The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

February 2, 2013

Alabama Republican Party re-elects party chairman

(Continued)

Fridy and his supporters said the party's fundraising had dropped during Armistead's two-year term because he had divided the party by putting the focus on himself, rather than the party's elected officials.

"If you can't increase your fundraising when Barrack Obama is at the top of the ticket, there is a problem and it needs to be fixed," Fridy told the executive committee.

Armistead told the committee that he led the party to major successes in the November election, including defeating the last Democrat in a statewide office and winning courthouse offices in traditionally Democratic counties.

He said the effort to defeat him stemmed from an audit he had performed of Hubbard's tenure as party chairman during the 2010 election. That audit showed that $83,524 in party funds went to an Auburn printing company, where Hubbard is one of the owners. "That's why you are seeing all this gathering of people saying we've got to break this chairman down," Armistead said.

After the vote, Hubbard issued a statement congratulating Armistead and saying the party "will put this chairman's race behind us because, as our first Republican president said, 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.'"

Former state appeals court judge Mark Montiel, who voted for Armistead, said elected officials were trying to grab control of the party to try to discourage any opposition in the Republican primary in 2014. He said the outcome showed party members who have worked for years to elect candidates are independent from current officeholders.

Stewart said the battle demonstrated how the Republican Party has become the dominant party in Alabama, and it is reminiscent of the fights the Democratic Party had when it controlled state politics. Even one of Alabama's most powerful governors, George C. Wallace, couldn't oust Robert Vance Sr. after he became Democratic Party chairman in 1966, Stewart said.

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