Thursday, January 27, 2005
On this day:

Republicans Gain Seat in State Legislature

Republicans will pick up a seat in the Alabama House following a special election in southwest Alabama's House District 65. The victory by Republican Nick Williams may have been due more to intraparty squabbling among Democrats than to a groudswell of support for the Republican Party. However, I'm sure Republicans will take a victory any way they can get it, given their long-term goal of winning majorities in both houses of the Legislature. Let's not forget that Alabama's first Republican governor since Reconstruction, Guy Hunt, was elected under similar circumstances in 1986. That year, the Democratic Party selected Bill Baxley as its nominee for Governor even though Charlie Graddick had won the most votes in the party's runoff primary, presumably due to "illegal" crossover voting by Republicans.

The Democratic Party is still paying the price for that remarkable political blunder. Guy Hunt's "accidental" election ushered in the current era of Republican dominance in statewide races and led many conservative Democrats to switch party affiliations in disgust. The Republican Party is known for its habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, so it's worth noting when the party actually steps up and capitalizes on Democrat mistakes.