- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Republicans in the Alabama House of Representatives said they are supporting Mike Hubbard for a second term as speaker despite his indictment last month on ethics charges.

The 72-member House Republican Caucus met Thursday and afterward issued a statement saying that members voted to support Hubbard for another term at the helm of the House of Representatives. The caucus did not announce a vote split.

The full House of Representatives, both Democrats and Republicans, will officially select a speaker in January when representatives meet in an organizational session. The vote has traditionally been a rubber stamp of the majority party’s choice.

Representatives declined to discuss the meeting after they left.

Hubbard was indicted last month on 23 felony ethics charges accusing him of using his public offices for personal gain.



The Auburn Republican has maintained his innocence and called the charges politically motivated.

“I’m not going to let any outside forces determine who the representative is for District 79 or who the speaker is,” Hubbard said last month.

Some members flocked to support Hubbard, who held a news conference with supporters that bordered on being a pep rally a day after his arrest.

However, Republican Rep. Jim Carns of Mountain Brook said last month that, while he appreciated the work Hubbard had done for the party, he predicted there would be serious debate “on whether or not someone who is indicted on 23 felony counts is in a position to do everything that needs to be done as an effective speaker.”

Carns on Thursday declined to say if he sought the speakership or what transpired during the meeting.

“They’ve asked us to keep it quiet so I’m going to have to abide by the party rules,” Carns said.

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley, who campaigned for GOP candidates before the election, on Wednesday said he was not pushing to keep, or remove, Hubbard from the speaker’s chair.

“I’m going to leave that up to the House. I try to help those guys get elected, but it is a different branch of government. I believe in their right as a branch of government to make their decisions,” Bentley said.

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