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Pitt taking hits for GOP landslide

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–It was what might be called a knee-jerk reaction. On Nov. 2 there were five statewide races which pitted Democrats against Republicans–the U. S. Senate seat, three seats on the State Supreme Court, one of the Court of Civil Appeals.
The final score: Republicans 5, Democrats 0.
After this debacle the knee jerked–which was primarily due to the George Bush sweep of Alabama…a clamor has arisen from some major Alabama Democrats. They want to give the boot to State Party Chairman Redding Pitt.
A quartet of Democrat heavyweights-Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley, House Speaker Seth Hammett, Senate President Pro Tem Lowell Barron and Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks–issued a joint statement demanding that Pitt be given the boot.
Contending that Pitt "does not serve our interests," the four called on the State Democratic Executive Committee to call an election in December to elect a new chairman.
If they thought Pitt would roll over and play dead they best think again. The former U. S. Attorney made it clear he had no intention of stepping down on his own, insisting he intended to serve out his term which expires in January 2007.
At least one Democrat came to the aid of the party chief. Congressman Artur Davis said that Democrats critical of Pitt were missing the point in blaming him for the beating Democrats took in Alabama on Nov. 2.
"The reason we are losing is very simple," Davis said. "Our ideas have not been good enough."
A sidebar to this controversy–Pitt has been a long time close associate of former Gov. Don Siegelman. In fact it was Siegelman's support which resulted in Pitt being elected party chair.
It may be significant that Siegelman has not spoken out on the controversy now surrounding Pitt.
And while I am on the subject of Siegelman, some of you outside the Montgomery area might not know that on election night the former governor served as what is called a "color commentator" in the election coverage on the CBS station in Montgomery, WAKA-TV.
It took only the constitutional minimum of five legislative days to pass the measures which hopefully will cut the costs by about $60 million a year.
At first glance that might seem like a significant cut, but it is less so when you consider that the total costs of providing this coverage is expected to top $1 billion a year in the near future.
It was a step in the right direction, but much bigger and more painful cuts are destined in the future…or higher taxes.
A new state law requires an automatic recount when an election is decided by less than one-half of one percent of the total vote.
There were some 1,380,000 votes cast on this amendment and it was rejected by a margin of only 2,494 votes, which is well within the one-half of one per cent requirement.
The intent of the amendment was to delete racist language from the constitution but late in the campaign opponents warned it also might open to the door for judges to raise taxes for education.
It was this concern about taxes, which no doubt resulted in the rejection of the amendment.
Plans are already afoot to include the amendment on the next constitutional referendum ballot.