The College Republican Federation of Alabama (CRFA), consisting of 17 member chapters across the state’s colleges and universities, unanimously called for Gov. Robert Bentley to resign in light of the multiple recordings alleging an affair between the second-term governor and his longtime aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
“Whereas Governor Bentley has brought shame and embarrassment to the State of Alabama by means of local, state, and national news, as well as social media through his own self-admitted devious, immoral, and possibly illegal actions involving his married female senior top aide, not only of the sexual nature, but regarding her compensation as well as a non-state employee yet making key decisions in the governing of the state, coupled with the very questionable firings at the ALEA, all of which will likely hinder future trust in the state government of Alabama, the Republican Party, and all its branches…”
Though far from the first to call on Bentley to step down, CRFA’s resolution is the first Republican group to call decisively for the action.
There are 24 members of the CRFA executive board, made up of the chairmen of each chapter, plus seven constitutional officers. CRFA State Chairman Cole Lawson says the members of the board met via a conference call Monday evening, and the resolution was considered as new business during a regularly scheduled meeting.
“There wasn’t much discussion on it,” Lawson told Alabama Today. “It was voted on with less than two minutes of discussion. There was no fight or anything, there was no dissent. It was a unanimous resolution. I think that probably explains how we and our constituents at Alabama’s colleges feel about the situation.”
Lawson said he hopes CRFA’s action will be a catalyst for other Republican groups to act, but came short of calling on them to do so.
“The College Republican Federation of Alabama is just not willing to sit by and take a ‘seat behind’ position on this,” he said. “We all feel that the governor has certainly done a disservice to not only the state, but the Republican party, that by extension we are a branch of, and it’s this sort of thing in elected officials where we can go out and talk about how the Republican party is the party of morality, trust, and integrity, but then we have the governor of our own state right here on our home turf turning that upside own on its head, that’s just unacceptable to us.”
“We encourage him to trade in his Republican card for a Democrat card if that’s how he’s going to act,” he said.
While a request for comment from the Alabama GOP was not immediately returned, Chairman Terry Lathan said in a statement last week the organization is “very disappointed in the news that unfolded this week concerning Governor Bentley’s personal conduct. The public expects our elected officials to act in an honorable manner. Governor Bentley’s apology to our state was the minimum action needed to begin a healing process for us all.It is up to him now to earn back our trust, not in words but in actions.”
“While we do not know if this storyline is finished,” she continued, “we do know that Alabama deserves the best from all who volunteer in public service, take an oath of office and ask for our support. Nothing less will be acceptable.”
With Bentley maintaining he has no intention of stepping down, and no statewide recall mechanism currently in place, short of a felony conviction, it would remain in the hands of the Alabama State Legislature to remove the governor from office.