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House District 97 Special Election Today

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Polls open at 7:00 am today in House District 97 in Mobile to fill the seat vacated by the passage of former state representative Yvonne Kennedy.  Businesswoman Adline Clarke faces attorney Karlos Finley in the Democratic Party primary runoff special election.

Adline Clarke received 40.4 percent of the vote and Karlos Finley received just 24.4 percent of the vote in the Democratic Party Primary where seven candidates crowded the field. The winner of the Democratic Party runoff today will be the next representative because no Republican even qualified to run in the majority Black House District which is considered a safe Democratic seat. Only 9.6% of eligible voters took the time to vote in the early special primary election.

Legislation introduced by state representative Mike Ball (R) from Madison if passed would end similar future primary runoffs where a candidate (in this case Adline Clark) get at least 25% of the vote.

Rep. Ball told ‘The Montgomery Advertiser’ that the outcomes do not change.  The candidate who gets the most votes in the primary wins the primary runoff and voter turnout decreases.  Clarke supporter hope that that rule holds true today, while Finley supporters hope that the voters who supported the other five candidates will support him this time.

Adline Clarke said in a written statement, “For over three decades, I have had the honor and privilege of serving the Mobile community as a newspaper journalist, entrepreneur, agency administrator, and as a community volunteer. Representing you in District 97 would be an extension of my decades of service to a host of community service organizations, including Sickle Cell Disease Association, the YWCA, Mercy Medical, and Senior Citizens Services.”
Karlos Finley said in an interview with the South Alabama Trial Lawyers Association, “The overwhelming issues facing the citizens of our district are jobs and education. These issues are so interrelated its impossible to talk about one without the other. In order for our city grow in a healthy way, we must address economic development. Jobs and education are the key to this issue. We are all hoping for a bright future with Airbus coming to Brookley Field. I would like to also see some of the tier one and tier two suppliers located in some of the abandoned buildings on the north side of Downtown. There is good ingress and egress to these locations and the businesses would create jobs in our district as well as throughout Mobile. Also, that would help to rid the area of abandoned dilapidated properties. Bishop State Community College and Brookley Field Aviation College are excellent institutions for training skilled trades persons to fill the positions created by the new industry.”

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Clarke said on Facebook, “”The story of my life is I have stepped up and accepted challenges as they’ve been placed before me.”

Finley said, “In that the HD 97 is such a diverse district, there are many important issues facing us. Environmental issues such as water quality in the north and south of the district are important issues. The Dog River Watershed and the Three Mile and One Mile Creeks have pollution problems that need to be addressed. I attended a meeting of the Dog River Clearwater Revival and learned that they are testing a litter trap in order to catch debris running off into the river. There is a need to educate the people in our community and make them aware that many of the ditches and creeks that run throughout the city drain into the Dog River. As for the Three Mile and One Mile Creeks, there are environmental concerns with erosion to the cap that covers the old Hickory Street landfill/dump. This is an issue that must have continued monitoring. There is also the Mobile Gas, “Tar pit” located at the corner of MLK Ave. and Broad St. The area is fenced off, but we need in depth investigations in the nature of what contaminations are present there. Homeowners insurance has been an issue that many constituents have voiced major concerns about. I would urge all homeowners to take note of the recently passed Clarity Law and discuss it with their State Representative. Progress has been made in the area of insurance reform, but there is still a lot of work to do to make sure coverage is affordable and beneficial. Public safety is a real concern in the district. There are issues within some areas of the district regarding prostitution, drug infestation, theft and home invasions just to name a few. In response to these issues, I would like to work with community leaders to engage law enforcement to have more officers patrolling on foot and bicycles. This will foster a greater interaction and stronger relationships between patrol officers and residents in the community. Finally, the blighted properties across the district are also a significant problem. This issue encompasses both businesses and residential. This is a matter I would like to work with municipal and county officials to remedy. We could explore raising the minimum standards of the condition a property must be kept in. Because of my experience in so many different areas, I believe as a representative of House District 97 I can help address these issues.”

Clarke was endorsed by Patsy Dow (the wife of former Mobile Mayor Mike Dow), “I support Adline Clarke because I know she will honorably and effectively represent the citizens of District 97. She is an exceptionally hard-working, progressive-thinking, and compassionate person and I trust her to speak for me and the residents of District 97 in Montgomery. We need Adline Clarke working for us.” Clarke also had the endorsement of several members of Yvonne Kennedy’s family.

Clarke said, “House District 97 is dear to my heart. I have lived and worked in the district for most of my adult life. There is a dire need for us to have effective and honest leadership in order for District 97, our city, county and state to continue making positive strides.”

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Clarke owns ‘Black Classic Books and Gifts’ and ‘Jamabalaya.’ She was also the former owner of a temporary job service, Norrell Staffing Services. She currently serves as Senior Vice President of Business and Community Relations for Mobile Development Enterprises, a subsidiary of the Mobile Housing Board. Clarke is also a former reporter for the Mobile Press-Register.

Finley is a partner in the law firm Boteler, Finley and Wolfe and is a former Mobile County prosecutor.
The polls will open at 7:00 am on Tuesday and will close at 7:00 pm.  Voter participation is expected to be very light.

The winner will fill the unexpired term of Dr. Yvonne Kennedy who recently passed away after a brief illness. Kennedy served in the Alabama House of Representatives for 32 years.  There is no Republican candidate so the winner of the Democratic Party runoff will win the seat.

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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Slow absentee voting in Tuscaloosa sparks outrage, possible legal action

Among the issues were incredibly long lines that left some voters waiting more than five hours and an inefficient process that managed to take in fewer than 100 absentee ballots in six hours. 

Josh Moon

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Long lines and slow absentee ballot processing in Tuscaloosa County have left voters outraged and incumbent Sen. Doug Jones’s campaign threatening legal action. 

On Wednesday, Jones’s campaign attorney, Adam Plant, sent a letter to Tuscaloosa County Circuit Clerk Magaria Bobo, outlining a number of issues with ongoing absentee voting and promising to take legal action if Bobo doesn’t improve the process on the final day, Friday. Among the issues documented by Plant were incredibly long lines that left some voters waiting more than five hours and an inefficient process that managed to take in fewer than 100 absentee ballots in six hours. 

Additionally, Plant noted that Bobo has hired her family members to help process absentee ballots and at least one family member had made disparaging remarks on social media about voters. 

“You and those acting on your behalf are suppressing the vote of qualified Alabama voters,” Plant wrote in the letter. “If you are unable or unwilling to execute your duties competently, and allow Tuscaloosa voters to exercise their voting rights without undue burdens, we will take further action.”

In an interview with the Montgomery Advertiser on Wednesday, Bobo noted that her office had received more than 13,000 requests for absentee ballots — a remarkable uptick from the 3,000 or so her office usually receives — and there had been problems in managing that number of ballots while also adhering to social distancing guidelines within the office. 

However, as Plant’s letter notes, the massive increase in absentee ballots for this election shouldn’t have been a surprise. Also, Secretary of State John Merrill had made additional funds available to absentee managers to facilitate hiring extra staff, purchasing additional computers and staying open for longer hours to accommodate the anticipated increase. 

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In a press release on Wednesday, the Alabama Democratic Party criticized Bobo and her family members, and the release included screenshots of Facebook posts from Bobo’s daughter lashing out at voters who complained about the long wait times. 

“No voter should have to wait in line for hours to exercise their rights,” said ADP executive director Wade Perry. “We should leverage every tool we have to make voting easier, not harder. Also, it should go without saying that election workers should not insult the very people they are employed to serve. If Ms. Bobo is incapable of processing voters quickly, someone else needs to do the job.”

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Jones campaign calls Tuberville a “coward” after no-show at Auburn forum

“Tuberville is hiding because he knows that on every front — policy, experience, character, competence — he loses to Doug Jones. Hands down,” Jones’s campaign said.

Brandon Moseley

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Sen. Doug Jones, left, and Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville, right.

There are only four days left before election day, and incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones’s re-election campaign is slamming Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville, accusing him of “hiding” and calling him a “coward.”

On Wednesday, Jones addressed an Auburn University forum. Tuberville did not attend.

“Tonight, the College Democrats and College Republicans at Auburn University co-hosted a debate between Doug Jones and Tommy Tuberville, offering students a chance to ask the candidates about the issues that matter most to Alabama,” the Jones campaign said in an email to supporters. “But Tuberville never showed up – he’s too scared to face Doug… even on his own home turf. Tuberville has repeatedly refused to debate Doug Jones. He’s consistently refused to be interviewed by the press. He’s refused to tell Alabama the truth about who and what they’re voting for – and it’s clear why.”

“Tuberville is hiding because he knows that on every front — policy, experience, character, competence — he loses to Doug Jones. Hands down,” the campaign continued. “If he won’t tell the truth, we will. Tuberville expects to win this race off of his blind allegiance to the President and his party affiliation. But Alabamians know better.”

“People deserve to know who they’re really voting for if they vote for Tuberville: someone who … won’t protect our health care, doesn’t believe in science, has no idea what the Voting Rights Act is, and doesn’t care about the lives and livelihoods of Alabamians,” the Jones campaign concluded. “Alabama will never elect a coward. Pitch in now and help us spread the truth about the man hiding behind the ballot.”

“I am disappointed that Tommy Tuberville is not here,” Jones said. “I think it is important that people see two candidates side by side answering the same questions.”

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Tuberville meanwhile is canvassing the state, speaking to rallies and Republican groups to turn out the Republican vote for himself and President Donald Trump. Tuberville spoke at Freedom Fest in Madison County on Thursday and at the Trump Truck Parade rally in Phenix City.

“It’s time Alabama had a U.S. senator who represents our conservative beliefs and traditional values,” Tuberville said in Phenix City. “It’s time Alabama had a U.S. senator who supports the Second Amendment, the right to life, and putting God back in the classroom.”

Polling consistently shows Tuberville with a commanding lead over Jones. Real Clear Politics lists the race on their current board as a likely Republican win. FiveThirtyEight’s election model gives Tuberville has a 79 percent chance of defeating Jones.

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Tuberville says election is about “the American dream”

“It is not about me. It is not about Biden or Jones. It is about the American dream. They are trying to take it away from us,” Tuberville claimed.

Brandon Moseley

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Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville (TUBERVILLE CAMPAIGN)

Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville spoke at Freedom Fest asking Madison County voters to support him and re-elect Donald Trump on Election Day next Tuesday.

The former Auburn University head football coach told the estimated crowd of 350 that, “It is great to be here. This has been a lot of fun for me. Two years ago, my wife and I started to pray on whether or not to run. When we decided to run, she said don’t come back until you win.”

“This is a very serious election,” Tuberville said. “This is not about Donald Trump. It is not about me. It is not about Biden or Jones. It is about the American dream. They are trying to take it away from us.”

“I always told my players this: this country gives you the opportunity to fail and if you fail you get back up and try again,” Tuberville said. “When I was growing up in Arkansas I wanted to be a college football coach. People in high school laughed at me for it and people in college. It takes perseverance.”

Tuberville said that this country gives you the opportunity to succeed, more so than any other country in the world. He claimed that most of the rest of the world is “socialist.”

Tuberville also claimed that the other side, the Democratic candidates, are trying to turn America into a socialist country, which is not accurate.

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“We are not going to let them ruin this country,” Tuberville said.

The 2020 Madison County GOP Freedom Fest was held at the brand new Toyota Field, the new home of the Huntsville Trash Pandas minor league baseball team.

Tuberville praised Trump whom he said he has “gotten to know through all of this, and we have become friends. He never slows down, and he is sharp as a tack.”

Tuberville said that the president once called him at 2:30 in the morning, “He said sleep is overrated.”

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Tuberville said that he has spoken with “a lot of people who are as nervous as I am about Tuesday.” Tuberville, who is being outspent, urged the crowd to ignore all the television ads by his opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones.

Tuberville vowed to defend the Second Amendment if elected, “They ain’t getting my guns….or your guns.”

“We need to get God back in our schools and teach values again,” Tuberville stated. “The other side does not talk about values and morals.”

We are not going to allow them to tear down our country,” Tuberville said. “God will not allow them.”

“We are going to get God back in our country like it is supposed to be,” Tuberville said.

Tuberville was introduced to the crowd by State Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Guntersville. Scofield said that he “is ready to send Doug Jones back to California.”

“Yes I know he is actually from here, but he sure votes like California,” he said. “He certainly doesn’t vote like the vast majority of the people of Alabama want him to vote.”

Scofield called Tuberville is “a fighter” who will stand up for the values of the people of Alabama.

Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, said, “This is the most important election of my lifetime.”

“Do we believe in freedom and liberty or do we believe in socialism?” Brooks said. “We need to beat them like a drum.”

The general election is on Tuesday. You must bring a valid photo ID with you to your assigned polling place in order to participate.

Secretary of State John Merrill has predicted that the state would have record participation on Tuesday.

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State is cleaning up after Hurricane Zeta

Almost 500,000 Alabama Power customers were without power immediately following the storm, including 163,000 in Mobile County alone.

Brandon Moseley

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

Alabama began working to recover from and clean up after Hurricane Zeta on Thursday after the storm slammed the state this week.

“Zeta gave us a real pounding, and many areas are just beginning the clean up process,” said Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama. “The storm had an especially serious impact in north Mobile County, Washington County, and Clarke County. My staff and I stand ready to assist our city, county, and state partners to ensure folks get the help they need to clean up and rebuild.”

Almost 500,000 Alabama Power customers were without power immediately following the storm, including 163,000 in Mobile County alone.

“Our storm team is working into the evening replacing downed lines and poles to restore service for our customers,” Alabama Power announced on Twitter. “At 9:30 p.m., 258,000 customers remain without service across the state. … As of 6 a.m. there are 243,000 outages across the state.”

There was damage across much of the state. As Hurricane Zeta moved through Alabama, it left behind many problems. Thousands of trees are down. There are trees down on homes, businesses, cars, power lines, fences, barns and blocking roadways.

Some school systems are closed or are conducting classes remotely on Friday due to ongoing cleanup efforts and the widespread power outages. The schools plan to reopen Monday.

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Flooding from the higher than expected storm surge hit downtown Mobile according to the National Hurricane Center. The National Weather Service said that water in parts of Mobile Bay rose to “major flooding” levels overnight on Oct. 28 to 29.

Byrne warned constituents to be careful using chainsaws in the cleanup and using generators to power their homes and businesses.

The Alabama Department of Public Health warned that, “It might take longer than normal to get power and water back up after #HurricaneZeta. Take steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning if you’re using a generator.”

Portable generators should be kept OUTSIDE the home. Carbon monoxide can build up rapidly if you are using a generator inside a building. Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and it kills hundreds of Americans each year.

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Because the storm was moving so rapidly, it was not just the coastal counties that were hit hard by Hurricane Zeta. Elmore, Butler, Shelby and Calhoun Counties are among the many counties with extensive damage.

The state was already recovering from Hurricane Sally in September.

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