With Super Tuesday a little over a month away, and November’s general election just over the horizon, the Alabama Republican Party is making moves to ensure that its candidates stay in power in the state and in Washington.
“We believe there will be a rush of voters,” said Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan. “People are angry and the strength of conservative voters will trickle down to every other race. We’re one of the reddest states in the nation, so we’re not going to let our guard down.”
Lathan, who has been a lifelong Republican and chairwoman of the state party since February of last year, noted that presidential elections draw the largest number of voters in the two-year election cycle.
According to Lathan, the most important issues for Alabama voters are foreign policy, the economy, illegal immigration and taxes – issues relevant in state and national elections.
“People have not bought into the ‘we don’t have enough, we need more’ idea,” Lathan said about the state’s ongoing budget concerns. “Voters aren’t believing it.”
Lathan noted that social issues, such as gay marriage and abortion, are on the minds of conservative voters as well, but she believes that Alabama Republican Party has made its case on those issues in Alabama’s legislative houses.
“We have some of the strictest laws in the nation on abortion, with more to come,” Lathan said. “We’ve made ourselves very clear on these issues.”
Despite specific causes that seemingly bind all conservative voters, Lathan believes that the most important thing is that voters run to the polls on election days and remain involved with those they elect.
“Voters are people who need to speak loud and clear to their representatives,” Lathan said. “Going to vote is only half of our job as citizens. I hope people will continue to be embedded in our process.
“I hear a lot of chatter made about backroom deals to pick a presidential candidate. There’s no backroom, no smoking cigars, no fat cats making decisions. That’s nonsense. If you go vote, you’re part of the decision-making process.”
Though the Alabama Republican Party won’t endorse any candidate for national or state office, Lathan said she thinks incumbent Sen. Richard Shelby has done an “excellent” job.
“He has been a champion of conservative causes,” Lathan said. “His votes have proved it.”
Lathan noted that the Republican Party, in Alabama and across the country, is working to attract young and minority voters, an effort made difficult by the “liberal media.” Lathan said the Republican National Committee has established a database of voters, which it shares with all state parties, that can pinpoint voters “almost to where we know the name of their dog.”
“I think, no matter the color of your skin or the age on your driver’s license, we as Americans care about the same things,” Lathan said. “This year, in 2016, the nation is going to hear us roar.”
Lathan said she thinks 2016 will be a “record-breaking year for the Republican electorate to turn out.”
“Any day of the week, it’s better to have a Republican than a Democrat, period,” Lathan said. “I think our country needs us now more than ever.”