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Independent, third-party candidates on ballot

Brandon Moseley



Last Tuesday, both major parties held their primaries to decide who they want on the November ballot. Tuesday was also the deadline for minor parties and Independent candidates to qualify for the November 6 general election ballot. No Independent or third party candidates will be running for any statewide races on the fall general election ballot. There were, however, several state Senate and state House candidates who qualified as Independents or minor party candidates.

In Senate District 9, Charles Miller is running against incumbent Clay Scofield, R-Guntersville. There is no Democrat on the ballot.

In Senate District 10, Craig Ford is running as an Independent against Cherokee cattle farmer Andrew Jones. There is no Democratic Party candidate on the ballot. Ford is a state representative from Gadsden who was elected as a Democrat but now has switched to Independent. Incumbent Sen. Phil Williams is not seeking another term.

In Senate District 23, Mark Story is running against Malika Sanders-Fortier. There is no Republican on the ballot. Sanders-Fortier is seeking to succeed her father, incumbent Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, who is retiring.

In House District 4, Polan Willis is running against state Rep. Parker Duncan Moore and Juanita Allen Healy. Moore won the seat in a special election in May. The seat was vacated by former House Majority Leader Mickey Hammon after he pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges.


In House District 10, Elijah Boyd, a Libertarian, is running against incumbent Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, and J.B. King.

In House District 55, David King, a member of the Constitution Party, is running against incumbent state Rep. Roderick “Rod” Scott, D-Fairfield. There is no Republican candidate.

In House District 80, Mark Davis is running against incumbent state Rep. Chris Blackshear, R-Phenix City, and Judy L. LaRue.

In House District 96, Jason Shelby, a Libertarian, is running against Matt Simpson and Maurice Davis. Incumbent Rep. Randy Davis is not running for re-election.

Independents and third parties have long complained that it is too difficult for an Independent or a third party candidate to get ballot access in Alabama, especially for statewide office.

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Former congressional candidate Mallory Hagan signs on with “Draft Beto” group

Chip Brownlee



Beto O'Rourke speaks at a rally in the Pan American Neighborhood Park in Austin, Texas. (Flikr/Wikimedia Commons)

Former Democratic congressional candidate Mallory Hagan, who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District, is joining other Democrats to launch a “Draft Beto” campaign.

The group is focused on raising at least $1 million for a future presidential campaign for Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, whose 2018 campaign for Senate against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz sparked national attention. Though he lost against Cruz, O’Rourke’s campaign inspired a number of Democrats who hope a young, progressive candidate like O’Rourke could be the Democratic standard-bearer in 2020.

The $1 million for Beto’s presidential campaign will be raised in the hopes of both convincing him to run and giving him a headstart in the primary.

Former Beto and Barack Obama campaign staffers, actors, social media influencers, a Google employee, a New York state public defender and former Democratic Congressional candidates are the lead organizers of the group.

Hagan, who is one of the group’s co-founders, is one of two red-state Democrats who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the group. Renee Hoagenson of Missouri’s 4th Congressional District is the other.


Democratic candidate Mallory Hagan speaks to supporters in Opelika, Alabama, ahead of the November 2018 midterm elections.

“I had the distinct honor of hearing Beto speak while traveling this past year,” Hagan said. “His desire to see positive, progressive policy in America is infectious. Momentum for a Beto presidential run has been building since the Midterms.”

Hagan lost her 2018 bid against Rogers by 26 percentage points, but her campaign was energized by a grassroots movement. The former Miss America was a local television news anchor and activist before launching her congressional bid.

Organizers have set up an ActBlue escrow account, which would transfer any funds raised to O’Rourke’s campaign account if he were to announce one next year. Hagan’s group is one of two draft efforts seeking to push O’Rourke to run. The other, Draft Beto 2020, held a rally last weekend in New Hampshire, an important primary state, Politico reported.

All contributions forwarded to Beto through Draft Beto are treated as contributions from the original contributor and not from Draft Beto, the group said in a press release.

O’Rourke, a three-term congressman from El Paso, has not said whether he will run for president. He initially shut down calls for him to but has since back stepped. He’s said he doesn’t have a “hard date” on when he would make a decision.

O’Rourke’s impassioned campaign included a tour of all 254 Texas counties. He raised more than $70 million in campaign contributions, the most of any Senate candidate in American history and more than $40 million more than Cruz’s fundraising totals. O’Rourke had 1.2 million separate donations.

He received enormous national attention as a political underdog. A large portion of O’Rourke’s contributions, about 38 percent, were from out of state, though more than 40 percent of Cruz’s contributions came from out of state, an analysis by the Dallas Morning News showed.

Though O’Rourke lost by about 2 percentage points, his race was the closest a Democrat has come to unseating an incumbent Republican in deeply red Texas since 1978.

“Our goal is to bring that energy to the surface and build a grassroots movement to Beto a head start in the primary,” Hagan said. “Beto’s experience, passion, inspiration, vision and ability to connect with voters gives him the best chance to win in 2020.”

Other organizers in the campaign include social media influencers like actor Misha Collins and voice actress Tara Strong, who is known for her Powerpuff Girls and Rugrats roles, and Santiago Palomino, who was a field organizer on O’Rourke’s Texas Senate campaign.

Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll in Iowa that was released over the weekend showed O’Rourke in third. He registered 11 percent support, behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, in the important early primary state.

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Zeigler: ‘Watchman against waste’ is needed in Washington

Brandon Moseley



State Auditor Jim Zeigler continues to explore a campaign for the U.S. Senate saying that, “Montgomery can waste millions, but Washington can waste billions.”

Zeigler said in a statement that wasteful government spending will be the theme of his new exploratory campaign to “test the waters” for a possible run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democratic Senator Doug Jones.

Zeigler said that he is serving as a “watchman against waste in government,” and that “a watchman is needed in Washington.”

The Zeigler exploratory campaign said that he has been the most outspoken auditor in memory in Montgomery. Zeigler cites his opposition to the widening of a roadway through Eufaula’s historic district; questioning the legality of Baldwin County’s school board using tax dollars to promote a yes vote in a referendum to raise taxes; to suing to block Governor Robert Bentley’s $130 million state built hotel and conference center on the beach in a hurricane impact zone; to attempting to subpoena Gov. Bentley for flying his alleged mistress around on the state jet; to pointing out the high number of missing state firearms; to objecting to Gov. Bentley’s decision to take the Confederate Flags off of the Confederate Veterans Memorial; to reporting Bentley for spending almost $2 million of tax dollars for a new governor’s beach mansion; to shining light on the failed STARS software the state wasted millions on; and filing charges with the Alabama Ethics Commission against Bentley. Zeigler filed a complaint with the Alabama Ethics Commission that led to the Commission agreeing that crimes likely had been committed by the governor. Bentley pleaded guilty and resigned five days later. Zeigler says that he has gotten more done than most state auditors.

“There is not a Jim Zeigler-type in the U.S. Senate,” Zeigler said. “There is not a watchman against waste. We badly need a watchman for taxpayers. Just the interest alone on the national debt is becoming harder to pay each year. Someone needs to stand up. No one is doing that. I stood up in Montgomery and would do so in Washington.”


“The federal government must cut out waste and mismanagement,” Zeigler said. “Our national debt now exceeds $21 trillion dollars – and growing. No one is standing firm to rein in spending, balance the budget, and start gradually paying down the national debt.”

Zeigler said that his exploratory campaign “will gauge support and ability to raise the funds to get our message out.” The qualifying deadline to enter the Senate race is November 2019 only eleven months away.

The primaries for the U.S. Senate seat are on March 2020.

A number of Republicans are reportedly mulling a 2020 Senate run. Congressmen Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) and Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) and state Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) are reportedly considering Senate runs. Gov. Bentley has even expressed interest in running for the Senate seat. There is speculation that Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, who recently challenged Ivey for Governor in the GOP primary could be a Senate candidate.

Doug Jones narrowly defeated former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore last year.

That was the only statewide race that any Democratic candidate has won in the state of Alabama since 2008. Alabama Democrats were absolutely destroyed all over the ballot in the 2018 election. There was not a competitive statewide race. The Alabama Democratic Party has struggled to even find candidates. Offices, including Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, Supreme Court Justice, appeals court judge, and Treasurer did not even have Democrats on the ballot. Senator Jones supported an unsuccessful attempt to replace Chairwoman Nancy Worley in the summer before the 2018 elections.  Alabama Democrats remain bitterly divided at the highest levels.

President Donald J. Trump (R) remains wildly popular in the state of Alabama and is expected to also be on the 2020 ballot.

Jim Zeigler was elected State Auditor in 2014 and re-elected in 2018 with over a million votes and 61 percent of the vote. His wife Jackie Zeigler was elected to the State Board of Education in 2016 with 62 percent of the vote in the seven counties of Alabama’s First District.

“My number one priority is of course to do the job as State Auditor, and I’ve been working on that all day every day, even today,” Zeigler said.

Zeigler is term-limited and cannot run for another term as State Auditor.

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Kay Ivey inaugural committee releases schedule of events

Brandon Moseley



On Friday, the Kay Ivey Inaugural Committee announced a schedule of events for the 2019 Inauguration.

“The Inaugural Committee is honored to invite Alabamians to join us as we witness and celebrate this historic moment,” said Co-Chairs Jimmy Rane and Cathy Randall. “Before our state lawmakers begin their important work, we want to take a moment to acknowledge and ask the Lord for wisdom, reflect and commit to uphold the duties and ideals outlined in our Constitution and celebrate the progress yet to come. We are also excited to announce a special Gulf Coast Inaugural Celebration. We look forward to celebrating and looking ahead to a new era focused on growing opportunities for all Alabamians.”

On Saturday, January 12, 2019, there will be a Gulf Coast Inaugural Celebration.

Tickets cost $25 each and are available here.

The event will be from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Gulf Coast Inaugural Celebration at The Lodge at Gulf State Park.


Inauguration Day will be on January 14, 2019.

Festivities begin at 8:15 a.m. with a prayer service at the First Baptist Church of Montgomery. This event will be by invitation only.

The formal swearing in ceremony will be held in from of the Alabama State Capitol steps at 10:00 a.m.

The will be followed by the traditional parade at the Alabama State Capitol. The parade will begin at 12:00 a.m.

At 7:00 p.m. that night the Inaugural Gala will be at The Montgomery Civic Center. This formal event is by invitation only.

The Kay Ivey Inaugural Committee, led by Cathy Randall and Jimmy Rane, have announced that the 2019 Inaugural theme is: Keep Alabama Growing.

“In less than a year and a half, Governor Ivey led Alabama to record job growth, improved education and set Alabama on a path of prosperity,” said Co-Chairs Jimmy Rane and Cathy Randall. “The 2019 Inaugural theme, Keep Alabama Growing, underscores Governor Ivey’s promise to build upon these successes and grow more opportunities for Alabamians. We’re inspired by Governor Ivey’s bold vision for Alabama and look forward to celebrating this exciting new era.”

In keeping with the theme, Keep Alabama Growing, the Kay Ivey Inaugural Committee has announced plans to promote children’s literacy throughout the 2019 Inaugural festivities.

“Investing in the next generation is critical to our ability to keep Alabama growing,” said Gov. Ivey. “As we prepare for four more years of growing opportunities for Alabamians, I can’t think of a better place to begin than with our children’s literacy, ensuring they get a strong start.”

As part of this effort, the Ivey Inaugural Committee will be hosting book drives at the Gulf Coast Inaugural Celebration on January 12 and the Inaugural Gala in Montgomery on January 14. The books collected will be donated to the Alabama Literacy Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to improving literacy in Alabama communities.

Tickets to the Gulf Coast Inaugural Celebration cost $25 but the ticket price will be waived for attendees who bring four children’s books to the celebration.

The Inaugural Committee has unveiled the Kay Ivey Inaugural website and officially opened the application process for any individuals or groups who wish to participate in the 2019 Inaugural Parade.

January 4 is the deadline to submit parade applications.

More details about the inauguration will be unveiled in the coming weeks. For more information and updates go to the Ivey inaugural celebration official website.

Ivey served two terms as state Treasurer and then two terms as Lieutenant Governor before being elevated to the officer of Governor in April 2017 when then Gov. Robert Bentley (R) resigned. Ivey easily bested both her Republican primary challengers and her Democratic general election challenger.

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Alabama secretary of state releases updates on crossover voting

Brandon Moseley



The Secretary of State’s office announced Thursday that it has discovered 398 violations of Alabama’s new crossover voting rules in the 2018 election cycle.

At the conclusion of the 2017 United States Senate Special Election Run-off, the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office reviewed a formal, routine election report indicating that 140 individuals had been given credit for voting in the Democrat primary election on August 15th and then voting in the Republican run-off election on September 26. This action, termed crossover voting, is an action which would violate the State’s new crossover voting law (Act No. 2017-340).

After reviewing the report, Secretary of State John Merrill (R) identified the local chief election official – the Probate Judge, as the proper authority to determine whether those listed were willful in their intent, negligent, or whether these findings were listed in error in each county where the incident occurred. In each of the 41 counties, the probate judges determined it was not necessary to prosecute any of the 140 individuals found to have violated the crossover voting law.

Following the conclusion of the 2018 Run-Off Election, Secretary Merrill directed the Elections Division to review the list of 398 voters that were found to be in violation of the crossover voting law and compare that list with the list of 140 voters from the 2017 Senate Special Election. Once this review was completed, it was determined that only one voter was found to have potentially violated the law in both 2017 and 2018.
Secretary Merrill then personally visited with and interviewed the person found to have potentially violated the law. At the conclusion of that visit, it became clear to Secretary Merrill that either the poll workers or a county registrar improperly marked the wrong political party in processing the voters’ primary voter participation credit. Due to this information, Secretary Merrill determined further legal action was not necessary, at this time.

No one has been prosecuted for crossover voting, however, under Alabama law it is illegal to vote in both a party primary and then vote in another party’s primary runoff. In the general election, voters are allowed to vote for candidates from both parties and/or independent or minor party candidates. 66 percent of Alabamians straight party voted in the 2018 election. Alabama does not have party registration, so any voter is allowed to participate in the party primary of their choice.


In the 2017 special election, former Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) faced appointed U.S. Senator Luther Strange for the U.S. Senate. In 2018, there were Republican runoffs for Lt. Governor, Attorney General and other offices.

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Independent, third-party candidates on ballot

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 2 min