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Alabama Democratic Party Chairman, Mark Kennedy, announced Monday that Democratic State Senator, Jerry Fielding, intends to switch parties and caucus with the Republican supermajority. Senator Fielding's announcement is expected Tuesday, according to Kennedy.
When reached for comment, Derek Trotter, spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, said he was unaware of any plans to announce a party switch and was not aware of a decision by Sen. Fielding to change parties.
Attempts to contact Sen. Fielding for comment at his home and office were unsuccessful.
If Sen. Fielding does join the Republican caucus, the GOP will control 23 of the Alabama Senate's 35 seats.
Fielding was elected to the Senate in 2010 and represents parts of Calhoun, Coosa, Elmore, and Talladega counties. Before being elected to the Senate as a Democrat, Senator Fielding served for 26 years as a District and Circuit Court Judge. Fielding was first appointed to the bench by Democratic Governor George Wallace and won re-election and served for almost three decades on the bench as a Democrat.
"I've known Jerry Fielding for more than 20 years, and I've never known him to be anything but a man of principle and a good Democrat," said Chairman Kennedy. "I find it hard to believe that Jerry would turn his back on his Party and the people who have elected him time and time again. While the matter of choosing a political party is a personal prerogative, it is disingenuous and unfair to voters for officials to unexpectedly announce a party switch halfway through the term they were elected to serve."
Kennedy added, "I have a pretty good idea of what Jerry Fielding intends to tell the voters tomorrow. He'll say he's not leaving the Democratic Party—the Democratic Party left him, or some other tired cliché. The bottom line is that Jerry Fielding buckled under the pressure of the Republican supermajority that is out to drive every white Democrat out of office. The redistricting plan passed by the Republican supermajority is intended to make white Democrats in the legislature extinct, and Jerry Fielding must have decided that serving part time in the legislature is more important to him than principle or the Party that has had his back for almost 30 years."
"I'll be interested to see who the Republicans run against Jerry in the 2014 Primary Election," said Kennedy. "I can guarantee you that whatever promises the Republicans have made to Senator Fielding won't hold up."
INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama Democratic Party News Release
12 East Delano Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36105