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Mayoral Race Addresses Elephant in the Room

Beth Clayton

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By Beth Clayton
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY–In the final weeks leading to Election Day in Mobile, the candidates and their supporters are pulling out all the stops to ensure a victory.

The race has come down to two candidates, incumbent Mobile Mayor Sam Jones and challenger Sandy Stimpson.

Last Sunday, Stimpson was attacked by a racially-charged fliers distributed during a church service at the African Methodist Episcopal Church, AME Zion, in Mobile. The pastor, Reverend C. Vincent Parker, says he has no idea how the fliers got distributed and promised to get to the bottom of the matter.

Reports conflict on whether or not the fliers were placed in the church bulletins (AL.com) or on the cars while church was in service (WPMI 15).

The flier contained a black man being attacked by a police officer and a police dog, with a description that reminded church attendees of the price of freedom for African Americans.

The flier further describes Stimpson’s attempts to undermine President Obama in the national election by donating more than $12,000 to Republican challengers. The flier says that Stimpson has donated more than $150,000 to Republicans and says that Stimpson has spent more than $1.5 million on his own race in an attempt to defeat Jones.

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The Mayoral race is non-partisan, but the partisan breakdown of the city will play an important role in the election.

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Jones maintains that he has nothing to do with the fliers, however he does say that race is the “elephant in the room” in politics. Jones says that he doesn’t support any tactics that divide the community, whether along racial lines or otherwise.

Stimpson fired back in a written statement, saying, “”It saddens me deeply that this has distracted us from talking about issues that affect city business…My campaign has always been about the future of our city for ‘One Mobile.’ We’ll continue to talk about the issues that matter to all Mobilians – public safety, improved quality of life, jobs, education and economic development.”

Stimpson further called on Jones to join him in a pledge to “keep this campaign about the issues and not let personal attacks distract us from talking about what will make Mobile stronger.”

Recently, Stimpson has also promised to give his salary back to the city to be used in a bonus pool for city employees.  Jones has called on Stimpson to release his income tax returns to prove to the voters that he will be able to keep this promise. Jones further alleges that Stimpson is trying to buy the race by promising to donate his salary back.

The candidates squared off in the last televised debate on Tuesday, August 13 before voters head to the polls on August 27.

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