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Twinkle says she’s ready

Bill Britt



Steady determination mixed with Southern savvy and hard-won grit have led Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh to the brink of becoming Alabama’s lieutenant governor.

Of course, she will first need to get past State Rep. Will Ainsworth and State Sen. Rusty Glover in the Republican primary on June 5.

But Cavanaugh believes her message of smaller government, fewer government regulations and job growth is on target with the Republican base that she must have on her side in the upcoming ALGOP primary. And Twinkle says she’s ready.


Like Cher, Madonna and Pink, everyone knows her by a single name. No qualifying last name is needed to identify her as a veteran of Republican politics, just Twinkle.

In a recent interview with the Alabama Political Reporter, Twinkle listed cutting the size of government, attracting good-paying jobs and better education as top priorities if elected Lt. Governor.

She currently serves as president of the state’s Public Service Commission – a position she wrestled away from the state’s last statewide elected Democrat.

“I’m running to cut the size of government…to fight for our Alabama values and good paying jobs,” said Twinkle. “We need to make this an economically friendly environment, we need to have our children educated for the workforce,” she further explained. “As you know, the government doesn’t create a job, but we can get out of the way and let jobs flourish.”

In her campaign commercials, as in her private life, Twinkle freely discusses her Christian faith, pro-life stance and her support of the Second Amendment. She is also a strong advocate for education, especially making sure that the state’s children are prepared to enjoy a productive life after graduation. “We take care of our teachers, and we’ve got to make sure that we have strong training – we’ve got to start strong for our children, and then we’ve got to finish strong when they graduate.”

She says whether a student is college bound or wants to learn a trade, the key is a robust education system that works for everyone.

“We need more than a one-size-fits-all educations system,” she said. “If they want the college track to be an engineer or a doctor, or an accountant or a nurse, then that’s great. But if they also want to be a skills laborer, let’s make sure we have that track for them.”

Twinkle emphasizes that the goal is for young people to be able to have a career path that works for them, “so that they can get out, find a good-paying job, and be productive citizens in our state.”

She says that conservatives must also look for how they can lower taxes and put “more money in the mommies’ and daddies’ pockets.” As an example of how tax cuts benefit working families, she points to the recent rate cut at Alabama Power approved by the PSC.

“This is the whole reason I put on my sneakers and went door to door for Donald Trump in a battleground state,” said Twinkle. “His massive tax cuts have allowed us to return $337 million to Alabama families today.”

In December 2017, Congress approved and President Trump signed into law a historical Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that, according to the White House, brings real relief to American families and businesses. The PSC Commission’s vote guarantees that Alabama Power’s 1.4 million customers will reap a significant windfall from the president’s tax plan.

Starting in July, a typical residential customer for Alabama Power will see monthly bills reduced by more than $9. The reduction to all customers’ bills totals $257 million through the rest of 2018. Customers will see their bills reduced by another $50 million in 2019, due to tax reform.

Public Service Commission votes to save Alabama Power customers mega-millions 

Twice in recent memory, the state’s sitting governor has been removed from office, which means the Lt. Governor must be prepared to step into that role as current Gov. Kay Ivey did when Gov. Robert Bentley stepped down just over a year ago.

Twinkle, while wishing whoever serves as governor good health and success, says she is ready if elected Lt. Governor. “Obviously I always pray for our leaders and for our governor to do well, but twice in the last 30 years, the Lt. Governor has been called on to take the lead,” Twinkle said. “I’m running for the second-string quarterback. I realize I’m not running for governor; I’m running for lieutenant governor. But as I speak all around the state, I remind people that the National Championship, just this last year, was won by the second-string quarterback.” She also notes that last year’s Super Bowl championship team was lead by the second-string quarterback.

Serving as the first woman to chair the state’s Republican Party, and having worked in the cabinet as well as her position on the PSC, has given her the training to tackle the state’s top job.

“I also believe there is a triangle of leadership. It’s the governor and the Senate pro-tem, and the speaker,” she said. “And you’ve got to have a lieutenant governor that can work with those people, and I will work with those people to make sure that the voices throughout our state are heard.”


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A case of mistaken candidate identity could embarrass the ALGOP

Josh Moon



It’s one of the oddest, and most embarrassing, cases of mistaken identity in recent Alabama political history.

According to recent polling, James Bonner is leading Jeremy Oden in a race for a seat on the Alabama Public Service Commission.

No, not that James Bonner.


It doesn’t matter which James Bonner you were thinking of, it’s a different guy.

This Bonner — the one who resides in Bear Creek and who has never held public office despite several attempts — is set to embarrass the ALGOP like few other candidates.

On Monday, APR editor in chief Bill Britt wrote about a number of highly offensive Facebook posts by Bonner, including posting a Valentine’s Day card that read: “My love for u burns like 6,000 Jews.” There are other posts about strippers and an old blog post that inexplicably uses a racist rhyme.

Yet, because voters — mainly voters in south Alabama — are confusing James Bonner with a longtime congressman, he’s running neck and neck in the GOP primary.

“What makes this particular race so interesting is that Jim Bonner is benefiting greatly from having the same last name as the former Congressman Jo Bonner and his well-known sister, former Judy Bonner,” noted pollster and Cygnal president Brent Buchanan told Britt. “This is borne out by the fact that in the Mobile media market Bonner leads Oden by 28 percent to 6 percent, a 4-to-1 ratio.”

Should James from Bear Creek manage to pull off this “Distinguished Gentleman,” it could be a disaster for the ALGOP. Because his problems go well beyond a few offensive Facebook posts.

Bonner has filed multiple bankruptcies, has been cited by the IRS for failing to pay his federal income taxes for several years and owes his ex-wife more than $40,000 in back alimony. He also claimed during his most recent bankruptcy proceedings in 2016 that he is too disabled to work, and thus avoid paying his full alimony payments, yet he’s been able-bodied enough to run for public office five times over the last eight years.

And it gets worse.

Bonner entered into a bankruptcy agreement to repay his debts, which totaled into the six figures, and then he failed to pay the agreed-upon bankruptcy payments. That failure resulted in his bankruptcy agreement being dismissed — an extremely rare action by the courts and one that could see him face criminal charges over his back taxes.

And that’s not the end of it.

His campaign finance reports are also a mess. Most of his forms have been filed hopelessly late and are filled with incorrect info. He also has failed to report a single donation — outside of a loan he made to his campaign fund — to any of his various campaigns.

Following APR’s initial report on Monday, Bonner began scrubbing his Facebook page clean of the offensive posts. In response to the story, which he linked, he claimed his various offensive posts were made “make liberals angry.” He did not deny making any of the posts.

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Poll shows Maddox pulling ahead in race for Democratic nomination

Chip Brownlee



With endorsements from heavyweight Democratic groups like the New South Coalition’s campaign arm and the Alabama Democratic Conference, the Democratic party appears to be coalescing around Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox ahead of the June 5 primary.

A new poll released by the Maddox campaign Tuesday backs up what the endorsements hint: Maddox appears to be pulling ahead of challengers Sue Bell Cobb, a former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and James Fields, a former state representative from Cullman County.

Former gubernatorial aide Doug “New Blue” Smith and Dothan activist Christopher Countryman are also seeking the nomination.


The poll — conducted by Mississippi-based Chism Strategies for the Maddox campaign — shows Maddox capturing 68 percent of likely voters surveyed ahead of the Democratic primary election.

Cobb and Fields trail behind Maddox in the poll by a 5.6-to-1 and 11-to-1 advantage among those who expressed support for a candidate, respectively, according to the poll results provided.

“Numbers don’t lie — Walt is on a fast track to a substantial victory in the primary,” said Chip Hill, a spokesman for the Maddox campaign. “The people of Alabama, especially younger voters, are finding Walt and his message very attractive.  He will most definitely be a force to be reckoned with in November.”

From May 15 to May 17, 13,601 likely Democratic voters were interviewed by live callers, according to the Chism Strategies results released.

The Alabama Democratic Conference — long considered one of the main gatekeepers in Alabama Democratic politics and one of the most powerful and active black political groups in the state— officially threw their support behind Maddox on Saturday.

Maddox has received a number of endorsements in the race for governor including from Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin last week.

A number of key Democratic lawmakers in the state — from State Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, and State Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa — have also backed Maddox.

A Democrat hasn’t been elected governor in Alabama since former Gov. Don Siegelman’s victory in 1998. Democrats in Alabama are hoping that recent momentum from Sen. Doug Jones’ election last year could help a Democrat upend the GOP’s hold on most statewide elected positions.

While Maddox is a newcomer to state politics, Cobb has experience in statewide races. Her election as supreme court chief justice in 2006 cost millions and achieved national notoriety as a Democratic victory during a time of Republican takeovers in the South.

Cobb has had trouble getting traditional Democratic groups to back her campaign. Members of the Alabama New South Coalition and its political arm, the New South Alliance, expressed concern during their endorsement vote over Cobb’s resignation as chief justice and a letter she wrote backing President Donald Trump’s nomination of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

When Cobb resigned in 2011, she was the top statewide elected Democrat left. Only Public Service Commission President Lucy Baxley remained after Cobb quit.

Both the Alabama Democratic Conference and the New South Coalition have strong voter outreach and get-out-the-vote operations that could work to Maddox’s advantage in the June 5 primary.

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Manufacture Alabama makes endorsements

Brandon Moseley



Friday, Manufacture Alabama announced several endorsements for the upcoming primaries.

“Alabama’s Primary Election is June 5. Many Manufacture Alabama endorsed candidates have tough primary elections. It is crucial that you get out and vote on June 5. There have been many significant races over the years that have been decided in close primaries or run-offs,” the group said in a statement.

Manufacture Alabama Endorsed Candidates include:


Governor: Kay Ivey (R)
Lieutenant Governor: Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh (R)
Attorney General: Steve Marshall (R)
Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries: Gerald Dial (R)
Treasurer: John McMillan (R)
Alabama Public Service Commission, Place 1: Jeremy Oden (R)
Alabama Public Service Commission, Place 2: Chris “Chip” Beeker Jr. (R)

State Senate Races
Senate District 2: Tom Butler, R-Madison.
Senate District 3: Mike Sparks (R)
Senate District 7: Sam Givhan, R-Huntsville.
Senate District 8: incumbent Steve Livingston , R-Scottsboro.
Senate District 12: incumbent Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston.
Senate District 21: incumbent Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa.
Senate District 34: Jack W. Williams, R-Wilmer.

State House Races
House District 10: incumbent Mike Ball, R-Madison.
House District 12: incumbent Corey Harbison, R-Cullman.
House District 14: incumbent Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley.
House District 16: incumbent Kyle South, R-Fayette.
House District 22: incumbent Ritchie Whorton, R-Owens Crossroads.
House District 30: Rusty Jessup, R-Riverside.
House District 48: incumbent Jim Carns, R-Vestavia Hills.
House District 49: incumbent April Weaver, R-Alabaster.
House District 55: incumbent Rod Scott, D-Fairfield.
House District 64: incumbent Harry Shiver, R-Bay Minette.
House District 73: incumbent Matt Fridy, R-Montevallo.
House District 77: Malcolm Calhoun, D-Montgomery.
House District 102: Thomas Gray, R-Cintronelle.
House District 105: Chip Brown, R-Mobile.

Alabama Supreme Court
Chief Justice: Lyn Stuart (R)
Place 1: Brad Mendheim (R)
Place 4: Jay Mitchell (R)

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals:
Place 1: Christie Edwards (R)
Place 2: Terri Thomas (R)

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
Place 1: Richard Minor (R)
Place 2: Chris McCool (R)
Place 3: Bill Cole (R)

State Board of Education
Place 8: Rich Adams (R)

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Twinkle says she’s ready

by Bill Britt Read Time: 4 min