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Things to Consider from Tuesday's Tuscaloosa GOP Meeting

Tuesday night I attended the monthly meeting of the Tuscaloosa County Republican Executive Committee. There were a couple of notable things I took away:

1. The AEA realizes the Democrat Party is dead in Alabama so they’re going to start trying to run their guys on GOP tickets. 

The Tuscaloosa GOP Executive Committee started tonight vetting a County Commission candidate who is also an AEA employee. William Tunnell is the UNISERV District 16 Field Representative and has never run in a partisan race before. He spent most of his speech talking about his conservative stances on social issues like abortion and gay marriage (since the Co. Commission spends so much of their time on those issues…?) but as soon as it came out that he was an AEA employee, things went sour in a hurry.

During the last election, Mr. Tunnell was tasked with handing on fliers for the AEA showing who they were supporting in various races. There were 16 Democrats on that list and only 4 Republicans. Mr. Tunnell said he was just doing his job, it didn’t reflect his personal positions, and that if he were a Republican office holder, he would have handled the situation differently. He didn’t clarify exactly how he would do that.

Mr. Tunnell also stated that he was opposed to federal involvement in education, was opposed to Common Core Standards, and even supports creation being taught in the classroom. Wait, what? You do know you spend at least 40 hours a week working against everything you say you believe in, right?

We’re going to be watching this trend closely, look for more in-depth analysis soon.

2. GOP legislators and state elected officials are going to be walking a tight-rope if they start looking to tweak the immigration bill.

After Mr. Tunnell weathered the onslaught, Lois Zeanah, President of the Alabama Republican Women, gave an in-depth report on her understanding of HB56. She made it abundantly clear that Attorney General Luther Strange’s suggested “tweaks” to the law were, in her view, nothing more than a guise under which the new law would be weakened. Tuscaloosa Sheriff Ted Sexton responded by laying out several of his concerns from a law enforcement perspective.

The disagreements over policy weren’t what stuck out to me though. What I realized from Mrs. Zeanah’s talk is that grassroots conservatives and the Tea Party folks are strongly against any changes to HB56. Someone even said, “I never thought I’d be missing Troy King.” Whoa (And for the record, that’s insane).

I believe any tweaks to the immigration law are going to weaken the GOP’s position on an issue in which the public is overwhelming on their side. Every bit of polling I’ve seen says that Alabama Republicans are firmly in-line with the electorate in cracking down on illegal immigration.

The bottom line is this: The AG may already kicked the Tea Party bee hive by suggesting tweaks to the immigration law. GOP legislators should be weary of following suit. In spite of the nonsensical media coverage of HB56, the public supports it by a wide margin.

Tweets from during the meeting: