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Candidates Line-Up to Fill Barton’s Seat

Beth Clayton

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By Beth Clayton
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY–Only a week after Representative Jim Barton (R-Mobile) confirmed rumors that he was, in fact, resigning his seat to take a lucrative lobbying contract with Kinney Capitol Group, candidates are lining up in Mobile to fill the seat in the special election.

Nathan Davis, an opponent of Barton in the 2010 race for the same seat, has announced that he plans to run to fill the vacancy.

Davis is the operations manager of an HVAC business, Mingledorff’s, Inc.. He describes himself as “trying to live day-to-day like everyone else. I’m not wealthy but I’m not starving or not insulated from real world.”

In 2010, Davis won 33 percent of the vote with modest fundraising, raising less than $1,000. He says this is because he was willing to engage with the voters and knock on doors.

Davis wants to run because he “cannot ignore Washington and the national debt,” he says.  “As a state representative, you should represent voters of 104 and the state of Alabama. I’m a big believer in the 10th Amendment and Constitution and it’s going to be my priority to do as much as I can to refute federal mandates and intrusions in our lives.

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Davis is joining other Republicans across Alabama in the message that voting Republican locally will combat the work being done in Washington. This is a common theme among several campaigns, despite the fact that state legislators cannot vote in Congress or override the Supremacy Clause in Article VI of the Constitution, which establishes federal statutes as the “supreme law of the land.”

The other candidate who has announced intent to run for the newly vacated district 104 seat is Margie Wilcox, the founder Mobile Bay Transportation, an airport shuttle service.

Wilcox says she plans to use her expertise as a small business owner to effectively represent the people of the district.

“By dealing with municipalities and other governments I’ve dealt with, I’ve seen a disconnect between what it takes to grow and help small business. I’d like to be the sounding board to help make it better and easier to operate a small business in Alabama,” Wilcox says.

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The two candidates who have emerged in this race personify the sharp divide between the Tea Party and the Business Council of Alabama. Davis is running on an anti-federal government platform, while Wilcox is running to support businesses.

The campaign finance disclosure reports may confirm the allegiances as soon as they begin to raise money and file monthly reports.

Currently, Davis has appointed a principle campaign committee with the Secretary of State. He appointed himself, Nathan Forrest Davis, as the sole member of the campaign committee on August 12.

Wilcox has not filed her principal campaign committee paperwork with the Secretary of State as of the time of publication.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, a third candidate has filed to form a campaign committee for this seat who has not released any statements.

Charlie Plyler, a Mobile Realtor with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, appointed himself as the sole member of his principle campaign committee on August 14 to run for this seat.

According to Facebook, Plyler qualified with the Alabama Republican Party on Wednesday. He called it an “exciting day” and said that “Lu Ann and I are excited about the opportunity.”

Plyler has posted links to the YellowHammer blog site on his Facebook.

Qualifying for the major party candidates (yes, Nancy Worley, this means you) will end at 5:00 p.m. on August 19.

The special election is set for December 10, following a special primary election on October 15. If a runoff election is necessary, it will be held December 3 and the general election will be postponed to January 28.

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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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