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Hubbard becomes state GOP chairman

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Alabama House Minority Leader Mike Hubbard added the title of state Republican Party chairman on Saturday, solidifying his power within the GOP and positioning himself as a rising figure in state politics.

The State Republican Executive Committee, meeting in Montgomery, elected Hubbard without opposition to lead the party for the next two years. He replaces Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, who stepped down after two years to rejoin Gov. Bob Riley’s staff.

Riley attended the executive committee meeting to rally support for Hubbard.

“This is a young man I encouraged to get into politics a few years ago,” Riley said.

Hubbard, 45, is a three-term representative from Auburn who started his rise in Alabama politics as Riley’s floor leader in the House. Then he became House minority leader. He also served as chairman of both of Riley’s inaugural committees. Their friendship is evidenced by the name of one of Hubbard’s children: Riley.

The governor said Hubbard showed his leadership ability in the 2006 election by raising lots of money for the party and helping many legislative candidates get elected.

Cavanaugh said her successor qualifies as “one of our party’s rising superstars.” That was very evident in the last election when Democrats spent nearly $500,000 to try to defeat him, she said.

Brad Moody, a political scientist at Auburn University Montgomery, said Hubbard’s name identification is largely limited to his East Alabama district. Outside that district, “he’s best known for being tied to Riley. His fortune is tied to Riley’s,” Moody said.

William Stewart, a political scientist at The University of Alabama, said Hubbard has positioned himself to get known statewide and to emerge as a person to watch for higher office in 2010.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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