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AL-01 Candidates Sound-Off on Syria

Lee Hedgepeth

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By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter

MOBILE— As the resolution for limited military action proposed by President Obama slowly makes its way through Congress, candidates for the 1st Congressional District have been sounding off on what they think is the appropriate role for the US to play in Syria. Alabama Political Reporter contacted all of the candidates for comment, and below are their responses.

The only candidate not to respond was Democrat Lula Albert-Kaigler, who could not be reached.

Bradley Byrne (R): “The President has not convinced me there is a justifiable reason for the United States to get involved in Syria. Before we spend American tax dollars fighting in another country’s civil war across the globe, I’d like to see that money spent here at home on critical projects like additional spans of I-10 across Mobile Bay which solve a major national and local problem.”

Quin Hillyer (R): “The humanitarian crisis in Syria is heart-rending. Unfortunately, if we apply the Reagan/Weinberger Doctrine, we see no clear and obvious objectives or endgames. Unless such objectives become very well defined, I would stay out. Meanwhile, the safety of Israel should be a paramount consideration.”

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Wells Griffith (R): “We cannot deny what is happening in Syria is a humanitarian tragedy on a massive scale. Unfortunately, like so many issues, this has turned in to a public affairs exercise for President Obama after showing zero leadership on a destabilizing Middle East.
President Obama owes the American people an explanation about what his intentions are in regards to Syria. The President has failed to lay out a coherent policy in regards to Syria and the Middle East as a whole, and as a result our standing in the region has been weakened. I am thankful that President Obama has respected the Constitution and sought the approval of Congress, but I believe that before any vote can occur we must have a clear assessment of the facts and proposed solutions in the best interests of America.”

“As your representative I will always look out for the safety of our men and women in uniform and base decisions on American interests at home and abroad. While much of the information being reviewed by elected leaders remains classified, I look forward to a transparent and robust debate in the congress before any vote.”

Chad Fincher (R): “I have very serious reservations and concerns about the United States invading Syria. As a congressman, before I would ever vote to send our men and women into harm’s way there would have to be a clear objective and a concrete exit strategy in place which I believe our President has not yet provided to Congress regarding an invasion into Syria.”

Sharon Powe (R): “Based on the alleged information related to the chemical gas attack of
Syria, I believe that those details are not justification for the US to conduct any type of reprisal attack on the Syrian government at this time. Furthermore, if such reprisal attacks are deemed necessary, those attacks should be authorized by the US Congress and our allies to include
countries in the Arab league. We do not need our intelligence leading us into another ‘weapons of mass destruction’ episode.”

David “Thunder” Thornton (R): “A brief answer to the question of whether we should go into Syria at the present time is ‘No.’ Our nation’s leaders have numerous times, both recently and even farther in the past, formulated plans and carried out intervention due to their poor diplomatic strategy. We seem to be led into these situations by individuals who feel military force is a problem solver and do not know how to deal with long range problems.”

“There needs to be a diplomatic plan using our nation’s integrity as a strength in negotiations. By repeatedly using military force as a solution undermines our nation’s integrity and reduces the respect we have from the nations of the world. There are times to use military force as a means of last resort but it should not be used where it compounds and does not solve a particular conflict.”

Daniel Dyas (R): Candidate Dyas asked the Alabama Political Reporter that his comments be published only in whole; due to their length, and controversy over their substance, his full statement appears in this article.

Jessica James (R): “No. The U.S. should not intervene in Syria.”

Dean Young (R): “At this moment, from where I’m sitting and what I know, which is very limited, I do not think we should intervene in Syria. Our Constitution gives the power to declare war to the U.S. Congress not Barak Hussein Obama. The U.S. Congress should receive a full briefing on exactly what is happening and why the president thinks we should go to war.”

James Hall (I): “I must preface my answer with a caveat: Currently, I have zero inside information on what could be a positive outcome of intervention in Syria. The only information that I am privy to is what I can glean from news outlets.”

“With that being said, I am not in favor of military action in Syria. The administration is trying to justify a strike by essentially saying that the United States is the world’s police force. I am totally opposed to that premise. I do not see any single positive outcome for us. Nothing that we do in Syria will lead to any advancement on the war on terror, economic benefits, or future political influence in the region. There are many possible negative outcomes which ultimately could result in another global conflict. With the information that I have now, I am opposed to any action in Syria.”

Burton Leflore: (D): “The United States should not intervene in Syria at this time. However, Congress should send a clear an unequivocal message to Syria and the world that the United States will get involved if there is further use of chemical warfare.”

Leflore responded in a more in depth fashion on Syria in an Alabama Political Reporter interview, which can be seen here:

Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution for the use of limited force in Syria, 10-7. The Senate will soon have a vote on the floor. Debate continues in the House, with classified briefings for members scheduled throughout the next few days. Obama has not ruled out the possibility of a limited military strike even without authorization from Congress.

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Elections

Attorney General Steve Marshall defeats Troy King for GOP nomination

Brandon Moseley

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Republican voters went to the polls and elected Steve Marshall as the Republican nominee for Alabama Attorney General.

Marshall was appointed as District Attorney by then Governor Don Siegelman (D).

Tuesday night Marshall thanked his supporters and his team and said that there would be a new vision for Alabama going forward.

“What reaffirms me is I’m not going to do this alone,” Marshall said. “I’m with amazing warriors that have a passion to help the people of this state. I can tell you tonight they are ready to go to work and I’m ready to let them go, let them at it.”

Marshall said in a statement, “Before almost every athletic event in which I competed, the last words from my father were always “don’t leave anything on the field.” I can say with certainty that, in this campaign, we have left it all on the field. I remain forever grateful for all the volunteers who have devoted countless hours over the course of the last 13 months and the dedicated staff who worked on the campaign. We have given Alabama a clear choice. And, I am steadfast in the belief that God is sovereign and He is good in the result.”

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The race pitted the current Attorney General Steve Marshall versus former Attorney General Troy King.
King was appointed Attorney General by former Governor Bob Riley (R) in 2004. He was elected to his own term in 2006; but was defeated in the 2010 Republican primary by lobbyist Luther Strange.

Steve Marshall was appointed as AG by then Gov. Robert Bentley (R) after appointing Strange to the U.S. Senate. Marshall was the District Attorney of Marshall County for many years. He switched to the Republican Party in 2011.

Troy King campaigned vowing, “We have got to take this state back from the grips of violent crime.” King described himself as the only Republican running in this Republican runoff and he had support from many prominent conservatives, most notably retired Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore who sent out 50,000 letters of endorsement to his most committed supporters across the seat. Trump advisor Roger Stone flew in Monday to endorse King and prominent Trump backer Perry Hooper Jr. also endorsed King.

None of it helped. Republicans voted to stick with Marshall. As of press with 100% of precints reporting: Marshall had 211,562 votes 62 percent. Troy King had just 129,409 votes 38 percent.

Marshall was supported by most of the business groups in Alabama and he was endorsed by 41 of the 42 district attorneys.

Steve Marshall raised $3,233,610 in contributions much of it from out of state plus $20,215 in in-kind contributions, outraising Troy King by over a million. King raised $2,225,663 plus $16,218 in in-kind contributions.

King has accused Marshall of using the Republican Attorney General’s Association (RAGA) to skirt Alabama’s 2010 law banning PAC to PAC transfers. Marshall says that since RAGA is not Alabama based the PAC to PAC transfer ban law does not apply to them. King filed a lawsuit; but the Montgomery judges dismissed the lawsuit saying that he does not have jurisdiction over RAGA as it is out of state.

Marshall defended his campaign in an interview with WSFA TV Montgomery.

“We have followed the rules and done the right thing,” Marshall said. On King’s lawsuit Marshall said, “I think it was a desperate act for a candidate that was losing. Nothing that we have done is inconsistent with Alabama law.”

RAGA contributed over $700,000 to Marshall’s campaign.

“RAGA and those Republican attorney generals are fighting a very important fight in this country,” Marshall said. “I don’t have any regrets in this campaign.”

King conceded that Marshall won the election but did not drop his complaint with the Alabama Ethics Complaint over the RAGA money, which King claims may have come from Mississippi gaming interests and pharmaceutical companies regulated by the AG.

Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) Chair and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge congratulated Marshall in a statement:

“What a great night for Steve Marshall and the people of Alabama,” Rutledge said. “Steve is a dedicated conservative who has always stood for the rule of law and defended the Constitution. A fierce advocate for Alabama, Steve is also an incredibly decent man.”

“Steve Marshall is completely committed to serving his state and tomorrow he will wake-up and get right back to work. Steve will continue to combat opioids and violent crime,” Rutledge added. “He will continue to fight for Alabama families. RAGA is proud to stand with Steve Marshall – a big congratulations to my friend and colleague on his victory tonight.”

Marshall suffered the loss of his wife, Bridgette, just last month. When asked how her suicide affected the race Marshall said, “People see me more now as a person than as a political figure and know that we suffer too.”

Marshall will now face Joseph Siegelman (D) in the November 6 general election.

 

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Elections

Will Ainsworth captures GOP nomination for lieutenant governor, toppling Twinkle Cavanaugh

Chip Brownlee

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State Rep. Will Ainsworth, a first-term newcomer to Montgomery and rising voice within the Alabama Republican Party, has captured the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, outpacing longtime ALGOP official and Public Service Commission President Twinkle Cavanaugh.

The Associated Press called the race for Ainsworth. At the time of publication, Ainsworth had 51.49 percent of the vote to Cavanaugh’s 48.51 percent.

Both candidates advanced to the runoff after neither received 50 percent of the vote in June’s primary.

Ainsworth’s victory comes after a contentious runoff race that included heated political ads and attacks from both camps. Ainsworth painted Cavanaugh as a Montgomery insider, zeroing in on her tenure on the PSC, while Cavanaugh hit Ainsworth on a petty theft conviction from his days in college.

Ainsworth spent the last few days ahead of Tuesday’s primary traveling around the state with a fake tiger and boat, countering Cavanaugh’s claims that he had been arrested for the theft of several tigers used for fundraising in Auburn in 2002 and for a boating incident in 2001.

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With the fake tiger and boat behind him, Ainsworth said Cavanaugh distorted the facts. He downplayed his 2002 felony theft arrest as a college prank gone wrong. He also disputed that he had ever been arrested for driving an unregistered boat.

While Cavanaugh’s campaign said Ainsworth had been arrested and jailed for the boating incident, Ainsworth released a note from Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips that said Ainsworth had never been jailed for his boating violation. Instead, Ainsworth pleaded guilty to the charge and paid about $130 in fines and court costs.

And the felony theft charge — a class B felony — was later dismissed without prosecution after Ainsworth performed community service. He was 20 and in college at Auburn at the time of the arrest.

The battle for the lieutenant governor’s race focused in large part on South Alabama, where Ainsworth picked up numerous endorsements in the Mobile area. State Sen. Rusty Glover, who was also seeking the nomination, picked up a plurality of the vote in Baldwin and Mobile County in June’s runoff.

Ainsworth will face Democratic nominee Will Boyd, who ran unopposed in last month’s Democratic primary.

Ainsworth labeled Cavanaugh as a Montgomery insider throughout the campaign. She spent several years as ALGOP chairwoman after being elected to that position in 2005 and has been PSC president since 2012.

Cavanaugh initially planned to run for governor before Gov. Kay Ivey formally announced her intention to seek a full-term. Cavanaugh switched to the lieutenant governor’s race in August, APR first reported.

Elected in 2014, Ainsworth made a name for himself as a conservative bulwark, sponsoring legislation during the last legislative session that would have allowed teachers to be armed in Alabama public schools. He introduced the legislation after a mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school took the lives of more than a dozen students.

The legislation was met with intense opposition by Democrats and a lukewarm reception from his Republican colleagues and leadership in both chambers.

Ainsworth has branded himself as a Montgomery outsider, promising to clean up ethical lapses among the state’s leadership and fight corruption. He backed Articles of Impeachment against former Gov. Robert Bentley and sponsored legislation that would allow for a public vote to recall state elected officials.

Ainsworth and Boyd will face off in the general election in November.

 

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Elections

Roby beats Bright again

Josh Moon

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It’s like 2010 all over again.

Rep. Martha Roby won the Republican runoff for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional district on Tuesday, knocking off Bobby Bright, a former Congressman and Montgomery mayor. Bright held the seat as a Democrat in 2010 when Roby pulled off a surprising upset.

On Tuesday, she was the incumbent, but the results were the same, if more lopsided.

Watched nationally as a possible referendum on President Trump and his influence in red state elections — Roby had stated publicly that she would not vote for Trump following the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape prior to the 2016 presidential election — that angle was largely moot following an endorsement by Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Not to mention, Bright, the longtime Democrat, wasn’t exactly a more conservative option who might attract voters swayed by criticism of Trump.

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Roby won easily, pulling in 68 percent of the vote.

“I’m deeply humbled by the confidence the people of the 2nd district have shown in me,” Roby said following her win, at times holding back tears. “It means so much to me.”

Roby also repeatedly thanked Trump and Mike Pence for their endorsements in recent weeks and said she was looking forward to continuing to work with the White House on several issues.

“The (2016) campaign is over and we’re governing,” Roby said of her criticism of the now-president. “Of course I want (Trump) to be successful. When he’s successful, we’re all successful. I look forward to continuing to work with them. We have a shared conservative agenda with the White House.”

For his part, Bright said during a TV interview with WSFA that the endorsements and special interest money were the deciding factors.

“It’s awfully hard to fight the president and vice president and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and all the other special interests out there,” Bright said. “We did our best. It wasn’t enough.”

Roby will now face Democratic challenger Tabitha Isner in the general election in November.

 

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AL-01 Candidates Sound-Off on Syria

by Lee Hedgepeth Read Time: 5 min
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