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Building Relationships
 The Political Round-Up

Oden to PSC; In the eye of the beholder;
Baldwin GOP to elect officers;
 Jones camp tracking Obama;
Russell to speak to breakfast club 

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
​State Rep. Jeremy Oden will soon be named to fill a vacancy on the Alabama Public Service Commission, the Mobile Bay Times has learned.

Gov. Robert Bentley will tap 
the Cullman, Ala. Republican 
to fill the opening created by 
Commissioner Twinkle 
Cavanaugh's elevation to PSC 
president with her victory over 
Lucy Baxley in the Nov. 6 
elections, according to sources 
who have been apprised of 
Bentley's intentions.

Oden presently represents 
District 11 in the state House of Representatives. District 11 includes Blount, Cullman and Morgan counties. He serves on Ways and Means, Education and County and Municipal Government committees.

A native of Vinemont, Oden, 44, was elected in 1998. He received his B.A. from Ashbury College, and completed two years of post-graduate work at the Ashbury Theological Seminary.

Oden is the Chief Financial Officer for Delta Discount Corporation. He is a member of the Eva United Methodist Church. He also serves as a member of the Eva Lion's Club, the Arrites Oden Masonic Lodge, the Huntsville Scottish Rite, the Decatur York Rite, and the Huntsville Shrine Association.

Good, Better, Best?
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. They also note that Democrats not only held on to a number of offices targeted by GOP strategists but also Democrats continue to hold more county posts than the GOP.

Baldwin GOP to elect officers
State GOP Chairman Bill Armistead will be the guest speaker Saturday at 10 a.m. when the Baldwin County Republican Executive Committee meets at Robertsdale City Hall. Also on the agenda is the election of officers for the coming year, according to BCREC Chairman Matt Simpson.  

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. 

canvass of all Mobile County precincts for the Presidential race reflects a split of 45.33% for Obama and 54.67% for Romney (78,417 to 94,568).

The yellow highlighted precincts are those inside the City. There are only two split precincts including both city and non-city voters: Plateau and Mt. Ararat. It appears likely that these two largely cancel each other out as the Plateau count includes Prichard voters which inflates the Obama count while the Mt. Ararat vote includes white voters in Theodore who are outside the Mobile boundary which probably inflates the Romney total.

A straight count of just the City precincts, excluding absentee and provisionals which are hard to place geographically, shows 60.71% for Obama and 39.29% for Romney (49,117 to 31,792).

A second calculation that possibly better defines the vote in the split precincts and in the absentees finds 59.58% for Obama and 40.42% for Romney (50,284 to 34,110).

Regardless of methodology, it is safe to say that the breakdown is approximately 60/40 for Obama in the City precincts.

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, according to his campaign consultants. 

For his part, Stimpson suggested something along the lines of apples and oranges, he is not Romney and Jones is not Obama.

"We are running a very different campaign in Mobile than Mitt Romney or the President," said Stimpson.

Many if not most of the issues central to a municipal election in Mobile will be in stark contrast to the issues that dominate a national election, according to Stimpson.  

"The mayor’s race involves many different issues that hit closer to home to the people of Mobile," he said. "I expect this to be a tough race and one that we’ll win if we do a good job and work hard. 

"Mayor Jones has been a politician for over 20 years and will be a tough opponent – but so will our team. I expect us all to have a lot of fun - and to win."

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 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. 
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