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Bentley Sets Special Election Primary for House District 30 One Week Before the Presidential Election

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Monday Governor Robert Bentley announced the timeline for a special election to fill the vacant District 30 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives.  The 30 seat was held by Representative Blaine Galliher, but he has left it to serve in the Bentley Administration as Legislative Director.

Etowah County School Board member Mack Butler (R) has already announced his candidacy for the seat.

Gov. Bentley said, “Blaine Galliher served the people of District 30 with honor and integrity, and it’s important to maintain representation of District 30 in the House of Representatives,” Governor Bentley said.  “This timeline was designed with several priorities in mind.  We want to make sure candidates have time to qualify, we want to make sure voters have time to learn about the candidates, and we want to allow ample time for those who are unable to vote in-person to arrange a vote by absentee ballot.  The timeline should also allow sufficient time for the next District 30 representative to be in place in time for the next regular legislative session.”

Alabama House District 30 covers portions of Etowah and St. Clair Counties.  A special primary election for the District 30 seat will be held on Tuesday, October 23, 2012.  To qualify to run on either major party’s ticket you must qualify with the party by Friday, August 24, 2012.  The two major political parties must turn in their list of qualified candidates no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, August 31.

St. Clair County Republican Party Chairman Freddie Turrentine told, ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ that Etowah County School Board member Mack Brown has already announced his candidacy and is running for the office as a Republican.  Chairman Turrentine said that he knows of a couple of other candidates who are exploring possibly also running for the seat.  Chairman Turrentine said, “We are going to work hard to get the winner of the Republican Primary elected and we will do whatever it takes to hold on to the seat for the Republican Party.”  Chairman Turrentine said that the St. Clair County Republican Party will hold its’ regularly scheduled meeting on September 20th in Ashville at 6:00 pm and said that the public can meet the Republican candidate or candidates there.

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The primary will then be on Tuesday, October 23.  If a special primary runoff election(s) is necessary, they will be held on Tuesday, December 11, 2012.  If runoff elections are not necessary, the special general election will take place on Tuesday, December 11, 2012.  If a runoff election(s) is necessary on December the  11th, then the special general election will be held on Tuesday, January 29, 2013.

The Governor’s press release said, “All third-party candidates, independent candidates, and/or minor party candidates seeking ballot access are advised that their deadline for filing the appropriate notification, petitions, or supporting paperwork with the Secretary of State shall be Friday, August 31, 2012, at 5:00 p.m.”

Richard Rutledge, the Chairman and CEO of the Conservative Party of Alabama told ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ that this was, “Not a fair process at all.”  Rutledge said that the major parties simply had to present a list of candidates to the Secretary of State’s office for their party primary by August 31.  A candidate for a Third Party or an independent candidate however is going to have to organize a petition drive to get enough signatures to even get ballot access and then has to have all that done with accompanying paperwork turned in in just 24 days. Chairman Rutledge said that the independents and third parties should be given the same amount of time as the Democrats and Republicans who don’t have to present a candidate until after their Party primaries.  Chairman Rutledge said it was, “Not the Governor’s fault.”  He blamed the two major parties whom he said have conspired to prevent third parties from having ballot access.

Our sources in the Alabama Democratic Party insist that they will field a candidate in the House District 30 special election.  They have declined to announce who that candidate is and did not want to go on the record.  Off the record they expressed.

Public Service Announcement

If you are a voter who lives in District 30, prepare for a busy fall.

On August 28th, there will be local elections for Mayor and City Council in many cities and towns in Alabama.

On September 18th the voters of HD 30 (like the rest of the state) go to the polls to vote yes or no on Amendment One.  The legislature is asking voters to allow them to raid $435 million from the Alabama Trust Fund over three years to prop up Alabama’s embattled general fund.

Then on October 30th the voters in District 30 go to the polls to vote in the party primaries to select a state representative for District 30.  Voters will be asked to choose either a Republican Primary ballot or a Democratic Primary Ballot.

Everyone in the state will then vote a week later on November 6th.  This time the election is for President of the United States, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, the President of the Public Service commission, your Congressional Representative, more amendments to the State Constitution including whether or not to continue funding Forever Wild, and any county offices on your ballot.

On December 11th, voters in House District 30 will be back again either voting in their party’s runoff election or the general election to select a state representative.

If necessary, HD 30 voters will be back voting again on January 29th for state representative if a runoff was necessary on December 11th.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Alabama’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Alabama’s ongoing increase in new cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations is especially worrisome for public health experts as flu season arrives and several holidays are just around the corner.

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alabama continues to rise, with 1,789 new cases reported Saturday, despite fewer tests being conducted, and cases are up 55 percent from two weeks ago, based on a 14-day average of daily case increases.

Alabama’s ongoing increase in new cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations is especially worrisome for public health experts as flu season arrives and several holidays are just around the corner.

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 9 million on Thursday, and numerous states were seeing surges in cases and hospitalizations. Nearly 1,000 Americans died from COVID-19 on Wednesday, and the country has reported several days of record-high new cases.

“There’s going to be a whole lot of pain in this country with regard to additional cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House coronavirus task force adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in a CNBC interview Wednesday. “We are on a very difficult trajectory. We are going in the wrong direction.”

There were 960 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Alabama on Friday, and the seven-day average of daily hospitalizations hit 976 on Friday, the highest it’s been since Sept. 2 and 29 percent higher than a month ago.

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More than 1,000 hospitalizations were reported in Alabama on Tuesday for the first time since August. Huntsville Hospital was caring for 163 coronavirus patients Friday, the largest number since Aug. 19. UAB on Friday had 58 COVID-19 patients and has been hovering between 60 and 70 patients for the last several weeks.

While the number of new cases is rising, the number of tests being performed has been declining. Over the last two weeks, Alabama reported, on average, 6,961 cases per day, 9 percent fewer cases than a month ago.

The rising cases and declining tests are also reflected in the percentage of tests that are positive, which on Saturday was well above public health experts’ target of 5 percent or below. 

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The state’s positivity rate on Saturday was 21 percent, according to APR‘s tracking of new cases and reported tests over the past two weeks. Many other COVID-19 tracking projects calculate the state’s percent positivity by dividing the 7- and 14-day averages of daily case increases by the 7- and 14-day averages of daily test increases.

The Alabama Department of Public Health calculates the positivity rate differently, instead dividing the number of daily cases by the number of individuals who have been tested, rather than the total number of tests done, as some people may have more than one test performed.

There are no federal standards on how states are to report COVID-19 testing data, and a myriad of state health departments calculate positivity rates differently. 

Even so, ADPH’s own calculations show Alabama’s percent positivity is nearly double where public health experts say it needs to be, or else cases are going undetected. According to ADPH’s calculations, the percent positivity on Oct. 24 was 9.6 percent, up 33 percent from the 7.2 percent positivity on Sept. 26. 

As of Saturday, there have been 2,967 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths reported in Alabama, with 427 reported this month, 19 percent more deaths than were reported in September.

On Saturday, ADPH reported 35 confirmed and probable deaths. 

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Alabama Democrats launch “biggest” turnout campaign in their history

“Our organizers and volunteers have been working relentlessly to turn out the vote,” the Alabama Democratic Party said.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The Alabama Democratic Party said Friday that they have launched the biggest get-out-the-vote campaign in their history in a bid to re-elect U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.

“We’ve made over 3.5 million voter contacts this election cycle,” the ADP wrote in an email to supporters. “Today, we’ve started the biggest GOTV campaign in our history. We will be contacting voters around the clock from now until Election Day. As it stands, we have enough money to reach about 91 percent of the voters in our GOTV universe.”

“Our organizers and volunteers have been working relentlessly to turn out the vote,” the ADP said. “They are contacting voters in all 67 Alabama counties, making sure every Democrat has a plan to vote on Nov. 3.”

On Saturday, Jones will make several campaign stops throughout the Birmingham area to encourage voters to turn out on Election Day. He will make stops in his hometown of Fairfield as well as in Bessemer, Pratt City and East Lake.

Jefferson County is the Alabama Democratic Party’s main stronghold in the conservative state of Alabama. Mobilizing Democratic voters to come out, especially in Jefferson County, is essential if they are to have any hope of re-electing Jones, who has been trailing in public polling.

Jones’s shocking upset of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in the 2017 special election is the only statewide race that the Alabama Democratic Party has won since 2008.

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Jones had a decided advantage in money in that contest to saturate the airwaves and fund a GOTV effort to reach Democratic voters in the special election.

The Jones campaign is trying to build upon that success, but it is an uphill battle and he’s widely viewed as the most vulnerable Democratic senator up for re-election in 2020.

This time, Jones’s Republican opponent is not hamstrung by allegations of sexual misconduct and Trump is at the top of this ticket. The president remains popular in Alabama even if his support has waned in some other states.

Jones needs both an unusually strong Democratic turnout and for a large number of Trump voters to split their ticket and vote for Jones instead of his Republican opponent, Tommy Tuberville.

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Roughly half of Alabamians are straight-ticket voters.

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Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh won’t seek re-election in 2022

Marsh said it would be up to the Republican caucus to decide whether he’ll remain pro tem for the last two years of his term.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston.

Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, R-Anniston, the top Republican member of Alabama’s upper chamber, will not seek re-election in 2022. 

Marsh told The Anniston Star, which first reported the story, that he will also not run for governor or the U.S. Senate in 2022 or in the future.

Marsh’s decision to not run again will bring an end to a 24-year career in state politics. Marsh, 64, made school choice a focus of his legislative work over the years, championing charter schools and wrote the Senate’s version of the 2014 Alabama Accountability Act, which allows for tax credits for those who make donations to scholarships for students at private schools. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Marsh found himself on the other side of public health experts’ understanding of the disease, suggesting to a reporter that he’d actually like to see more people become infected to build the state’s overall immunity to the virus, a theory that public health experts say would lead to thousands of unnecessary deaths and many more illnesses. 

Marsh also battled Gov. Kay Ivey over the expenditure of $1.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief aid over the summer, suggesting early on that the state should spend $200 million of that money on a new Statehouse, which drew widespread public condemnation.

The Alabama Legislature later approved Ivey’s plan to spend the federal aid, which does not include a new Statehouse. 

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Marsh explained to AL.com on Friday that during his tenure, the Republican-controlled Legislature has put Alabama’s fiscal well-being on solid ground. 

“Fiscally, I think we’re as strong as a state as we’ve ever been. I think this COVID has shown how financially secure the state is through our policies. I feel very good about our accomplishments,” he told the outlet. “But there comes a time for everything and I just want to make it clear that I do not intend to seek election in 2022.”

Marsh said it would be up to the Republican caucus to decide whether he’ll remain pro tem for the last two years of his term.

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Alabama Power reports progress on restoring power following Hurricane Zeta

Alabama Power said 131,000 outages remain and that the utility provider expects to have service restored to 95 percent of affected customers by Tuesday.

Brandon Moseley

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Crews work to restore power after Hurricane Zeta. (VIA ALABAMA POWER COMPANY)

Alabama Power said Saturday that its crews have restored power to 373,000 customers following Hurricane Zeta, which caused more than 504,000 outages at peak.

As of Saturday at 2:12 p.m., Alabama Power said 131,000 outages remain and that the utility provider expects to have service restored to 95 percent of affected customers by Tuesday.

 

 

Hurricane Zeta hit Louisiana as a category two hurricane on Wednesday before ripping through Mississippi and Alabama. There is an enormous amount of damage across the footprint of the Southern Company, the parent of Alabama Power.

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Alabama Power has said the impact of the storm is similar to what the company experienced during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the April 27, 2011 tornadoes.

Because Zeta was so fast-moving, it did not lose much of its strength as it moved inland. Much of the state experienced tropical-storm-force winds. There is significant, widespread damage throughout the state.

Alabama Power is having to deal with downed poles and trees that knocked out wires. The company’s crews are working with more than 1,700 lineworkers and support personnel from 19 states and Canada.

Alabama Power said that its crews are working quickly and safely to restore power and will continue to work on restoring power over the weekend.

Public Service Announcement

Alabama Power storm team evaluators, line crews and support personnel worked throughout the day Thursday and Friday assessing damage and repairing poles and wires damaged in the storm.

Crews are working diligently and as quickly and safely as possible to restore service, the company said.

Remember that there are line crews working along roadways all across the state. Cities, counties and homeowners are still working on debris removal so drive slowly and give yourself more time to get where you are going while out.

Alabama Power warns everyone to stay away from downed power lines, as well as fallen trees and tree limbs that could be hiding downed lines. Always assume a downed line is still energized and poses a potentially deadly hazard.

If you spot a downed line, call Alabama Power at 1-800-888-2726 or local law enforcement and wait for trained crews to perform the potentially dangerous work of removing the line or any surrounding debris.

Hurricane season lasts until the end of November.

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