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Winners and Losers of Special Election

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama garnered national and global attention from the U.S. Senate special election which vaulted Doug Jones into the U.S. Senate. There are a number of winners and losers from this election.

The foremost winner is of course Doug Jones himself.  Jones has had a stellar legal career.  He has been a U.S. Attorney, an assistant U.S. attorney, a former aide to U.S. Senator Howell Heflin (D), the successful prosecutor of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombers, and he is recognized as one of the foremost legal minds in the profession with a who’s who list of corporate and institutional clients.  He has had a stellar career; but now he is a Democrat rock star.  He walked into the heart of Trump country in the deep south and emerged victorious.  Nobody among Senate Democrats can match that accomplishment and the national press attention he has received gives him far wider popular name recognition than Senators who have served longer and have more political victories.

Social conservatives lost mightily and likely won’t ever recover from this defeat.  Roy Moore was their champion.  He denounced sodomy, abortion, same-sex marriage and urged America to “be good again.”  If elected, Moore would have been in position to influence judicial nominations that will be interpreting the Constitution for the next three decades; now Jones will be and clearly that will impact future decisions on same-sex marriage, abortion, the Second Amendment, immigration, transexuals, the role of the government, etc.  Only the President influences the future of the federal court system; than a “swing” Senator and now the GOP has just a one vote majority in the Senate.  The social conservatives (most of them from rural Alabama ) defeated the business/establishment Republicans (most of them from the suburbs and cities) in the GOP Primary and then were largely abandoned by the GOP elites on election day in the general election.

The LBGTQ community was triumphant.  Judge Roy Moore has been their nemesis for years; not just in Alabama but nationally as well.  They contributed mightily to getting him removed from his position on the Alabama Supreme Court and now they helped defeat his Senate aspirations.  Fewer and fewer preachers are denouncing sodomy from the pulpit and after Moore very few politicians will want to do it on the stump either and risk the wrath that they have been able to deliver to Moore.

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Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) ended the night in the loser category.  Ivey was probably right to set the special election this year rather than leaving it for the next election cycle but she is being second guessed now over the decision.  She also looked foolish when she said that she believed Roy’s accusers; but was still voting for Roy Moore and did not remove him from the ticket.  The decision to schedule the state Senate District 26 special election on the same day as the U.S. Senate election now looms large as a potential contributing factor to why Republicans lost. She looked awkward through all of this and that the Republican Party lost a U.S. Senate seat just eight months into her tenure is an issue that may breathe new life into the campaigns of her many 2018 challengers.

The Black community in Alabama won. Republicans have ignored them, packed them into Black dominated legislative districts, and openly laughed at their complaints and problems.  Republicans are not laughing today.  The Black voters flexed their muscles all across Alabama.  The polls all had Moore ahead by three to eight points; but that was assuming that Black voters stayed home like they did in the 2016 and 2014 elections.  There was 44 percent voters turnout in Montgomery County, much of it generated by the SD26 race energy, versus 34 percent turnout across the state.  Moore did not really have a outreach program to Black voters.  If he had just gotten 22 percent of Black voters he would have easily beaten Jones.  NBA and TV star Charles Barkley openly campaigned for Jones.  President Barack H. Obama (D) did robo-calls for Jones.  Jones campaigned on the last days with Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Selma), Senator Corey Booker (D-New Jersey), and Deval Patrick (D-Massachusetts) while Moore made some inane comments about America being its greatest prior to the Civil War.  That was twisted by his opponents to mean that America was greatest when we had slaves, a charge Moore let go unanswered.  Black turnout flipped many reliably Republican counties blue and that should put fear in the hearts of everyone in the Republican Party.

Luther Strange managed to lose yet again.  Luther should never have accepted that tainted appointment from Governor Robert Bentley (R).  It is likely that Del Marsh or Mo Brooks could have beaten Moore in the Primary; but Luther used DC lobbyist dollars and Mitch McConnell to set up a runoff between him and Moore.  Then he and his buddys spent millions trashing Moore even though every pollster, including Luther’s own tracking polls, had Moore winning the GOP runoff and emerging as the GOP nominee.  Once he squandered a small fortune and whatever good will he had left in the state and LOST convincingly to Moore; Luther then petulantly refused to endorse Roy Moore.  There are claims that GOP operatives created the whole underage women narrative and then one of them Tim Miller planted it with WAPO.  Luther could have come out and publicly demanded that the RNC and RSLC support electing the Republican nominee; but no he either stayed out of it or undermined Moore from behind the scenes.  Luther went from being a generally likable political figure to perhaps the most polarizing figure in GOP politics in Alabama, outside of Moore himself.  Luther Strange managed not only to crash and burn his once promising political career, he took out a safe GOP Senate seat, imperil the President’s judicial nominees, and cost the GOP any chance to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The Alabama Democratic Party got a win.  They have not won any statewide election since 2008 and really have not seen an energized Democratic base since that election.  Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley largely remained behind the scenes; but she inherits an energized base, a new generation of grassroots Democratic organizers that are dedicated to progressive principles and ideas, and a Republican Party that appears divided and beaten down.  Whether or not she and Democratic Candidates like Judge Sue Bell Cobb, James Fields and Walt Maddox can capitalize on this momentum is open to question.

President Donald J Trump (R) suffered a massive blow in this race.  First he opposed Moore, then he embraced Moore, then he distanced himself from Moore, and then he finally embraced Moore again.  Now he is distancing himself from Moore again; but he lost a reliable Senate vote in Luther Strange and a lot of Presidential prestige.  His support arguably did as much to energize Black voters for Jones as it did conservative voters for Moore.

This was a big win for the ‘Washington Post’.  The aging legacy newspaper has a big reputation; but a lot of that had become ancient history rather than current reality; until Amazon exec Jeff Bezos bought it for a discount a year ago.  Moore was cruising toward what should have been an easy win, until WAPO got involved by dredging up women who claimed to have been previously involved with Moore.  The move flipped the script on the election from Making America Great Again to what happened in 1979.  I find that sort of gotcha journalism sleazy and unprofessional; but the Democrats got this Senate seat largely because of their efforts.

The biggest loser had to be Judge Roy Moore himself.  If you run for office enough you will normally lose an election.  There has to be a winner and there has to be a loser in any contest, and if you count the primaries, a lot of people lost in their bid to win back this Senate seat.  Moore lost more than a cushy job.  He has been called “pedophile”, “pervert”, “child molester”, and faced a level of national ridicule and scrutiny in his personal life that far more powerful men have never experienced.  After 70 years of service in the Army, in the Vietnam War, as a prosecutor, as a judge, as Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, as the head of his Foundation, as a father, a grandfather; whatever he does in this life Moore will always be best known for the two most serious accusations against him, that if true were one time incidents 38 and 40 years ago, and if not true amounted to slander.  Few men and women would want for their lives on this Earth to be known for and judged by what they did in their darkest moments and certainly not for the worst lies their political enemies can concoct.  Judge Moore lost an election; but he also lost his good name and reputation and that might not be fixable in this life.  This kind of intensely personal attacks and charged negative political attacks is why many people do not want to go into politics.

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Opinion | Americans are better off now

Bradley Byrne

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Two years ago, I joined other Republican House members in unveiling our “Better Way” agenda. The agenda covered everything from national security to tax reform to the economy. It was a bold vision about a different path for America that wasn’t driven by a larger, more powerful federal government. Instead, we advocated for a better way where we got government out of the way and allowed the American people to flourish.

 Working with President Trump, we have held true to our promises to the American people. Two years later and with many parts of the agenda in place, we can safely say that Americans are better off now. Our communities are safer. The economy is booming. Our military is being rebuilt. Our “Better Way” is paying off.

 Our communities are safer because we have made supporting law enforcement a top priority. We have passed historic legislation to address the opioid crisis, which is having a horrible impact on communities in Alabama and throughout the country. In addition to better policy, we have invested $4 billion in grants and programs to help combat the opioid crisis.

 We passed legislation to devote more resources to school safety, and we have made real progress in the fight against human trafficking. In fact, we have seen a 60 percent decline in online advertising for sex trafficking.

Also, important to keeping our communities safe, we set aside $1.5 billion for physical barriers and technology along the southern border and provided for over 90 miles of a border wall system. Border security is national security.

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No one can deny that the American economy is booming. Just consider these numbers: 90 percent of Americans are seeing larger paychecks under our tax reform bill. 3.7 million jobs have been created since November 2016. There are 6.6 million job openings in the United States as of May 2018, meaning more jobs than job seekers. And, $4.1 billion has been saved in agency regulatory costs by rolling back burdensome government regulations.

 One of my biggest concerns during the Obama Administration was the hollowing out of our military. We had planes that couldn’t fly and ships that couldn’t sail. We were not making the continuous critical investment in our military necessary to keep up with our adversaries. Thankfully, those days are over.

 We have made the largest investment in our military in 15 years. This means 20,000 new troops, the largest pay increase for our service members since 2010, more training time, better equipment, new ships, and much more.

 On the world stage, countries know that the United States means what we say. ISIS is on the run in the Middle East, North Korea has come to the negotiating table, and China is being held accountable for their dangerous trade practices.

 Now, I want to make clear that much work remains. For example, we have to keep working to fix our broken immigration system and ensure that our borders are finally secure. We also cannot give up on our efforts to improve health care in our country. Costs remain too high and rural communities right here in Alabama are facing dangerous hospital closures.

 But, despite what some on the other side of the aisle and the national news media want you to believe, the American people are better off now than they were two years ago. That’s a testament to our pro-growth agenda, but, more importantly, it is a testament to the spirit and drive of the American people.

Want to know more? I encourage you to visit Better.gop to learn more about the various ways the American people are better off now.

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Guest Columnists

Opinion | Pro-Life Movement momentum is strong

Martha Roby

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As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have the privilege each year to advocate for the priorities most important to the people who live and work in Alabama’s Second District.  Among many other key issues, I have been proud to stand up and fight for a strong military and smart agriculture policy on this committee. On the reverse, I am also in a strong position fight against funding from being steered towards programs or organizations that I adamantly oppose. Recently when the Appropriations Committee approved our Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Fiscal Year 2019 funding bill, I had the opportunity to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves: the unborn.

As a member of the Labor-HHS Subcommittee, I am extremely proud to report that our bill passed by the full Committee includes the strong pro-life language I have fought for year after year and implements additional policy riders to defend life. Every single one of these measures is critically important and further ensures that no taxpayer dollars can be used for abortions.

Among the key pro-life provisions included in the Labor-HHS FY19 funding bill are the Hyde Amendment, which directs that no taxpayer dollars be used to fund abortions, and the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which bans Labor-HHS funding from being used on research that harms human embryos.

In addition to these longstanding pro-life measures, our bill also includes several other important pro-life provisions that continue our efforts to assign greater protections for life under the law. These measures include the Conscience Science Protection Act, which protects the rights of health care providers that do not participate in abortion.

In addition, the bill includes language that prohibits funding for fetal tissue research obtained from abortion. This measure might sound familiar because it is a direct response to the 2015 scandal that revealed how Planned Parenthood officials were systematically altering abortion procedures to preserve babies’ organs in order to sell them to researchers for profit. Planned Parenthood’s action was sick, callous, and completely inhuman.

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Finally, the bill includes language to prohibit abortion providers like Planned Parenthood from receiving any available funding, including through Title X family grants. This measure works hand-in-hand with the Trump Administration’s “Protect Life” rule, which also directs that Planned Parenthood is not eligible to receive Title X grant money. As I have said many, many times: Abortion is not family planning. Abortion is not health care. Organizations that offer these services should not receive taxpayer dollars that are intended for family planning.

Throughout my time in Congress, I have remained unapologetically pro-life. I believe life begins at conception, and our laws and policies should reflect a strong commitment to defending life at every stage. I have considered it a great privilege to have a platform with which I can serve as a voice for the voiceless.

After eight long years of coming up short pro-life victories, I am encouraged that we now have a President who supports our efforts and is willing to sign important measures into law. The pro-life movement’s momentum is strong, and I look forward to seeing it grow as we continue to impact meaningful change on behalf of the unborn. I am eager to support our Labor-HHS funding bill when it comes before the full House for a vote.

 Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama with her husband Riley and their two children.

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Guest Columnists

Opinion | Gerald Dial is a steady hand for Alabama

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Alabama’s economy is growing…but it can do so much more. The key is having the right leadership in all elected positions, people who have vision.

So far, Governor Kay Ivey has shown she has what it takes to make important changes and place our state in a position to win.

Did you know agriculture and forestry together are the biggest industry in Alabama? They contribute $70 billion each year toward the economy. Nearly 9 million acres and 600,000 Alabamians are involved in this huge business that benefits us all.

I would know; I was Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries several years back. During that time, we put Alabama’s top asset at the forefront of economic development.

John McMillian, our current commissioner who is term-limited and running for Treasurer, has done a good job, and now Alabama is at another crossroads. We need the next Ag Commissioner to find new and more ways to grow our state.

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Gerald Dial is just that person. He and I served together in the State Senate, and his Christian values and new ideas are exactly what Alabama needs right now. The key to making government work for the people is to have someone who can’t be bought but also knows how government works. Gerald Dial fits the bill, and I trust him explicitly.

Just recently Gerald Dial created a solution to a massive problem in our state – the opioid crisis. This pandemic is killing thousands of our citizens each year. Instead of sitting back and think it isn’t his problem, Gerald Dial petitioned the drug manufacturer, Kaleo, of naoxolene, an injection that can save someone experiencing an opioid overdose. The delivery device is called EVZIO.

The result is 1,744 FREE doses of an overdose-reversing drug to Alabama’s volunteer rescue squads to combat the opioid crisis. That $4 million donation to our rural first responders equates to nearly 2,000 lives that will be saved.

I could go on and on about Gerald Dial because he’s such a wonderful friend and effective public servant, but what I want to ask you is to support Gerald Dial in the July 17th Republican Primary Runoff for Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries.

The powerful special interest groups in Montgomery don’t want Gerald elected, because they are scared he won’t take marching order like their preferred candidate. I don’t know about you, but that’s all I need to know about Gerald Dial – the powerbrokers don’t want him, so I do!

Charles Bishop was a Republican member of the Alabama Senate. He represented District 5 from 2006 to 2010. The district covers portions of Winston, Walker, Tuscaloosa and Jefferson Counties. He was elected as Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries for the term 1999 to 2003. 

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Winners and Losers of Special Election

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 8 min
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