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Ainsworth gets endorsements from South Alabama

Brandon Moseley

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State Rep. Will Ainsworth speaks after a committee meeting to reporters. (File Photo)

Will Ainsworth’s campaign for lieutenant governor got a boost on Tuesday from several endorsements by public officials from Mobile and Baldwin counties.

State Representative Will Ainsworth (R- Guntersville) is running in the July 17 Republican runoff for Lt. Gov. against Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh.

Ainsworth held a news conference on Thursday night at the World War II battleship: U.S.S. Alabama.

Among those announcing their public support for Ainsworth were Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran; Baldwin County Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack; State Representative David Sessions of Grand Bay, who chairs the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee; and State Rep. Jack Williams of Wilmer.

“I’m humbled by the confidence each of these public officials has placed in me by putting their names and reputations beside mine,” Ainsworth said. “During my time in the House, I supported the Gulf Coast 100% of the time, and I voted to keep the BP settlement funds where they rightly belonged. South Alabama will continue to have my support as lieutenant governor.”

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“I look forward to Will being successful in his bid for lieutenant governor,” Rep. Sessions said. “It was a pleasure to serve with Will on the House Agriculture Committee. I know two things about Will Ainsworth – he is a good family man, and he believes in doing what is right.”

Sessions is running against Tom Holmes (D) in the general election for state Senate District 35.

“Will’s State House office is right next to mine, and I know he supported us all the way through with the BP funding and helped us get what we got.” State Rep. Jack Williams (R – Wilmer).

Williams recently won the Republican nomination for state Senate District 34. He has no general election opponent.

“I’m proud to stand here with my friend, Will Ainsworth,” said Sheriff Sam Cochran (R). “I’ve worked with him in the Legislature, and I know he is a strong supporter of law enforcement. He’s an honest man, and I know he will continue to support us in Mobile County and Baldwin County.”

Sheriff Cochran is running for another term as Sheriff of Mobile County. He has no general election opponent.

“When the Alabama Sheriffs’ Association met in January, Will walked in the room and said, ‘I’m here to not only ask for your vote but to offer my support to the sheriffs of Alabama,’ and that means a lot to the 67 sheriffs in our state,” said Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack. Since that time, I’ve come to know him as a committed Christian conservative, and I am excited he is in the runoff.”

“Hoss” Mack has been the Sheriff of Baldwin County since 2007.

South Alabama is especially important because that is where state Senator Rusty Glover (R-Semmes) was strongest. Glover carried Mobile County but finished third statewide, missing the runoff.

Sen. Glover is the most sought after endorsement in this race but he told WKRG Channel 5 TV that he will not endorse either Ainsworth or Cavanaugh.

“You know I had people that came to me after the election that told me ‘I don’t know who you are but I voted for you because you didn’t have any politicians endorsing you,’” Glover said. “I took that to heart. I had some people tell me don’t endorse people it will not help you. As an elected official I think your word is the most important thing you have no value to the constituents.”  Glover said that endorsements can make enemies out of peo6,ple he still wants to work with on different issues.

The Republican runoff will be on July 17,The eventual Republican nominee will face Shoals area pastor Dr. Will Boyd (D) in the general election on November 6.

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Twinkle Cavanaugh criticizes Will Ainsworth’s “Truth Tellin’ Tour”

Brandon Moseley

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Monday, State Representative Will Ainsworth (R-Guntersville) and a candidate in the July 17 Republican runoff for lieutenant governor, is campaigning across the state with a life-size fiberglass tiger statue and a motorboat during what he calls a “Truth Tellin’ Tour” after his opponent Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, attacked Ainsworth over his past brushes with the law in a media campaign.

Saturday, Cavanaugh released a statement critical of Ainsworth’s tour.

“I am shocked that an ‘adult’ seeking a position of leadership in our state would traipse across it the day before an important election while laughing at and mocking the fact that he was once arrested for and charged with a felony for stealing more than $15,000 in property from multiple victims,” Cavanaugh said. “He admits guilt and that he went to jail for this crime.”

The Cavanaugh campaign claims that everything they have released is backed up by official documentation and records.

Cavanaugh’s campaign said that Ainsworth has issued press releases and made statements to the media confirming the facts of his 2002 arrest; but he dismisses it as a “college prank.”

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Cavanaugh said, “Alabamians are sick and tired of politicians who think they’re above the law. The fact that he committed these felonies is bad enough in itself, but to demean and deny the seriousness of his actions is almost as bad as the crime itself.”

On the 2001 illegal boating incident, Ainsworth says that it was simply a boating citation.

The Cavanaugh campaign however claims that, official documentation shows that no citation # was ever issued. The court records also say that Ainsworth was “released from jail” after this arrest in Jackson County.

Cavanaugh commented, “Now, to be ‘released from jail,’ don’t you have to be in jail?”
Ainsworth says that his “Truth Tellin’ Tour” is designed to illustrate the false and misleading attacks his opponent has launched against him in the closing days of the election.

Ainsworth’s tour include stops in Huntsville, Vestavia, Montgomery, and Dothan.

Ainsworth’s campaign says that Cavanaugh “is currently airing deceptive ads that falsely allege he was twice arrested – once in Auburn for the theft of $15,000 and again in Jackson County. In truth, Ainsworth participated in a college prank roughly 20 years ago when he and his classmates ‘kidnapped’ a fiberglass tiger that the Auburn Chamber of Commerce had placed downtown.”

Ainsworth’s campaign says that “the Jackson County incident involved no arrest and was a simple $10 ticket he was issued for having an expired registration sticker on a boat he was piloting while also in college.
Ainsworth will distribute copies of a letter from the sheriff of Jackson County that attests the candidate has never been arrested.

“By campaigning with a life-size tiger in the bed of my pickup and a boat being towed behind, our Truth Tellin’ Tour will let voters and the media see and touch hard evidence of the deception and dishonesty that surrounds my opponent’s attacks,” Ainsworth said.

Cavanaugh also claims that Ainsworth has made numerous other claims that prove to be false upon inspection:

Cavanaugh claims that Ainsworth claims he has “always” supported President Trump 110%, but said in an official press release that: “Donald Trump is a con artist, not a conservative. His ridiculous act has gone far enough and we have to put a stop to it now.” There are numerous examples on his own social media where Ainsworth attacks Trump, aligning himself with the Never Trump movement using the “DUMP TRUMP” slogan. He even rallied a crowd in Huntsville against Donald Trump in 2016, footage of which was captured by WAFF.”

Cavanaugh’s campaign claimed that Ainsworth has funneled over $120,000 to candidates (including liberal Democrats) and Montgomery special interest PACs through an unregistered dark money PAC. “Again, why does Ainsworth believe he’s above the law when he operates a dark money slush fund and ignores the PAC-to-PAC transfer ban?”

Cavanaugh also disputes Ainsworth’s claim that Cavanaugh voted for the largest tax increase in Alabama history.

Cavanaugh’s campaign says that she has never voted for a tax increase and even voted against Gov. Bob Riley’s tax increase plan while Ainsworth was not even registered to vote in that election.

Cavanaugh concluded, “Will Ainsworth can’t handle the facts of his record but like a middle school bully, he calls me names just like he did President Trump and then he repeats his lies.”

The winner of Tuesday’s runoff election will face Muscle Shoals area pastor Dr. Will Boyd (D) in the November 6 general election.

Polls open at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm.

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Primary runoff elections are Tuesday

Brandon Moseley

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The major party primary runoff elections are being held tomorrow, July 17. There are a number of high profile offices including lieutenant governor, attorney general, supreme court justice place one, and commissioner of agriculture and industries on the ballot in the Republican primary runoff. There are no statewide races on the ballot in the Democratic party primary runoff; but there are a number of state senate and state house races on tomorrow’s Democratic primary runoff ballot.

For lieutenant governor there is a Republican primary runoff between Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh and state Representative Will Ainsworth. Cavanaugh is currently the Public Service Commission president and Ainsworth represents Guntersville in the state House. The Cavanaugh campaign is highlighting her experience; while Ainsworth’s campaign dismisses her as a “career politician.” Cavanaugh has brought up Ainsworth’s arrest record; which Ainsworth dismisses as a “college prank” and a boating registration violation.

For attorney general there is a Republican primary runoff between Steve Marshall and Troy King. Marshall was appointed attorney general by then Gov. Robert Bentley. King is a former AG. King has accused Marshall of violating the state’s ban on PAC to PAC transfers by taking $700,000 by the Republican Attorney General’s Association (RAGA) and of being an Obama Democrat as recently as 2010. Marshall claims that the PAC to PAC transfer ban does not apply to PACs based outside of Alabama. Marshall’s wife committed suicide two weeks after the primary.

For the Republican nomination for commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, Gerald Dial is running against Rick Pate. Dial is a state senator from Lineville, who has spent decades in the state legislature and Pate is a businessman, the Mayor of Lowndesboro and a prominent Charolais cattle breeder. Dial has produced court record showing that Pate was accused of domestic violence by his first wife. Pate denies ever beating his former wife.

For the Republican nomination for Supreme Court Justice Place 1 Brad Mendheim is running against Sarah Hicks Stewart. Both are judges. Mendheim was recently appointed to the court by Gov. Kay Ivey.

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For Court of Civil Appeals Place 1 there is a Republican primary runoff between Christy Olinger Edwards and Michelle Manley Thomason. Thomason is the presiding judge in Baldwin County and has argued that she is the only family court judge in this race. 75 to 80 percent of the cases heard by the court of civil appeals involve family court decisions that are being appealed.

For Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2 there is a Republican primary runoff between Chris McCool and Rich Anderson. McCool is the district attorney for Fayette, Lamar, and Pickens County. Anderson is an assistant attorney general. The Court of Criminal Appeals hears the appeals of criminal trials.

In the Second Congressional District there is a Republican runoff between former Congressman Bobby Bright and incumbent Congresswoman Martha Roby in the Republican primary. In 2010 Roby defeated Bright in the general election. Bright has now switched to the Republican party and is accusing Roby of not being conservative enough. Roby has been endorsed by President Donald J. Trump (R) and Vice President Mike Pence (R).

For State Board of Education Place 2 there is a Republican primary runoff between Melanie Hill and Tracie West.

For State Senate District 6 there is a Republican primary runoff between incumbent Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Sheffield) and Steve Lolley, a banker from Guin.

There is a Democratic Party runoff in State Senate District 7 between Deidra Willis and Deborah Barros.

In State Senate District 13 there is a Republican primary runoff between Randy Price and Mike Sparks. Price is a Lee county cattle farmer and Sparks is the former head of the Alabama Forensics Science Lab.

In State Senate District 26 there is a Democratic primary runoff between Montgomery city Councilman “Coach” David Burkette and state Representative John Knight. Burkette is the incumbent having won the seat in May in a special election.

In State Senate District 32 there is a Republican primary runoff between Chris Elliott and David Northcutt.

In the Alabama House of Representative there are several primary runoff races.

In House District 17 there is a Republican primary runoff between Tracy Estes and Phil Segraves.

In House District 30 there is a Republican primary runoff between Robert McKay and B. Craig Lipscomb. McKay is the former Mayor of Ashville. Lipscomb is a Gadsden area architect.

In House District 38 there is Republican primary runoff between Debbie Hamby Wood and Todd Rauch.

There is a Democratic primary runoff in House District 55 between Neil Rafferty and Jacqueline Gray Miller.

In House District 77 there is a Democratic primary runoff between Malcolm Calhoun and TaShina Morris.

In House District 78 there is a Democratic primary runoff between longtime incumbent Alvin Holmes and Kirk Hatcher. Holmes has served in the House since 1974.

In House District 81 there is a Republican primary runoff between Terry Martin and Ed Oliver.

In House District 82 there is a Democratic primary runoff between incumbent Pebblin Warren and Johnny Ford.

In House District 83 there is a Democratic primary runoff between Patsy Jones and Jeremy “Mr. EYG” Gray.

In House District 88 there is a Republican runoff between Will Dismukes and Al Booth.

In House District 91 there is a Republican primary runoff between Rhett Marques and Lister H. Reeves, Jr.

In House District 102 there is a Republican primary runoff between Shane Stringer and Willie Gray.
There are also a number of judicial and county runoff elections.

Remember that under Alabama’s crossover voting law it is illegal to vote in a different runoff election than the party primary you participated in in June. If you voted in the Republican primary, you may not vote in the Democratic primary runoff. Similarly, if you participated in the Democratic primary you may not vote in the Republican primary runoff. Alabama does not have party registration, so no matter how you normally vote if you did not vote in either party primary you may participate in the primary runoff election of your choice.

You must bring a valid photo ID to the polls to participate in the election. There is no same day voter registration in Alabama so if you are not registered to vote it is too late to get registered for the runoff. You must vote exclusively at your assigned polling place.

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Former Alabama Attorney General Charlie Graddick endorses Troy King

Brandon Moseley

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Saturday, retired Mobile County Judge and former Alabama Attorney General Charles “Charlie” Graddick (R) announced that he was endorsing former Attorney General Troy King in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff. Graddick cited rising violent crime for his decision to endorse King over current AG Steve Marshall.

“I don’t know what their thinking,” Graddick said, “But I know what Troy King is thinking: and I believe the same that he does. And that is we need to lock up violent and dangerous people and keep them there and off the streets to make Alabama safe again.”

Graddick said that the violent crime rate under King’s tenure as AG, “May be a historically low. Now you have violent crime everywhere. It may be as high as it has ever been. I am not sure that the current Attorney General has ever walked in to a courtroom.”

According to some in the legal community, Marshall has a reputation as a prosecutor who pleas his cases down to a lesser charge rather than taking them to court to be heard by a jury. Marshall was appointed district attorney of Marshall County by then Governor Don Siegelman (D). Marshall was appointed attorney general by then Governor Robert Bentley (R) in 2017.

“I am honored to have the endorsement of Judge Charlie Graddick,” King said in a statement in response.
The Troy King campaign said in a statement, “Alabama has the lowest violent crime in 20 years when Troy King was Attorney General. During the time that Steve Marshall has been Attorney General, our state’s violent crime rate has skyrocketed to its highest point in two decades.”

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Charles Graddick was Alabama attorney general from 1979 to 1987. In 1986, he defeated then Lieutenant Governor Bill Baxley (D) in the Democratic Party primary runoff. Baxley challenged the results in court. A three-judge panel found in favor of Baxley and ruled that Alabama Republicans had crossed over and voted illegally in the Democratic primary runoff and were responsible for giving Graddick the victory over Baxley. The court stripped Graddick of the Democratic nomination and gave it to Baxley. The media then exposed that the married Baxley was having an affair with a young Associated Press reporter. Baxley then lost the 1986 gubernatorial general election to Cullman County Probate Judge Guy Hunt (R).

Graddick would go on to eventually switch to the Republican Party and be elected a Mobile County Judge. He lost a Republican primary race for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to former Chief Justice Roy Moore in 2012. Baxley went on to a successful private practice career, most famously representing former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) unsuccessfully in a landmark 2016 felony ethics trial. Hunt was the first Republican governor in 112 years. He would be re-elected in 1990, before being removed in a corruption investigation. The GOP has won every Alabama governor’s race since, with the one exception of 1998 when then Lt. Gov. Don Siegelman (D) defeated incumbent Gov. Fob James (R).
The winner of the Republican runoff for attorney general will face Siegelman’s son, Joseph (D), in the November 6 general election.

The Alabama Republican Party has won every Alabama attorney general’s election since 1994 with the election of Jeff Sessions.

Efforts to reduce Alabama’s prison overcrowding, combined with a growing opioid epidemic, and budget cuts to mental health services are being credited as contributing factors in Alabama’s growing violent crime problems.

Polls open at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm Tuesday. Voters must present a valid photo-ID to participate in any Alabama election.

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Ainsworth gets endorsements from South Alabama

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 3 min
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