Former Rep. Jeff McLaughlin to seek re-election to House District 27 seat

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Former Rep. Jeff McLaughlin speaks on the Alabama House floor on Feb. 17, 2004.  McLaughlin announced Tuesday he planned to seek the seek he lost in 2010.  (Montgomery Advertiser, Julie Bennett)

Former Rep. Jeff McLaughlin speaks on the Alabama House floor on Feb. 17, 2004. McLaughlin announced Tuesday he planned to seek the seat he lost in 2010. (Montgomery Advertiser, Julie Bennett)

Former Rep. Jeff McLaughlin, D-Guntersville, announced Tuesday he would seek to return to the House District 27 seat he lost in the GOP landslide of 2010.

“After the past three years, I decided to run for the state legislature again because it’s hard for me to sit by and watch while some bad things have happened, and good things which ought to be happening just haven’t been,” McLaughlin said in a statement.

During his time in the Legislature, McLaughlin was known for two things: Self-funding his political campaigns, and pushing for PAC-to-PAC reform. The practice allowed politicians and operatives to move money through many political action committees before donating to a candidate; the transfers often made it difficult to determine the source of many candidates’ funding.

Virtually every year between 2003 and 2010, McLaughlin introduced a bill that would ban the practice, setting in motion a process that repeated itself each session. The House of Representatives would approve the measure and send it to the Senate, where the bill would either languish or go through so many amendments it proved unacceptable to McLaughlin and other supporters.

Following McLaughlin’s 53 to 47 percent loss to current Rep. Wes Long, R-Guntersville, in 2010, the Republican-controlled Legislature formally approved a ban on PAC-to-PAC transfers in a special session. The legislation was named after McLaughlin and current U.S. Rep Mike Rogers, R-Anniston, who had supported the ban before his election to Congress.

Long announced earlier this year he would not run for re-election. Will Ainsworth, owner of the Dream Ranch, a hunting and fishing lodge in Guntersville, is seeking the seat as a Republican. Neither Ainsworth nor McLaughlin have filed campaign finance reports yet.

McLaughlin said in his statement that if elected, he would focus on education, ethics reform and infrastructure improvement.

– posted by Brian Lyman

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