The Political Round-Up
By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
Although some Republicans were underwhelmed, state GOP chairman Bill Armistead proclaimed his 2012 "White House to the Court House" campaign to elect Republicans a resounding success.
"I have talked a lot in recent months about our plans to win from the Court House to the White House, and although we did not win the White House nationally we did do very well locally winning many Court House races," said Armistead.
The 2012 election pitted 213 contested races were a Republican ran against a Democrat at the local county level in Alabama.
"I am pleased to report that in targeted counties, Republicans flipped over 53 percent of Democrat held offices at the county level for a net gain of 45 offices," he continued. "Twenty-seven separate counties saw a net gain of elected Republicans. These counties are spread out across the state showing that Alabama Republicans are on the move and are not just a regionalized party like our Democrat adversaries."
Republicans were elected for the first time in over a century in five counties: Colbert, Franklin, Jackson, Marengo and Washington. Also, Republicans won county wide elections is Franklin, Jackson, Tallapoosa and Washington Counties for the first time ever.
In ten counties, a Republican Probate Judge or Circuit Clerk replaced a Democrat: Chambers, Cherokee, Clarke, Cullman, Henry, Limestone, Marion, Morgan, Tallapoosa and Washington Counties.
In six counties, Republican-appointed Probate Judges, Circuit Clerks or Circuit Judges that were vulnerable to Democrat candidates in traditional Democrat counties held on and won election for the first time in Clarke, Clay, Etowah, Franklin, Lawrence and Pike Counties, noted Armistead.
"Today 48 percent of Alabamians reside in counties with a Republican Probate Judge and 59 percent of Alabamians reside in counties with a Republican Circuit Clerk," Armistead said. "The dust has not settled yet completely, but from initial findings, 78 percent of Alabamians live in counties with Republican controlled county commissions. Those are some encouraging statistics for the growth of our Party."
"There were many victories last week at the local level and it would not be fair to single out candidates but just a few I want to stress," said Armistead. "In Marengo County, in the Black Belt, the first ever Republican was elected when Dan England won a spot on the Marengo County Commission. Cracking the Democrat hold on the Black Belt shows just how far our Party has come and where it can go in future elections. Also, in Escambia County, the first Republican that is also African American was elected to the Board of Education with Dr. Coleman Wallace. I hope we all see more from Dr. Wallace in the future."
Recently, the GOP held just 20 Probate Judgeships and just 17 Circuit Clerks' positions. Democrats controlled the vast majority of local county offices and in most counties, the thought of running for local office was synonymous with running as a Democrat, Armistead pointed out.
"Less than two years after we began to build this foundation, Republicans now hold 32 Probate Judge offices and 29 Circuit Clerk offices around the state," he said. "Over half of the Democrat held offices that where on the ballot in 2012 flipped to Republican control and we have proved once and for all that the phrase ‘you have to run as a Democrat to get elected here’ no longer applies."
For their part, Democratic leaders such as state Chairman Mark Kennedy and Mobile County chairman Napoleon Bracey point to Democratic chief justice candidate Robert Vance's strong showing, albeit losing, versus the GOP's controversial Roy Moore.
Keeping up with Jones
Advisers to Mobile Mayor Sam Jones point with satisfaction to the 60 percent numbers polled by President Barack Obama within Mobile's city limits in the Nov. 6 presidential election. Jones, who will face business leader Sandy Stimpson among others in municipal elections next August, would hope to mirror if not exceed Obama's appeal on the incumbent mayor's home turf.
Russell GOP club's guest speaker
Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell will be the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the South Alabama Republican Men’s Club at 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 at John Word's Captain’s Table Restaurant next to USS Alabama Battleship Park on the Causeway in Mobile.
For more information contact George E. Williams, Senior Vice Chairman, Alabama Republican Party at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (251) 580-3585. Women are welcome.
Investing in the future
Newly-elected Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl received a $1,500 campaign contribution on Nov. 1 from Adams & Reese, a New Orleans-headquartered Southeast U.S. law firm that now employs county commission attorney Jay Ross. Carl bested longtime incumbent Commissioner Mike Dean in the GOP primaries earlier this year. The rookie politician then defeated Democratic nominee Terrence Burrell in the general election Nov. 6.
Stiles new court police chief
Presiding Mobile County Circuit Judge Charlie Graddick has tapped current court police lieutenant Thomas L. Stiles to succeed Court Police Chief Bob Patterson. Patterson is retiring Dec. 1.
The 13th Judicial Police Department is responsible for security and law enforcement throughout Mobile Government Plaza complex, as well as probate court, Mobile Community Corrections and the Strickland Youth Center.