The 2014 Alabama Legislative Session has begun. What does this mean? More stuff for me to talk about! More stuff that you should care about.
For the past three years, the government of Alabama has been controlled by the Republican Party for the first time in state history. We are now entering the final legislative session for the Republican Party to nail down their record as the state’s governing party.
In November of this year, that record will be placed on the ballot in what may be one of the most politically significant elections in Alabama’s history. After controlling state government for over 130 years, Alabama Democrats have experienced significant displeasure in serving as the minority party.
Since November 2010, they’ve looked to this year as their pinnacle of hope. But will it all pan out?
Currently, Governor Robert Bentley is not facing any significant opposition. At last reporting, the Republican incumbent shows a campaign war chest of about $2.7 million. His only official Republican opposition has a total of $9.59 last reported.
There are no official gubernatorial candidates and no significant announced opposition to speak of on the Democratic side, although one Democrat, Kevin Bass, has announced his plans to run for Governor.
Bass is a former minor league baseball player, business owner, and recently ran unsuccessfully for mayor of his hometown. There has also been speculation that a popular Democratic State Senator from Clayton, AL might rise up to oppose Governor Bentley.
Senator Billy Beasley is recently quoted in statewide media saying: “Whether I challenge the governor or somebody else challenges the governor, he needs to be challenged.” As for other statewide and legislative offices, Democrats are few and far in-between as announced to oppose Republican incumbents.
However, pundits across the state are predicting Republicans to maintain a majority across the board. What is unsure is how much, if at all, the Democratic Party will be able to etch into what is a current Supermajority held by Republicans.
The first source of political ammunition that will surely be fired will come from the legislative session that began this week. Republican leaders in the legislature have already noted that they are hoping for a non-controversial session, naturally.
However, Democrats will likely find controversy in some issues that we can expect to see throughout the 2014 campaign: Medicaid expansion, the Accountability Act, and teacher pay raises, among others.
So enjoy it while you can, folks! Because soon, very soon, those 18x24 signs that I refer to as “flowers of democracy” will be popping up all over the state asking for your vote and you’ll be driving down the road thinking to yourself: “Oh yeah, it’s 2014.”