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Alabama GOP House super majority grows by five

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama.

Alabama Republicans won five more seats in the Alabama House of Representatives, building on a supermajority that was already filibuster-proof. Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R – Monrovia) said that shows that the people of Alabama have strong support for the reform minded agenda that Alabama House Republicans have pursued since taking control of the Alabama House in 2010.

“With their vote on Tuesday, the citizens of Alabama signaled their strong support for the conservative, reform-minded agenda that Republicans have pursued since gaining control of the Legislature, and we are thankful for their continuing confidence,” Speaker McCutcheon said. “Much progress has been made over the course of the past eight years, but Alabama still has endemic problems that must be addressed.”

McCutcheon seemed to signal in his statement that this legislature is likely to raise taxes, particularly fuel taxes.

“Our infrastructure is in decay, and our roads and bridges must be given much-needed attention,” McCutcheon continued. “Our public schools are in need of further improvement, and we must invest in security measures that ensure children who are sent to school in the morning return home safely in the afternoon. And our ethics laws must continue to ensure that elected officials who violate the public’s trust feel the firm hand of justice and the sting of substantial punishment. Our mission is clear and well-defined, and it’s now our job to accomplish it.”

“The men and women who offer themselves for public service make great sacrifices,” McCutcheon said. “Time away from jobs and family, frequent and long hours of travel to and from Montgomery, and the often unpleasant criticism that comes with life in the public spotlight are just a few examples. I thank everyone who stepped forward and displayed the courage to place their names on the ballot, and I look forward to serving with those who won their hard-fought House races.”

McCutcheon said, “Serving as Speaker of the Alabama House has been the greatest professional honor of my life, and I hope to continue in that role as we move our state toward even greater heights.”

House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R – Rainsville) added, “At the beginning of the general election cycle, I coined a slogan that guided us during our efforts to keep and build upon our House Republican majority – ‘Win’em all in the Fall.’ I’m proud to say we accomplished that goal, and the House will remain in conservative Republican hands for the next four years.”

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“Under the leadership of Speaker McCutcheon and working with a team of proven political professionals, we engaged in perhaps the most aggressive, transparent, and well-funded legislative campaign effort in Alabama history,” Ledbetter continued. “The success of that effort is evident.”

“During the 136 years that Democrats controlled the Legislature, Alabama lagged behind the rest of the nation in every important metric,” Ledbetter wrote. “Since 2010, the Republican Legislature has put our state on the path to greatness, and with a unified and determined GOP majority, Alabama will continue on that historic and game-changing journey.”

Before the 2010 election Democrats had held control of the Alabama House of Representatives for 136 years dating back to Reconstruction following the War Between the States. Led by then Republican Party Chairman and House Minority Leader Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) and profound disagreement with then President Barack H. Obama (D) the Republican minority won 21 seats in the Alabama House to gain a filibuster proof super majority. That number grew in 2011 with Democratic defections. In 2014 Republicans gained six more seats building their majority from 66 to 37 to 72 to 33. On Tuesday the GOP won five more seats, some of them seats that had not been in Republican hands since Reconstruction. This grew the GOP majority to 77 to 28.

All 77 of the incoming Republican House members are White. 27 of the 28 Democrats are Black and represent majority minority districts. There were only five White Democrats left in the House at the start of this year. Marcel Black, Patricia Todd, and Richard Lindsey retired. Craig Ford switched to an independent and ran for the state Senate ultimately losing to Andrew Jones (R). Johnny Mack Morrow ran for the Senate ultimately losing to incumbent Dr. Larry Stutts (R). Only Elaine Beech ran for re-election to her House seat. She was narrowly defeated Tuesday by Brett Easterbrook (R). The last White Democrat in the Alabama House of Representatives will be Neil Rafferty from Birmingham who won Todd’s seat. Rafferty is also the first openly gay man to serve in the Alabama House of Representatives.

The Alabama Democratic Party had targeted a number of suburban incumbents follow a strategy of targeting women and young people in suburban communities including: Hoover, Pelham, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, Montevallo, Leeds, McCalla, and Fairhope as well as targeting historically Democratic areas like the Shoals area. All of their efforts failed. The only seats the Democrats held on to in 2018 were the majority minority districts, which the Republicans did not seriously target in this election.

This election was particularly important for Republicans because it will be the legislature that redistricts the state following the 2020 census.

A number of House Republicans retired from the Alabama House this year. All of those seats were retained by the GOP. Every incumbent Republican in the House who sought reelection was successful in that effort.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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