- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Two women who have been involved in Republican politics in Alabama for many years are running for the chairmanship of the state GOP.

Former state Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin of Indian Springs announced her candidacy Monday. Mobile County GOP Chair Terry Lathan sent letters to party members during the weekend saying she will run.

The current chairman, former state Sen. Bill Armistead, announced last week that he will not seek another term when the party’s executive committee meets in Montgomery on Feb. 21 to elect the leadership for the next two years. Armistead has spent four years as the leader of the political party that dominates all three branches of state government and holds all but one seat in Alabama’s delegation in Washington.

McClurkin served 16 years in the Legislature before deciding to not run again this year. She passed legislation that required abortion clinics to inform women about the development of the fetus and to use doctors who have approval to admit patients to nearby hospitals.

Lathan, a former school teacher, spent the past four years as the party chair for Mobile County and has worked in GOP campaigns for 30 years.

Both women have served on the party’s state executive committee for at least 20 years.

Lathan said her leadership of the party in Alabama’s second-largest county has given her experience in dealing with candidates, fundraising and media. She said that as a party leader, she has called out candidates who don’t share Republican principles but run in the Republican primary because it is easier to get elected.

“I’m a real advocate for guarding our gates,” she said.

McClurkin said her political experience and her financial background running a propane gas company would help Republicans maintain their majority status in state government and elect a GOP president in 2016.

“As party chairman, I will work to ensure that Alabama does its part to elect a conservative Republican president in 2016 so we can begin dismantling the dangerous socialist policies that Barack Obama has enacted over the past eight years,” she said.

The state GOP chairmanship is an unpaid position.

The Alabama Democratic Party is currently led by a woman, former Secretary of State Nancy Worley.

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