Republicans: We can retake Ala. legislature

Posted by Hannah Lane  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - In exactly one year Alabamians, and most every other registered voter in America for that matter, will head to the polls and vote in an off-year election.

It's an off-year election with huge ramifications, however. While the President of the United States holds office for another three years, nearly every other elected official is feeling the heat.

Every member of the U.S House and one third of all U.S senators will have to convince voters to keep them. Those voters will also have a say at who fills a whopping 37 governors' offices including that of Alabama. It could be a huge win, or loss for either major political party.

In Alabama every single state legislator will also be at the voters' mercy come November 2010. For 130 years democrats have comfortably called the shots at the Alabama State House. Republicans are hoping to turn up the heat on their opponents' ethics violations, however, in an effort to take control. If they're successful, it'll be the first time a republican majority has ruled Alabama's legislature since Reconstruction.

Currently, there are 44 republicans in the House of Representatives and 61 democrats. In the Senate, there are 14 republicans and 21 democrats. Even though at least one of the democrats usually votes with the republicans, the GOP says that's still not enough votes to make the changes they want.

"For far too long Alabama has been mired in scandal and corruption and that has to change," according to Republican party Chairman, Mike Hubbard.

Republicans presented a video Tuesday about corruption in Alabama - specifically the Democrat party - and it wasn't shy about listing names. The video even makes use of such sound effects as a jail door closing behind the democrats who were either elected, or at one time were officials of the state Democratic party.

Some of the individuals named are already behind bars and, from all indications, others will be headed there soon. The state party names eight in all who have either pleaded guilty or been convicted of wrong doing.

So what do democrats have to say in response?

"First, there are more Democrats elected in Alabama than Republicans. Second, they're being selective. They're not going to roll out their people," explained Democrat party Executive Director, Jim Spearman.

Republicans didn't stop there on Tuesday. They continued their blasting of the democrats for what they say is their inaction on ethics reform bills in the legislature.

"The democrats do actually have a record on ethics reform," Hubbard said. "They issued a press release in 2006 filled with promises. They're in the majority, they control all committee chairmanships, they have a majority of all the committees, and a majority in both Houses. Yet, they've not passed one that they promised back in 2006."

Republicans cite Governor Bob Riley's decision to put the state's checkbook online and logs of the state's airplane as proof they have fought more for ethics legislation than democrats.

Democrats counter it was a democratic legislature and democratic governor who created the ethics commission in the first place.

Republicans also say they are talking to some democrats about switching sides, but so far no one has committed.

©2009 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.