Fielding might announce party switch Thursday
by Tim Lockette
Oct 03, 2012 | 4907 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jerry Fielding
Jerry Fielding
Fielding might announce party switch Thursday

State Sen. Jerry Fielding, D-Sylacauga, said Wednesday he'll make an announcement today to address reports that he's leaving the Democratic Party.

"I'm going to do a press release tomorrow morning regarding that," Fielding said in an interview Wednesday.

Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy released a statement Monday saying that Fielding intends to switch parties.

“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," Kennedy wrote in the statement.

Fielding wouldn't comment on whether he is switching, saying he will announce his decision today. Fielding did say that his press release would coincide with a 10 a.m. press conference announced Wednesday afternoon by Senate Majority Leader Jabo Waggoner.

Waggoner's spokesman, Michael Ciamarra, was not immediately available for comment.

University of Alabama political science emeritus professor William Stewart said the change is another sign of the growing racial polarization of party identification in Alabama. Fielding, who is white, is among several white Democrats who have switched to the GOP in recent years. Locally, Rep. Steve Hurst of Munford switched shortly after the 2010 election and former Rep. Jim Preuitt of Talladega switched earlier the same year.

Stewart said the state is moving in the direction of an all-black Democratic Party and an all-white Republican Party.

"We've made racial progress, but this is a sign of an area where we haven't made progress," he said.

Capitol & statewide correspondent: 256-235-3560. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.
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