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Will ‘Never Trump’ movement hijack Alabama’s Republican Women?

The statewide governing body of Alabama’s Republican women’s clubs, the Alabama Federation of Republican Women (AFRW), kicked off their biennial convention this week in Huntsville. 

This year, it’s being held in anticipation for the 2024 election cycle – in which Alabama’s primary date, March 5th, known as Super Tuesday – can decide the fate of candidates running for President of the United States. 

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth joined AFRW conventiongoers for their initial festivities taking place at the Embassy Suites in downtown Huntsville – thanking the group for their contributions “to our party’s success in electing candidates statewide.”

On Friday, the AFRW will be electing officials of their own to coordinate the efforts of more than 2,000 members and counting across the state. The AFRW is the leading auxiliary group in Alabama Republican Party.

From voter registration and fundraising to year-round programming and targeted grassroots outreach in support of conservative candidates up and down the ticket – their leadership contest will decide the future direction of a powerful group. 

Among the dozen elected positions being voted on by the group Friday, the election for AFRW President will likely stand between two candidates: Tiffany Noel of Huntsville and Judy Barlow of Fairhope.

Due to behind-the-scenes nominations logistics, as well as deeply-rooted political loyalties, the competition began well before the first meeting was gaveled into order. 

Noel, a dedicated ally, employee and strategist for former Rep. Mo Brooks – who was defeated in a 2022 landslide victory by U.S. Senator Katie Britt – will be nominated by default on a slate. 

Judy Barlow says she’ll seek the nomination for president from the floor of the convention to leverage her own past support of Alabama Republicans. Sources say that one of the main reasons Barlow is challenging the slated candidate is because of Noel’s lack of support for U.S. Senator Katie Britt, Governor Kay Ivey and former President Donald Trump – who is the leading contender to be the GOP presidential nominee again in 2024.  

Noel is now employed by Kids to Love, a Huntsville-area nonprofit currently entangled in litigation with the State of Alabama’s Department of Human Resources.

In 2011, Noel began working as district director and deputy chief of staff to then-Rep. Mo Brooks. From 2016 to 2021, Noel served as President of the Republican Women of Huntsville, and since 2019 as the 4th Vice President for the AFRW. On Friday, she’ll ask club members to assess if her resume and affiliations are fit to lead the group into the 2024 cycle and beyond. 

Group members skeptical of Noel’s collaboration with Brooks expressed concern over a ‘Never Trump’ agenda being executed across the group’s activism and support structure – saying she’ll use the club to advance Brooks’ political vendetta against Trump for withdrawing his endorsement from his 2022 campaign for U.S. Senate. In 2022, Brooks paid Noel a total of $166,333 for her work as District Director.

Brooks has repeatedly attacked Trump, who is on the verge of securing the nomination. This month, Brooks used the occasion of the death of Trump’s older sister to attack Trump and claim he “has no principles. None. None.”

In recent months, Brooks called on Trump to “drop out of presidential race for good of America,” calling the 45th President “a likely convicted felon who loses badly.”

Barlow, a graduate of both Millport High School and the University of Alabama, applied to FedEx starting as a secretary and worked her way up to Senior Marketing Specialist.  

She serves as President of Eastern Shore Republican Women, a member of the Alabama Republican Executive Committee, a member of the Baldwin County Executive Committee, and an officer in the Alabama Federation of Republican Women.

“The growth of our Federation is important as we get ready for the pivotal 2024 elections. As boots on the ground, we will be called upon to do many things and be in many places,” Barlow says in her campaign material. “The programs and events we put in place will not only train us to be effective leaders, but positive communicators and influencers within our communities.”

“With your input, putting a plan of action in place will give us the structure upon which we can build, grow, and strengthen the Republican Party,” Barlow says. 

The election for AFRW President is on Friday.

Grayson Everett is the state and political editor for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270

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