By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, January 15, the St. Clair County Republican Party met in Pell City to elect their officers and bonus delegates to the Alabama Republican Executive Committee.
Chairman Lance Bell was re-elected as Chairman. The prominent Pell City attorney was elected to his second term as Chairman. Bell is a criminal defense attorney, whose clients include Speaker of the Alabama House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). Bell was nominated by former St. Clair County Republican Party Chairman Freddie Turrentine.
Marie Manning was re-elected as Vice-Chairman of the St. Clair County Republican Party. Manning is a member of the St. Clair County School Board and a retired Superintendent of the St. Clair County School System.
Deborah Howard was re-elected as Secretary of the St. Clair Republican Party. Howard heads the St. Clair County Board of Registrars.
Jane Bishop was re-elected as Treasurer of the St. Clair County Republican Party. Bishop has served the St. Clair Republican Party for numerous terms as Treasurer.
Former St. Clair County Republican Party Chairman suggested creating a new position of assistance Treasurer to help Bishop with the growing paperwork associated with the job. That discussion was tabled to the next meeting.
There were no other candidates nominated for the four positions and all were elected unanimously by the St. Clair County Executive Committee.
Joseph Fuller addressed the St. Clair County Republican Party. Fuller is running for the Chairman of the Third Congressional District previously held by Bob Fincher. Fincher was elected as a State Representative thus is giving up the seat on the Alabama Republican Party State Steering Committee representing Alabama’s Third Congressional District which includes St. Clair County.
Fuller is an attorney who specializes in real estate closings he is also the municipal judge of Jackson’s Gap. He was the Chairman of the Alabama College Republicans in 1996 and 1997 thus has prior experience on the State Steering Committee. Fuller has worked for US Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama).
Fuller said, “Y’all did not need as much help from us,” versus other counties in the district where Democrats actually still hold some elected offices. Fuller said that as Chairman of the District, “I will not tell you what to do you will tell me what to do.” Fuller told the members the St. Clair County GOP to telephone him anytime something comes up before the steering committee that concerns them.
Fuller said that the Third Congressional District’s delegation of Alabama Republican Executive Committee Members will meet in Roanoke on January 29, to vote on who will be the Chairman of the District. There will also likely be a meeting of the Third Congressional District state Executive Committee Members on the morning before the party’s February Winter Meeting.
Chairman Bell announced that the Alabama Republican Party had awarded St. Clair County bonus members to the state executive committee. The Republican Primary Voters elected Grace Bush, former St. Clair GOP Secretary Sara Manning Brazzalotto, and former St. Clair County Republican Party Chairman Paul Thibado to the State executive committee in June. Bell said that the St. Clair County Republican Party was receiving another five members.
The St. Clair County Republican Party Steering Committee had nominated: Marie Manning, Mike Fricker, Deborah Howard, Judge Bill Weathington (R), and Jane Bishop to fill the bonus members spots.
Judge Bill Weathington and Marie Manning both withdrew their names from consideration. Marge Fricker and Ren Wheeler were then nominated from the floor to fill those two vacant spots. Mike Fricker, Deborah Howard, Jane Bishop, Marge Fricker, and Ren Wheeler were all elected unanimously to the Alabama Republican Committee without opposition. Chairman Lance Bell by virtue of his election as Chairman also gets a vote on the Alabama State Executive Committee.
The full Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee will elect new officers for the party at the coming Winter Meeting in February.
Both of the announced candidates for the Chairmanship of the Alabama Republican Party addressed the members of the St. Clair Republican Party at their regularly scheduled meeting in Pell City.
Former Mobile County Republican Chair Terry Lathan said that she has been active in Republican politics for the last 35 years doing everything from standing out in the rain holding signs for candidates she knew would lose to helping presidential candidates campaign in other states. “I love the party.” The Party is looking for a messenger. The Party will be in good hands either way.
Lathan said, “We have the message. We saw that in November, nationally.” The danger is if Republicans become complacent, then we will be mistaken. Right now we are on the top of the mountain in this State, but is hard to stay there.
State Representative Mary Sue McClurkin (R-Indian Springs) also is seeking is to be the next ALGOP Chairman.
Rep. McClurkin said that she started her involvement with Republican politics in college and that she had been active in both the Shelby County Republican Party and the Alabama Republican Party where she became the Vice Chairman in Charge of Woman Affairs. Rep. McClurkin said that she has been on the Alabama Republican State executive committee for a very long time. McClurkin also brings a lot of experience as a State Representative to the job, both as a member of the minority and then later as a powerful chair for the majority.
McClurkin said that she wants to maintain the conservative principles in the party. “Those are dying off because many don’t see the need for conservative principles.” McClurkin emphasized her opposition to abortion and that she supports government by the people.
Representative McClurkin said that we will have a presidential election coming up. “We need to have a strong candidate that will win the presidential election.” McClurkin said that the Alabama Republican Party needs to be an open and transparent party. “Those of us who donate money to the party we want to know how it is being spent.”
Current Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead has announced that he is not seeking another term.
Mike Fricker who is the longtime Chairman of the St. Clair Republican Party Bass Tournament said that the party is considering moving the event to a new location date and told members to expect more details in a future email. Fricker said that the event has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships for St. Clair County children over the years.