However, as this page recently pointed out, Tea Partiers are planning a friendly-fire mission. The Tea Party plans to purge the Republican Party of traditionalists who are more aligned with interests represented by the Chamber of Commerce than with the Ted Cruz wing of the GOP.
In Alabama, the names of state lawmakers to be sent home as part of this “repopulating” of the party are being circulated. Among those listed are many from the northern part of the state.
As expected, Tea Party Republicans want to get rid of Democrats like Rep. Craig Ford of Gadsden, Rep. Greg Burdine of Florence and Sen. Tammy Irons of Florence. Across the region, the tradition of Democrats with strong labor ties holding legislative seats has been coming to an end; these politicians no longer have the base support they once had. Tea Party Republicans have them in their cross hairs.
What may surprise some is the number of Republicans in our area also are being targeted for not being conservative enough. In the northeast corner of the state, Sen. Shadrack McGill, R-Scottsboro, will face a primary challenge from Rep. Todd Greason, R-Ider. However, because the far right considers Greason an “AEA Republican” (a designation that stamps him as ideologically impure), he is not generating much enthusiasm. Apparently, the Tea Party will back businessman Steve Livingston in what promises to be a take-no-prisoners inter-party brawl.
Closer to home, the seat held by Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Mumford, is singled out for “repopulating.” Hurst, a former Democrat, is under fire for failing the Tea Party litmus test and continuing to vote as he had before he changed parties. Though one could argue that his earlier voting record was more Republican than Democrat, that is not enough for the purists.
That Hurst is being targeted should cause other Democrats-turned-Republicans to pause and consider their own records, which just may be the message the Tea Party wants to send. Repent past ideological shortcomings, promise political purity in the future and welcome aboard. Refuse to toe the line and the Tea Party will get you.