Is the AEA set to become more powerful than ever before?

Paul Hubbert, Director of AEA
Paul Hubbert (picture by al.com)

The Democratic Party has been in control of the Alabama legislature for 136 years. Paul Hubbert has led the AEA since 1969.   The majority of the AEA’a 100,000+ members are democrats.  It only made sense for him to chair the democratic party too.  No middle men!  His influence in politics in the state of Alabama has truly been tremendous.  Every four year election since 1998 the AEA has been one of the top three largest contributors of funds, overwhelmingly to democratic candidates.  But has he seen the writing on the wall?

Doc’s political parlor has put together a nice listing of house and senate races and the likelihood of victory by either party in November.  I’ve put together a summary of his listing as updated July 13th:

Status Senate House
Safe or Likely Dem 12 42
Lean Dem 4 8
Total Dem 16 50
Safe or Likely GOP 11 40
Lean GOP 4 9
Total GOP 15 49
Tossups 4 6

In addition to this evidence of an extremely close race, a poll of 500 likely voters put out August 5th by the GOP (so consider the source) that said 50% of likely voters would generically vote Republican for the Alabama state legislature, compared to 33% democrat.  By resigning as co-chair of the state party, is he just hedging his bets on the democrats losing control?  He says as much:

I believe AEA’s interest is better served by my resigning from a leadership role in the Democratic Party and being free to work with the legislators of both the Democratic and Republican parties to promote the interest of public education in Alabama.

Hubbert has never thought this was a good enough idea to do so in the past, so what other reason could it be now other than he’s convinced the Republican party is going to take control of the legislative branch in Alabama? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’s going to stop being heavily involved just because he resigned from his chairmanship, as Joe Turnham even admits to the Birmingham News, “He will still be in the wings playing a role in the party and that’s as it should be.” But I also wouldn’t scoff at the idea of Hubbert and the AEA “working with” Republicans as Mike Hubbard did.

I just think he’s making a calculated move betting that a Republican controlled legislature has a price tag just as the Democratic one does, they just don’t want to be bought by the chair of the other party. We’ve seen his influences in the Republican gubernatorial primary races already, even if it wasn’t requested by Robert Bentley (but also not rejected… I’ll break down PAC to PAC another day).

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