By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, August 7, Democratic Candidate Avery Vise announced that he was dropping out of the race to be Alabama’s next Sixth Congressional District Representative.
In his letter, Vise blamed the redistricting that created Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s (D) from Selma majority minority district for the Democratic Party’s complete inability to field credible candidates in recent congressional races and hoped that a case currently before the Federal Court System would end the gerrymandering on racial lines that produces things like the Seventh District and the resulting Republican majorities in the other districts.
This and the Secretary of State’s rejection of Aimee Love’s Libertarian Party candidacy means that Republican nominee Gary Palmer currently has no opposition that we are aware of on the November ballot.
Gary Palmer said in a written statement “When I decided to run for the 6th Congressional seat of Alabama, I felt the need for someone to represent the common every day person, along with small business owners and their employees against the tidal wave of new regulations and taxes that are coming from non-elected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. This is the message we will continue to share with residents of the 6th District from now till November 4.”
Vise submitted a letter detailing his withdrawal to Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley early on Thursday. Recent changes in his employment means that Vise will have to spend more time out of state and won’t have time to effectively campaign for the position; that most political observers thought he had no chance of winning anyway. The Sixth Congressional District is one of the most conservative, Republican leaning districts in the country.
Aimee Love said on her web site, “Right now, the Libertarian Party of Alabama is engaged in a battle with the Alabama Secretary of State for ballot access. Although petitions were filed per the guidelines on his own website, James Bennett has chosen to ignore the rules written by his staff and deny seven Libertarian candidates the right to run. If successful, five incompetents will skate into office completely unopposed.”
Love said, “We have engaged an attorney who specializes in election issues and will be filing a lawsuit, but even though we are confident that we will eventually win, this sort of behavior is unacceptable and needs to be challenged not just by the party and candidates, but by all the citizens of Alabama. It is Alabama taxpayers and voters who will be paying to defend the Secretary of State in court. He considers that it is YOUR money well spent. Unlike Mr. Bennett, I don’t. Until the lawsuit is resolved, I will not be accepting campaign contributions.”
Love is the Vice Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Alabama, a home school mom, and a novelist. Some of her novels include, “The Widow,” “Cry Baby Hollow,” and “Epic.”
Vise’s withdrawal means Republican Gary Palmer currently has no opposition in the Alabama 6th Congressional District race to be decided on November 4.
The seat is currently held by Republican Representative Spencer Bachus from Vestavia who is retiring after 11 terms in the Congress. Congressman Bachus was an Alabama State Senator before defeating Congressman Ben Erdreich in 1992.
The Alabama Democratic Party will have two weeks to name a new candidate. Vise said that he tried to find someone to run but failed.
National Review columnist Quinn Hilyer describes Palmer as a, “Veteran think-tank workhorse Gary Palmer could immediately, even as a freshman, be a conservative congressional superstar.”
Hillyer said that, “Palmer is not just the founder and longtime president of the Alabama Policy Institute (API), but effectively is the dean of the entire alliance of tremendously successful think tanks known as the State Policy Network (SPN). His quarter century in the conservative vineyards gives Palmer not just unassailable credentials as a full-spectrum conservative, but also the policy chops, procedural knowledge, and political skills to hit the Capitol grounds sprinting as an advocate, legislator, and leader.”
Quin Hillyer said that Palmer, “Was an early supporter of current U.S. senator Jeff Sessions, and in 1997 he saw the newly elected Sessions appointed to the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Realizing how one-sided much of the day’s public environmental reporting was, Palmer and API produced Facts, Not Fear: Teaching Children About the Environment — which, Palmer notes, attracted front-page attention (aghast, of course) from the Washington Post and New York Times. The book became successful enough to require nine printings; it was translated into Spanish for widespread distribution in South and Central America and also was published in Canada and even Turkey.
National leaders have noticed. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal told me that Palmer is “an impressive guy [whose work] has distinguished him nationally as a reliable conservative leader.””
Hillyer concluded, “All too often, conservative activists rally to whichever seemingly conservative candidate appears best able to rouse the people, or turn a clever phrase, or play well for the cameras. Too often ignored is the knowledge and skill set needed actually to legislate a conservative agenda. For that job, Gary Palmer is one of the best in the business. National conservatives should be rushing to support him.”
Palmer grew up the son of a small logger in Hackleburgh where his mom still lives, before going on to the University of Alabama where he got a degree in Operations management. Palmer went on to found the Alabama Policy Network, where he was President for 24 years.