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Ala. rep shocks colleagues with racial remarks

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm •  Published: March 28, 2013

Maxwell replied that this was not the kind of response he expected from a legislator. "I'm not a racist and I find your reply to be especially offensive concerning the position you hold," he wrote.

Mitchell said he was trying to explain that someone who was descended from slaves and was disenfranchised by racial language in the state's 112-year-old constitution might have a different view of the document than someone else.

The email exchange attracted attention because many legislators were on the distribution list.

State Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead, a former legislator, said, "There is no place in civil discourse for phrases such as the ones used by Rep. Mitchell."

House Democratic leader Craig Ford of Gadsden said, "I assure you that Joseph Mitchell does not speak for Democrats or anyone else other than himself."

Bradley Davidson, executive director of the Alabama Democratic Party, issued a statement calling the remarks "inflammatory" and said Mitchell "stands alone in this matter."

Mitchell was one of the Democratic legislators who survived the 2010 election, when Republicans won more than 60 percent of the seats in the Legislature and ended 136 years of Democratic control.