Hubbard Book Details Political Shift in Alabama
June 3, 2012
The Associated Press
Alabama Republicans accomplished something in 2010 that hadn't been done in 136 years: They won majorities in the Alabama House and Senate and elected a Republican speaker of the House.
The leader of that effort was state Rep. Mike Hubbard, at the time the Republican majority leader in the House and the state party chairman. He and Montgomery political consultant David Azbell have written a book about that campaign, "Storming the State House," due out Tuesday.
In 2010, Hubbard felt the time was right for Republicans to take over the Statehouse for the first time since the days of Reconstruction following the Civil War.
Hubbard, now the House speaker, felt the timing was right because of voter dissatisfaction with Democratic President Barack Obama and the fact that many Democrats in the Legislature represented districts that Republicans were consistently winning in elections for governor and president.
The result was that in the November 2010 election, Republicans won supermajorities in both chambers.
Published by NewSouth Books in Montgomery with a forward by U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers of Saks, the book details past efforts by Republicans to win the Statehouse and how the GOP managed to recruit the right candidates, raise enough money and defeat several long-entrenched Democratic legislators.
Hubbard said in an interview with The Associated Press that he will donated any profits he makes from the book to John Croyle's Big Oak Ranch, a Christian home for children founded by former University of Alabama and All-SEC football player John Croyle.
Hubbard said a key moment leading to the GOP victory in 2010 came when Republican leaders decided to break with tradition and go after seats held by incumbent Democrats. This came after Republicans had elected Hubbard, a Georgia native and president of The Auburn Network, as chairman of the state party. Hubbard describes in the book how the first task was to recruit quality candidates who could win elections.
Hubbard said recruiting the right candidates was essential. He writes that Republican consultants first studied each district and came up with a list of districts where a Republican could win.
"Finding quality Republican candidates in those districts was our highest priority," Hubbard writes. "We were looking for people who had never run for office and who had never thought about running for office."
Hubbard details in the book some of the blow-by-blow details that led Republicans to victory.
The former chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, Joe Turnham, who lives near Hubbard in Auburn, was among several people who wrote short contributions to the book.
Even though they have fought hard on the political battlefield, Turnham said he considers Hubbard a friend.
"In the end of the day politics is politics, but being friends is more important," Turnham said.
In the book, Turnham writes he thought the Republicans had an effective message during the campaign when they said Democrats had been in control for too long _ though he notes he didn't agree with that message. He praised Hubbard as a good fundraiser, organizer and hard worker.
House Minority Leader Craig Ford of Gadsden said he believes Hubbard might have a different book to write after the 2014 elections.
"The pendulum swings both ways in Alabama politics, and we believe it will swing back our way in 2014," Ford said.
Hubbard said one message he was trying to point out in the book was that he and other Republicans never gave up.
"We had a hole to climb out of, and many told us we weren't going to succeed," Hubbard said.
To order the book and for more information, visit www.StormingTheStateHouse.com