“Rumors and Rumblings” is a weekly feature that runs each Wednesday. It includes short nuggets of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week. Have a tip? Send it here.
1. Mack Butler, the former Etowah County GOP chairman and a longtime Board of Education member, has done an incredible job of clearing the field in House District 30 and has quickly become the odds-on favorite to replace Rep. Blaine Galliher. Yellowhammer broke the story late last week that Galliher is vacating his House seat and taking a job as Governor Bentley’s Legislative Director.
Butler has released a steady stream of endorsements on his Facebook page, including one from the area’s popular State Senator, Phil Williams. “I’ve known Mack for 15 years and can’t think of anyone more uniquely suited to fill this role, ” Sen. Williams told Yellowhammer. “Losing Blaine as a member of my delegation is tough – but if there is going to be someone new in the District 30 seat I’ll be glad if it’s Mack.” Williams went on to call Butler “conservative, tough and engaging” and a man “with the highest moral character.”
2. State Representative John Merrill has been weighing a run for Secretary of State in 2014 and a groundswell of support for his candidacy is beginning to emerge behind-the-scenes. Although this would be his first statewide run, insiders believe he would be a formidable candidate. We expect Rep. Merrill to officially announce his intentions soon.
3. Governor Robert Bentley has begun hosting private round-table luncheons with citizen leaders from around the state. He told the most recent group that he will do “whatever he can” to fight Obamacare.
4. Several high-level donors have expressed to Yellowhammer that they were taken aback by ALGOP Chairman Bill Armistead’s recent efforts to obtain advances on their Governor’s Circle commitments [Editor’s note: Governor’s Circle members give $10k/yr]. Armistead recently hired a fundraiser from Wisconsin who has no appreciable experience dealing with Alabama donors so fundraising for the Republican National Convention has not been going well. “We’re at least $30,000 short on fundraising for the convention,” a fundraising source told Yellowhammer.