As the GOP turns: Wonder how deep the rifts are within the state Republican Party?
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Dec 07, 2012 | 2273 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Matt Fridy
Matt Fridy
If momentum means anything in politics, then Alabama Republicans should be awash in confidence and ego. Why not? They’re kings of the state’s proverbial hill.

They sit in the governor’s chair, they dominate both chambers of the state Legislature, and GOP candidates run the significant state offices. For a local example, look here in Republican-red Calhoun County, where it’s been common for Democrats to jump to their rival party as if they’re escaping the Titanic. The few remaining elected Democrats here must feel mighty lonely.

You’d expect Alabama Republicans to have few cares in the world.

But, ah, that’s not the case. Seems the state’s dominant party is suffering from a not-so-slight case of internal discord over the February election of the party chairman. Bill Armistead, the chairman, has fallen out of favor with two of Alabama’s leading GOPers — Gov. Robert Bentley and Speaker Mike Hubbard — who have endorsed Montevallo lawyer Matt Fridy for Armistead’s job.

Though Fridy is only 36, he is the former chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party. Hubbard, in fact, has told the Birmingham News that Fridy is “our best chance of moving the party forward and building upon the impressive and historic gains we made in 2010.”

It’s as if Hubbard said: Take that, Mr. Armistead.

Nevertheless, a few rifts within the party have become public knowledge; one involves an internal audit and disagreements over how state GOP money is spent, and another involves Republican donors who, according to the Birmingham News, may have shown signs of favoring a Bob Riley-formed political-action committee over the party itself.

Critics might say it seems Alabama Republicans can’t handle their success.

Could be, depending on how these scenarios play out early in 2013.

Let it be noted, however, that political parties aren’t immune to the variances of human behavior. Party solidarity only takes people so far. People, even if similar politically, will have differences.

We’ll reserve deep judgment on these GOP internal matters for if — or when — they fester. Likewise, we’ll expect the young Matt Fridy to have a better-than-average chance of unseating the party chairman thanks to the high-profile recommendations he’s received.

In politics, having friends in high places is a valuable commodity.
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