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Shelby Campaign Goes Negative Against McConnell

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

For weeks, Jonathan McConnell has been making accusation after accusation against incumbent US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama).  McConnell has accused Shelby of using his position to enrich himself and his friends.  Despite Shelby’s near perfect conservative voting score record from the American Conservative Union, McConnell has denounced Shelby as being “establishment.”

Senator Shelby has spent his enormous campaign resources touting his conservative voting record and what his seniority allows him to do for the people of Alabama.  Shelby’s campaign had resisted the urge to go negative against McConnell……until now.

A new website has denounced McConnell, whose company provided maritime security for global shipping interests, as a “con man” who would say and do anything to get elected to the US Senate.  The website accused McConnell of being pro-amnesty for illegal aliens, offering a bribe to opponent John Martin, crony capitalism, and violating federal election laws. 

Meanwhile pro-Shelby news sources, including the Yellowhammer News and talk radio host Baron Coleman, have gone after the 33 year old former Marine’s financial dealings.  Coleman reported that McConnell’s company is listed as the security firm for a company which has proposed converting old cruise liners into floating offices outside of US territorial waters so companies can outsource their clerical work to non-US residents who would live and work on the ships.  The Yellowhammer News has released a recording of McConnell suggesting that the illegal aliens in this country all be given taxpayer identification numbers. 

On Wednesday, February 10, McConnell’s campaign released a statement after the Alabama Political Reporter requested their response to the charges: “For an incumbent supposedly getting 79 percent in the polls, this latest dishonest attack is a sharp turn toward desperation for the Shelby campaign. It’s just another indication of how a career politician like Richard Shelby will say or do anything—including not telling the truth and twisting facts—to cling to his money-making seat in the Senate. Voters are fed up with career politicians like Richard Shelby.”

McConnell campaign manager Rick Renshaw said, “Today’s flailing attack from Shelby directly marks a sharp turn in this race for Senate. Comparing a conservative like Jonathan McConnell to Obama is laughable and shows just how desperate Richard Shelby is to retain power.”

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The McConnell campaign claims that Shelby has only 55 percent support from the Republican electorate and is fading.  The Shelby campaign has shared their internal polling showing that support at 75 percent.  Both campaigns dispute the other campaign’s poll’s validity.

Renshaw continued, “Today is the first sign of desperation for the Shelby campaign. It’s an indication of how a career politician will say or do anything—including not telling the truth and twisting facts—to cling to his money-making seat in the Senate. Voters are fed up with career politicians like Richard Shelby.  Shelby’s attacks on McConnell today prove three things: 1. Shelby’s camp is lying about the state of the race. Their polling is either wrong or intentionally misleading. Jonathan McConnell is closing in and Shelby is in danger of a runoff. There is no other rational explanation.  2.  Our polling is accurate, and Shelby’s collapse has already happened. The paid attacks are proof that McConnell’s rise is real and Shelby’s camp has seen the likely scenario of a run-off in their future.  3.  Shelby’s multi-million dollar ad spends are having a negative effect. The more voters see of him the less they like. That does not bode well for a 37-year Washington Establishment figure who is trying to buy favor with an unhappy electorate trending the opposite way.”

McConnell campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth “Liz” BeShears wrote following Donald Trump’s victory in New Hampshire: “This anti-Establishment fervor will only continue to grow as we get deeper into the nominating process.  Voters across the country, especially here in Alabama, are rightly frustrated with Washington and its all talk, no action career politicians.”

BeShears added, “Even more evidence of this, is the extraordinary amount of cash being spent by Establishment politicians to stay in power. Richard Shelby is spending millions in Alabama, just like Jeb Bush spent a reported $38 million in New Hampshire. The Establishment cannot buy off voters—not in New Hampshire, and not in Alabama.”  “In Alabama, around 70 percent of voters are planning on casting their ballots for outsider candidates on March 1st. Those conservatives, thirsty for a real change in Washington, are not going to negate their votes by sending back 37-year career DC politician Richard Shelby.”

McConnell and Shelby will face off in the Republican Primary on March 1.  Former State Senator Shadrack McGill (R from Jackson County), former Ranger John Martin and Marcus Bowman are also running in the Republican primary.  Charles Nana faces marijuana advocate, Ron Crumpton in the March 1 Democratic Primary. 

The winner of each major party primary will face off in the general election in November.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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