Democrats across the country took the House and flipped several governorships during the midterms. It was a different story in Alabama. Democrats here lost every statewide race, and they lost five statehouse seats to Republicans. The Montgomery Advertiser recently reported the Alabama Democratic Party sat on hundreds of thousands of dollars as candidates say that money could have been used toward their campaigns. Many Alabama Democratic candidates blame their poor performance on the lack of support from the state party. Heather Milam, one of many Democrats who ran for the first time, lost the race for secretary of state to Republican incumbent John Merrill. She spoke with WBHM’s Andrew Yeager.
Little support from the Alabama Democratic Party:
“They printed a flyer for statewide candidates. How effective that is I don’t know … When we apply to be the candidate for said office that we’re seeking, we pay a fee to the respective parties that we file under to be on the primary ballot in June. Yet those fees aren’t then in turn used for that primary election in June. In fact, the state incurs all the costs for that and the local governments, of course, running those elections. So I would think that if we’re paying the parties to qualify us, to make sure we are a legitimate candidate and can, in fact, be on that ballot, some of that money should be used on behalf of those candidates, especially those ultimately in the general elections.”
Milam’s take on reports the Alabama Democratic Party had about $800,000 in funds it didn’t use:
“My reaction to that is that we need much more accountability from the party itself. This year was a historical year for the Democratic Party. We had more women running than ever before. It was an exciting year. It was worth celebrating. If only for that reason alone, I think it was worth investing in our candidacies. It would have been, I think, advantageous for the party to invest a little bit more money in helping some of these candidates get elected certainly.”
The chatter among other Democratic, mostly first-time candidates:
“The binary results that we saw from Tuesday, a lot of people are disappointed. However, I take a different approach. I think there was a net gain for all of us. We know more. We have more data. We have more information. You had more people running than ever before, many of us first-time candidates. None of us are going to back down from what we’ve learned and if anything else, we’re more determined than ever.”