Can a politician be a party switcher in 2019 and it be anything other than self-preservation?
Although the state of Alabama is now reliably red, we still have not fully grappled with our long history of being a reliable Democratic state for decades. The Alabama legislature was full of Democrats for 136 years until the Alabama Republican Party took it to ALGOP supermajority in 2010.
Monday night at the Madison County Republican Executive Committee (MREC), this history will come to a head in a forum that could be pretty contentious.
Licensing Director Mark Craig (D-Huntsville) is seeking to abandon his current party and run as a Republican.
Craig is an 18-year incumbent and got the position when he was appointed by his father, seven-term Democratic County Commissioner Jerry Craig. Craig’s a Democrat who comes from lifelong Democrats.
And let’s be honest about this: Nobody cares about what party the licensing director runs as. It shouldn’t even be an elected position. The county commissions should hire and fire these people as needed.
Also, I live in Madison County and have never heard a negative word about his job performance, and the few interactions I have had with him have been very pleasant.
But this is where we are.
What people do care about is the precedent this sets.
The MCREC is the county’s elected representation of Republican voters. These local groups are tasked with upholding the values and principles of the Republican Party. This is something they all take very seriously (maybe too seriously).
Will they embrace someone who has been an elected Democrat for 18 years?
Furthermore, this doesn’t pass the smell test. The timing is incredibly suspect, to put it kindly.
Here are my questions for Craig:
Did you vote for Donald Trump in 2016? (likely to be met with something about a “secret ballot”)
Were you upset when Hillary Clinton lost?
Why have you waited until two weeks before qualifying closes to make this move?
Where have you been for the last 18 years?
Why has nobody heard of your Republican epiphany until now?
How can you leave the Democratic Party in 2019 and not 2016 or 2008?
If you are going to try to argue that the Democratic Party has left you, did it not occur to you when it was the party of Barack Obama?
The idea that this change of heart is legit is kind of questionable.
Questions for the Madison County GOP exist as well:
Is the GOP a big tent party?
Are converts welcome?
Why did they allow then-U.S. Representative Parker Griffith (D-Huntsville) to switch parties?
Why didn’t they allow now-State Senator Tom Butler (R-Madison) to switch parties?
How this is handled will decide the fate of many other individuals who may want an R for nothing more than to keep their jobs because that is exactly what this appears to be.