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Another sign of apocalypse:
Tyson Sr. votes Republican

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
Four score and four years ago, the mother of John Tyson Sr. brought forth unto this land a new Democrat, conceived into a political family, and dedicated to the proposition that all offices should be occupied by a Democrat.

But that changed earlier this
month. Asked to declare which
party’s primary he wished to
vote in, John Tyson Sr., 84,
said what he had never said
before, “Republican.”

“It was a hard word to say,”
admitted Tyson. “But it didn’t
hurt too bad. I knew what I had to do.”

Listening to Tyson describe the event, it recalled a kid swallowing a dose of castor oil: He did it on faith, not taste, because he had to and he had been told it was good for him.

“I had to do it this time,” said Tyson, whose son, 16-year veteran Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson Jr., also a lifelong Democrat, did not seek re-election, instead backing a member of his staff, Assistant District Attorney Ashley Rich, a member of the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee who stepped up, upon Tyson’s
decision not to run, to
challenge GOP early bird
candidate Mark Erwin, a
recent party chairman.

Tyson Sr. said he wanted to
vote for Rich and intended to
vote for her again in the fall,
even though former U.S.
Attorney Don Foster will
appear on the ballot as the
Democratic nominee. If you
support a candidate for an office, you should support her through the entire election cycle, said Tyson Sr.

Although he voted as a Republican, Tyson Sr. wouldn’t seem to have a future as a party spokesman.

“Republicans put party first and the country second,” said Tyson Sr. “We don’t do it that way."

“I’ve been a Democrat all my life,” said Tyson Sr. “My granddad was an early Democrat Party organizer and my mother was the first (woman) to run for office in Florida. When I was in the Legislature, we didn’t have a Republican Party. We didn’t get any Republicans up there.”

Actually, said Tyson, an attorney who nearly won a seat in Congress almost 50 year ago, there really wasn’t a Democratic Party in Alabama either. Everybody was an independent, he said, but since a politician needed a party and, in the South, the Democrats were the only one, that was that.

"The Democrats in the South were always independents," he continued. "Technically, we were Democrats to get out from under the heel of Reconstruction. My grandfather was one who helped put all that together.”

“Everything swung to the Republican side” beginning in 1964, said Tyson. “Since that time, the Democrats have been on the wane. The money, the power, the media is on the other side.”

Tyson said his vote for Rich was cousin to his son's philosophy: "The party that has the
least to say to me about how I run
my office is my party." 

“I preferred to have the girl not
being so tied to the party to the
point that she can’t use her own
best judgment,” said Tyson. “In
this case, I thought it was very
important to get the best D.A.
who knows what needs doing.
With a tremendous amount of
crime, you need someone who is schooled in (dealing with) it. For that reason, I did that (voted for Rich). I also voted for Jo Bonner. He’s a friend. Jo has experience and you can get through to him. Frankly, I didn’t have a governor to vote for, but that’s not unusual.”

“We still don’t have a Democratic Party (locally); maybe one day they’ll get organized,” he said. “With the Republicans you have way too much party and with the Democrats way too little.”
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Tyson Sr.
Tyson Jr.