Political unrest growing in Alabama

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Political chaos is emerging in Alabama. Both of the state's primary parties are experiencing their own set of serious troubles.

On one hand, you have a Republican party fighting amongst itself and on the other hand, you have a Democratic party split by financial troubles.

Currently, Alabama's Republican Party seems to be divided by differences of opinion after two high profile arguments broke out in recent days.

One of those arguments happened right here in Huntsville, when the party censured state school board member Mary Scott Hunter because of her support for the "Common Core" curriculum.

In response to these issues, Madison County Republican Chairman John Como says "we are victims of our own success." However, he says all the discord does not mean the party is in turmoil.

Over the past few years, state Republicans have successfully captured the majority in Montgomery. Now the party is fighting a different battle, this time from within.

Como says the party can't seem to come to an agreement on several key issues such as gay marriage and the disagreements are causing a division.

He believes a generational gap is to blame. Older Republicans are sticking to their traditional conservative values, while younger Republicans seem to be more moderate.

"If you don't sit down and talk about it, it's not only going to become an issue, it's going to become a festering infection and it's going to destroy you. We need to as a party sit down and discuss this and see if we can come up with a compromise," said Como.

Meantime, Alabama's Democratic Party is experiencing its own set of woes.

To begin with, Democrats have suffered whopping losses to the Republican Party in the legislature.

The party is also struggling with severe financial troubles and could be facing bankruptcy. Recently the party has sort of split, after former Chairman Mark Kennedy stepped down to create a separate organization called the Alabama Democratic Majority.

Despite the problems, Madison County Democrats are remaining optimistic. Local chairman Clete Wetli chalks up these troubles to growing pains that he believes that party will prevail.

He believes state Democrats will gain voters due to unrest with state Republicans and he says the new Democratic Majority is just what the official Democratic party needs.

"That new organization is busy and it's active. It's been all throughout the state, doing the kind of grassroots activities we really need. Already they have been active in registering literally thousands of votes and getting the message out there," said Wetli.

WAFF 48's political analyst Dr. Waymon Burke says the unrest in both parties could be an issue in the next election. He believes it will drive down voter turnout.

"I feel it leads to cynicism among voters, many of whom don't really identify with either party. That's not good for Democrats, Republicans, liberals, or conservatives," explained Burke.

He says despite obvious rifts in the GOP, the Republican Party does not show any signs of losing its legislative stronghold in the next election.

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