of the powerful House Education Policy Committee during her last term in office where she, “Worked to repair the damage that decades of dominance by the teachers’ union had caused in our public schools.” McClurkin also emphasized her experience as a small businesswoman, owning Alabama Butane Co., Inc. from 1985 to 2001, and the currently operator of a property and land management company.
Rep. McClurkin said that, “When taken together, I believe that these life experiences and the skill set they helped developed make me uniquely qualified to lead our Party at such a critical time in history.”
McClurkin concluded that, “If the Republic that our founding fathers created is going to survive, we MUST elect a conservative Republican president in 2016 and begin to roll back the Socialist agenda that Barack Obama and his liberal allies have implemented. Under my leadership, Alabama will do its part to ensure that the rest of our nation shifts back to the right and re-embraces the ideals of the Reagan Revolution.”
Rep. McClurkin asked the members if the Alabama Republican Executive Committee to, “Refrain from committing to any other candidates who may also decide to seek the chairmanship,” until she gets a chance to discuss her candidacy with them personally.
The Alabama Republican Party has seen incredible electoral dominance in the last five years under Chairmen Bill Armistead and Mike Hubbard. In the elections of 2010, 2012, and 2014 every Republican statewide candidate has emerged victorious over their Democratic opponent. The legislative elections of 2010 and 2014 legislative elections have given the Republican Party unchallenged supremacy in both Houses of the Alabama Legislature. The GOP has held both of Alabama’s U.S. Senate seats since 1996 and six of the seven Congressional seats since 2010. Despite the chain of successes there has been reports of friction between the past two Chairs and the Alabama Republican Steering Committee.
Under the rules of the Alabama Republican Party, most counties in the State have some sort of County Republican Party that meets most months. Dues paying members of the County Republican Party can run to be members of their State and County Republican Executive Committees. The County’s Republican Primary voters (in the non-presidential year) vote on who will represent them on the County and State Republican Executive Committees. Most counties also automatically include their Republican elected officials as members of the County Executive Committee. The County Republican Executive Committee members elect a County Chairman, who is automatically a member of the State Executive Committee. In many cases the County Executive Committee also elects some state executive committee members, either bonus members or when a vacancy arises. The over 500 members of the Alabama Republican Party State Executive Committee meet twice a year at the Winter and Summer meetings in Montgomery and Birmingham to set priorities and rules for the Alabama Republican Party. They also elect officers for the party. These officers serve on the 22 member Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee that meets quarterly. The day to day business of the party is handled by the Alabama Republican Party Chairman.