By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, March 30, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R)’s top political advisor and alleged mistress, Rebekah Caldwell Mason announced that she was stepping down from her position. State Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) announced that he was drawing up articles of impeachment against the embattled Governor. Meanwhile efforts by Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) to get his trial for 23 counts of felony ethics violations thrown out on a legal technicality were dashed when Judge Walker rejected prosecutorial misconduct assertions by the Hubbard defense team against Matt Hart on Tuesday.
Republicans are presiding over all of this circus like atmosphere and many Alabama Democrats believe that this crisis in leadership presents them with an opportunity to return to power.
A powerful group of Democratic candidates and organizations penned a letter to voters on Wednesday. It reads: “In just six years since Republicans took control of the Senate, the House and the Governor’s office, Alabama has been in steady decline. We couldn’t care less what Governor Bentley does in his personal life (Mrs. Bentley has already made her decision), but we do care deeply if he has engaged in illegal activities. We ask that any inappropriate use of state resources, and most notably, any alleged interference with law enforcement be immediately investigated.”
The Democrats asserted, “Lt. Governor Kay Ivey has never demonstrated any readiness to lead the state as she has been unable to get consensus on a workable budget from the Senate for two years running. The Speaker of the House desperately clings to power after 18 months under a 23 count indictment with a trial that is continually put on hold. Our critical state agencies are in shambles, we have among the lowest economic growth of any state in the country; if ever there was a need for new leadership, the time is now.”
The group called for a federal investigation: “Alabama Republicans have personified the adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely. To insure a thorough, honest result we are asking for an independent investigation now, led by federal officials unconnected to state politics, into Governor Bentley’s activities.”
Finally, they concluded, “And we are asking you, the public, to consider Alabama Democratic candidates in 2016. Further, we pledge to work to recruit honest, hard working people with vision for 2018 – dedicated to improving Alabama and its economy for all the people. We have had enough of officeholders that are in it simply for power and financial reward. As Alabama Democrats, we are ready to move forward to improve our state.”
The letter was signed by: Sheila Gilbert, Chair, Alabama Democratic Reform Caucus and Chair of the Calhoun County Democrats; Bob Parker, Co-Chair, Forward Alabama and Chair of Over the Mountain Democrats; Cindi Branham, Vice Chair Forward Alabama and Madison County Dem Exec Committee; Linda Verin, P.R. Director, Forward Alabama and ADRC Board as well as JeffCo Cty Exec Committee; Herbert Kuntz, Chair, St. Clair County Democratics and ADRC Board; Cliff Andrews, ADRC Board, Forward Alabama Board, Calhoun County Dem Exec Committee; Tom Ryan, Chair, Madison County Democrats; Ann Green, Chair, Etowah County Democrats; Nick Rose, Chair, Tuscaloosa County Democrats; Karen Johnson, Chair, Cullman County Democrats; Bill Webb, Chair, Morgan County Democratics; Shirley Scott-Harris, Chair, Lee County Democratic Club; Kyle David Pierce, President, Cumberland Law Democrats; Kyle Campbell, President, U. of Alabama College Democrats; the Progressive Women of Northeast Alabama; Ron Crumpton, Democratic nominee, US Senate; David Putman, candidate, US Congress, District 6; Jesse Smith, candidate, US Congress, District 3; James Fields, and Democratic Candidate for Lt. Governor 2014, former State Representative, Cullman County.
The Alabama Young Democrats were not signatories to the letter; however Young Democrats President Beth Clayton told the Alabama Political Reporter, that the Young Democrats, “Are committed to recruiting candidates and training young professionals who will lead Alabama away from this systemic corruption in the years to come. We look forward to working with all fellow Democrats to grow our bench, decrease the factionalism in our Party, and rebuild the foothold Democrats once had in this state.”
The last Democratic candidates to win statewide races in Alabama were Lucy Baxley for Public Service Commission President and Sue Bell Cobb for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. That was the 2008 election which propelled Barack H. Obama into the Whitehouse.