By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday, July 1, there are five Republicans already running to fill the seat vacated by disgraced former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, but no Lee County Democrat has come forward to run for the seat. If Democrats are ever going to break the Republican Party’s iron grip on power in Alabama, they are going to have to first find competent people who are willing to come out of the shadows and admit they are Democrats by running as Democrats.
On Friday, Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley said that a Democrat could win the seat. Worley said, “Mike Hubbard certainly drew the lines (of the district) to accommodate himself, but after the mess he’s made of not following through with the promises he ran on and the Republican Party made, I think Democrats should stand a good chance.”
Chairwoman Worley said. “Everything that was touted by the Republicans in terms of ending corruption and running on all these family values and whatever have not come to pass. I would think the people in Lee County would be looking for someone to bring honesty and integrity to House District 79, and I think they should give careful consideration to a Democrat.”
Worley said that the qualifying fee is half the usual legislative fee because the winner will only serve half a term and will have to stand for re-election in 2018.
All qualifying papers and the $558.26 fee are due by 5 p.m. July 14 at the Democratic Party office in Montgomery.
Republicans: Sandy Toomer, Brett Smith, Hal Walker, Jay Conner, and Joe Lovvorn have already qualified and ALGOP qualifying is still open.
Hubbard was automatically removed from his position as Alabama House Speaker when he was convicted of 12 counts of felony ethics violations on June 10.
Gov. Robert Bentley called the special election to fill the legislative vacancy. The Republican Primary (and if necessary a Democratic Primary) will be held on September 13. If necessary, the party runoff will be held on November 29. If not necessary the special general election will be held on that day. If both a runoff and a general election are necessary the general election will be held on February 7.
In 2010, the Alabama Republican Party led by then Republican Party Chairman Rep. Mike Hubbard wiped out 135 years of Democratic Party state domination in a landslide election that appeared to permanently alter the balance of power in the state. The GOP gained powerful super majorities in both houses of the legislature in 2010 and added to those super majorities in the 2014 elections. No Alabama Democrat has won any statewide race since 2008 and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) carried the state easily in the 2012 election; but the Hubbard scandals, the charges against Chief Justice Roy Moore (R), and the many investigations swirling around Gov. Bentley (R) have given Alabama Democrats new optimism. However if Democrats are ever going to break the Republican Party’s iron grip on power in Alabama, they are going to have to first find competent people who are willing to come out of the shadows and admit they are Democrats by running as Democrats.
(Original reporting by the Opelika Auburn News contributed to this report)