Mike Hubbard to run again for state GOP chairman

Published 9:10 am Thursday, January 1, 2009

MONTGOMERY — House Minority Leader Mike Hubbard says he will run for re-election as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party next month.

The party’s leadership, the State Republican Executive Committee, meets in Montgomery on Feb. 7 to elect a chairman to serve a two-year term that will take the GOP through the state’s 2010 elections. That will be a critical election, with the entire Legislature, the governor, the lieutenant governor and one-third of the state Supreme Court on the ballot.

“We have a great opportunity in 2010, and I don’t want to leave the job undone,” Hubbard said in an interview Tuesday.

Hubbard has been encouraged by some in the party to consider running for governor or lieutenant governor in 2010. He said he has made no decision about those offices, but if he is re-elected chairman in February, he will resign as chairman if he decides to seek a statewide office in 2010.

Hubbard, a state representative and businessman from Auburn and a longtime friend of Republican Gov. Bob Riley, was elected party chairman without opposition in February 2007. The GOP chairman serves a two-year term, while the chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, Joe Turnham, serves a four-year term. Turnham’s current term ends in 2011.

So far, Hubbard has no announced opponent for the high-profile but non-salaried chairman’s job.

State Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, considered running against Hubbard two years ago, but decided against it. Beason said he has received calls from people encouraging him to consider the post this time, but he’s not interested.

Beason said he has many goals to accomplish in the Legislature and being party chairman would make that difficult. “There wouldn’t be enough time to do everything,” he said.

Mobile businessman Jerry Lathan, the party’s vice chairman for the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts in south Alabama, said he had heard of no one planning to run against Hubbard. Lathan said he plans to seek re-election to his current post.

Hubbard led the Alabama Republican Party through a difficult time for the GOP nationwide. Republican presidential nominee John McCain carried Alabama on Nov. 4, and the party retained a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court. But the party lost two posts previously held by Republicans: the 2nd Congressional District and president of the Public Service Commission.

Hubbard said the party came out of the 2008 elections on sound financial footing and is already enjoying success with its “Campaign 2010” fundraising drive.