State Senator Jerry Fielding to Join Republican Supermajority
by Glynn Wilson
Just as President Barack Obama is pulling away in the national polls in the presidential race, and the electoral college, and the Democrats are now almost certain to hold on to a majority in the U.S. Senate, the Alabama Democratic Party can’t seem to stop the bleeding from the conservative tea party takeover of the state legislature.
Another Democrat in the state Senate has taken the Republican Party up on its offer to come into the GOP fold, and the head of the Alabama Democratic Party is not happy about it.
They say the South will always trend behind the rest of the country. Even as the tea party movement appears to be on its last gasp nationally, they still have some sway in Southern states like Alabama.
State Senator Jerry Fielding of Richville is expected to announce his party switch on Tuesday, according to a press release from the state Democratic Party.
“I’ve known Jerry Fielding for more than 20 years, and I’ve never known him to be anything but a man of principle and a good Democrat,” Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy said in a statement. “I find it hard to believe that Jerry would turn his back on his party and the people who have elected him time and time again.”
Fielding was elected to the Senate in 2010 and represents parts of Calhoun, Coosa, Elmore, and Talladega counties. Before being elected to the Senate as a Democrat, Fielding served for 26 years as a District and Circuit Court Judge. He was first appointed to the bench by former Gov. George Wallace. He won re-election and served for almost three decades on the bench as a Democrat.
While the matter of choosing a political party is a personal prerogative, Kennedy said, “it is disingenuous and unfair to voters for officials to unexpectedly announce a party switch halfway through the term they were elected to serve.”
“I have a pretty good idea of what Jerry Fielding intends to tell the voters,” Kennedy said. “He’ll say he’s not leaving the Democratic Party — the Democratic Party left him, or some other tired cliché. The bottom line is that Jerry Fielding buckled under the pressure of the Republican supermajority that is out to drive every white Democrat out of office. The redistricting plan passed by the Republican supermajority is intended to make white Democrats in the legislature extinct, and Jerry Fielding must have decided that serving part time in the legislature is more important to him than principle or the party that has had his back for almost 30 years.”
Fielding could not be reached for comment.
“I’ll be interested to see who the Republicans run against Jerry in the 2014 Primary Election,” Kennedy said. “I can guarantee you that whatever promises the Republicans have made to Senator Fielding won’t hold up.”
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