If you’re not from Alabama, it might surprise you to know that Democrats control both branches of the state legislature – currently by a margin of 5 seats in the senate and 15 seats in the larger house chamber. If you’re a Republican from Alabama, it probably infuriates you that the Democrats have held a majority in both houses since Ulysses S. Grant was President.
The Alabama Republican Party is pushing hard to make 2010 the year that the tide turns in the Alabama State House (we’ll leave it to Coach Saban to direct the Tide on the gridiron). Coordinating under the theme of “Campaign 2010 - Securing Alabama's Future ,” the state GOP is targeting the lack of transparency and endemic corruption that is strangling the legislature after 136 years of Democratic control. For years, state Democrats have benefited from big war chests funded in part by union supporters. The Republican’s Campaign 2010 project is a concerted multi-million dollar effort to recruit, staff and support enough quality Republican candidates across the state to finally overcome the Democrats’ money wall.
In a year where dissatisfaction with the White House administration and an anti-incumbent fervor are strong, the political winds are in the Republicans’ favor. Add in the ongoing drama of FBI wiretaps and court-ordered subpoenas of legislators’ bank records and the GOP smells the opportunity to shift the balance of power in Alabama and give the state a more pro-jobs, pro-business trajectory.
One of the races targeted in this effort is the 91st House District, which voted 74.6 percent for McCain in 2008. This district encompasses rural Coffee County in the southeast corner of the state. The Republican nominee for this seat is Barry Moore, a political newcomer, but a fifth-generation Coffee County native. The incumbent, Democrat Terry Spicer, has been in office since 1998, but squeezed out only a 51% win in 2006 (members of both chambers of the Alabama legislature serve a 4 year term).
Moore is hammering home the ongoing allegations of public corruption that haunt Alabama, pushing for stronger ethics laws and enforcement power, which he ties to improving Alabama’s economy in a statement released by his campaign: “Government corruption hurts economic development and violates trust citizens place in their elected officials. Moore supports laws that will strengthen our ethics laws and hold our elected officials accountable for their actions.” Moore is a small businessman himself (he owns a waste hauling company – the image of him carting out the corruption in Montgomery is perfect for this campaign).
When he launched his campaign Moore spoke to the larger anti-incumbency, anti-Washington mood that is resonating strongly in Alabama: “Common sense and discipline are what government currently lacks. Our government should be a servant of the people and not the other way around. There is no place in government for egos.”
2010 has been an unsettling year for incumbent Alabama politicians – witness the recent primary losses by Parker Griffith and Artur Davis, two high-profile Alabama politicos who could not shake their Beltway connections). Perhaps if Moore can continue to push his campaign in the right direction, he can be a key component of the GOP’s push to re-shape Alabama for the next generation.
To learn more about Barry Moore’s bid in Alabama, visit www.barrymooreforhouse.com/