Not room for two in state politics

Published 8:08 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013

There is really no way to explain to people and have them fully appreciate the volume of email I receive on a daily basis. It really is mind-boggling how many emails I delete, report as spam or ignore all together.

Daily, I receive the most random of emails from those publicizing products, notes from national elected leaders touting their latest and greatest piece of legislation or their latest rant and disapproval with another piece of legislation.

I get emails from the most obscure national “media outlets” claiming the latest conspiracy theory about how the Obama administration is literally coming down my block to take all of our guns.

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But on Tuesday, among the dozens of spam and trash was an email from the Alabama Republican Party.

Now, covering Selma, Dallas County and the Black Belt area, press releases sent to me from the Alabama Republican Party are tantamount to a waste of time on the part of the GOP.

Very rarely do their press releases have anything to do with this area, nor does what they contain have little to do with those who live in the area. But, with the impending start of the next legislative session of the Alabama Legislature, I thought I’d give the email a look before hitting delete.

Maybe it’s about a piece of legislation to authorize teachers and janitors to carry weapons to school. But, alas, it wasn’t.

It was a release announcing that the sheriff of Tallapoosa County, Jimmy Abbett, had switched parties from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.

I know Sheriff Abbett, having covered Tallapoosa County for The Alexander City Outlook for six years. He is an honorable man, with years of experience and is a tremendous sheriff. Regardless of his party, his re-election effort each time is almost a given.

But, even Abbett is politically savvy. The Republican Party has been gaining strength in that area for years, and recent elections have seen powerful Democratic elected officials knocked off for no other reason than they are aligned with “the wrong party.”

This release started me thinking, just how strong is the Democratic party in Alabama and does it have the strength to pull itself up off the mat and have any say whatsoever in Alabama politics again.

We know that being a Republican candidate in the Black Belt is cute, but fruitless. But statewide, having the letter “D” behind your name on the ballot is beginning to mean “defeated.”

That’s a shame. Not because I favor one part over another. I don’t. It’s a shame because the best government is one that is balanced and competitive.

Politics in Alabama have become anything but competitive and that might result in being a bad thing for the state as a whole.