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Sessions Meets with Trump; but Most Reports are that Mike Pence will be Vice-President Pick

Brandon Moseley



By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, July 14, US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) met with presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, ostensibly about the Vice Presidential choice. Multiple media sources are however reporting that Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) will be Mr. Trump’s choice.

Donald Trump met with Senator Sessions at an Indianapolis Hotel on Thursday. He also met with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) at the same Hotel. The billionaire businessman and reality TV star and his adult children had a breakfast meeting earlier that day with Governor Pence. Trump met with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) on Tuesday.

Trump told reporters that he had whittled his choice down to two. Trump said that he wanted someone who is smart and they he did not want an attack dog.

The presumptive Republican nominee had announced that he was going to make the announcement at a press conference on Friday; but postponed the event after a terrorist drove a truck over Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France on Thursday killing over 70 unarmed French people. After killing dozens that terrorist got out of his truck and began killing people with a gun.

Governor Pence is no stranger to Alabama. In 2014 he was the key note speaker at the Alabama Republican Party Summer Dinner event. Governor Pence endorsed Gary Palmer over former State Representative Paul DeMarco (R-Homewood) in the 2014 Republican Primary runoff for Alabama’s Congressional District Six. The seat was open after popular incumbent Spencer Bachus (R-Vestavia) had announced his retirement.

On Friday, June 20, 2014 Governor Pence addressed an estimated 800 Republican officeholders, donors, state executive committee members, and grassroots activists at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Gov. Pence said then that Alabama is on a roll under the tenacious leadership of, “One of the most principled effective governors in these United States in Robert Bentley.” Pence praised Bentley for his leadership and his progress lowering the state’s unemployment.

Pence said that Indiana is the first right to work state in the Midwest. Democratic leadership only leads to more deficits and debts. Having Republican leadership at the State level matters. There are 29 Republican Governors across America and they have to deal with mandates from the national government which are slowing the economic progress.

Pence said that he was a member of congress for 12 years and if he found out that he just had 12 years left to live he would want to spend them in the United States Congress because those were the longest 12 years of my life.


Pence said that under this President we have seen an erosion of our freedoms every day. The worst thing this President has done has been the loss of America’s standing in the world.

Pence said that he served for 10 years on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and he visited troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan every year. We can not lead from behind and can not build American strength by apologizing to our enemies and by abandoning our allies and we can not allow a terrorist army from Syria reclaim that which we fought for.

Pence said that President Obama just doesn’t get it. The President told then Congressman Pence that we can’t solve America’s problems through ideological debate. Pence said that common sense solutions is not ideological.

Pence said that he supports common sense solutions affirming our values and ideals. Republicans believe in protecting the freedom of law abiding Americans. We believe in freedom, including freedom from debts. Rolling back red tape. Rejecting the environmental extremism of climate change. We support an all of the above energy policy. That is common sense for America and is freedom.

Pence said that Obamacare must be repealed and replaced. America needs state based reforms. “Our state governments are not territorial outposts of the federal government.” Pence told the Alabama crowd that his hero was the 40th President of the United States: Ronald Reagan and Reagan once said that the states created federal government. The federal government did not create the states.

Pence said that he believes that the Restoring Republican leadership in the Senate, “I believe we are in the final days of Harry Reid’s leadership in the United States senate, is not enough. We must demand that they permanently reduce the size and scope of the federal government. This won’t be easy but we must make the case for new federalism.”

Pence said that freedom is at the core of America’s founding and we should hold the banner of freedom high. Do not become weary of doing good, because in due time your labors on behalf of freedom will prevail. “The best days of Alabama and America are ahead.”

Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) introduced Governor Pence at the 2014 event. Aderholt said that he served in the US House of Representatives with Pence and that Pence was the Chair of the Republican Caucus where he did a great job. “Mike Pence is a person of honesty. Very few members that I serve with measure up to the level of Mike Pence. He is a true Republican and he is a Christian first. Karen, his wife, is here tonight and they have three children. Mike is a proven leader, my friend and the 50th Governor of the Great state of Indiana.”

Meanwhile Republicans are getting down to business at the 2016 convention. Trump supporters are trying to block a never Trump rule in the powerful rules committee that would free the delegates to vote their conscience. This theoretically could lead to the rejection of Trump ad his ultimately being replaced on the ballot. Few observers expect any of that to actually happen.

Alabama is represented on the Rules Committee by State Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) and Laura Payne. Both are Trump delegates.

Senator Sessions is the Chairman of the Alabama delegation to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Sen. Sessions was first elected to the Senate in 1996. He has previously served the people of Alabama as attorney general, Alabama Republican Party Chairman, and as US attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.

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.



Alabama reports record-breaking 2,164 new COVID-19 cases

Thursday’s number of new cases hit 2,164 and blew past the previous daily record set on July 3 by 406 cases.

Eddie Burkhalter



Thirty-two percent of the state’s 48,588 cumulative confirmed cases have been added within the last two weeks. (APR GRAPHIC)

New COVID-19 cases in Alabama on Thursday jumped by nearly double from the day before, and for the first time broke 2,000 in a single day, according to the latest data from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Thursday’s number of new cases hit 2,164 and blew past the previous daily record set on July 3 by 406 cases. Both the seven-day and 14-day rolling average of new daily cases in Alabama were also at record highs Thursday. 

Thirty-two percent of the state’s 48,588 cumulative confirmed cases have been added within the last two weeks. 

The Alabama Department of Public Health did not publish Wednesday an update to the total number of tests performed, which throws off the day’s figures for the percentage of tests that are positive, but on average, over the last week, the state’s seven-day rolling average of percent positivity has roughly 15 percent. 

Public health experts say the percent positivity should be at or below 5 percent — otherwise there isn’t enough testing being done and cases are going undetected. 

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Along with surging new cases, the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Wednesday was higher than it’s been since the beginning of the pandemic. On Wednesday 1,110 coronavirus patients were being treated in state hospitals, which was the fourth straight day of record current hospitalizations. 

UAB Hospital’s COVID-19 Intensive care units were nearing their existing capacity Tuesday. The hospital has both a COVID ICU and a COVID acute care unit designated to keep patients separated from those who don’t have the virus, but it has more space in other non-COVID units should it need to add additional bed space.


Hospitals in Madison County this week are also seeing a surge of COVID-19 patients. Paul Finley, the mayor of the city of Madison, told reporters Wednesday that local hospitals were reporting record numbers.

Hospitals there were at 80 to 90 percent capacity.

“Our ambulances yesterday had their greatest number of runs since this started,” said Crestwood Hospital CEO Dr. Pam Hudson on Wednesday, adding that in about 20 percent of calls staff is having to wear full personal protective equipment. “That indicates that they are working with patients who have symptoms that could be compatible with COVID.”

Meanwhile, Madison County set a new daily record, adding 286 cases Thursday, the first time the county has surpassed 200 cases a day. The county was largely spared early on in the pandemic, with low case counts and low death rates, but roughly 42 percent of Madison County’s total case count since March has been reported in the last week as 803 new cases have been added.

Jefferson County and Madison County, over the last week, have accounted for 26 percent of the state’s new cases.

Jefferson County led the state in the most new cases Thursday with 343 and has added 1,498 cases in the last week. The county’s total cases increased by 33 percent from last week, and stood at 6,030 confirmed COVID-19 cases Thursday.

While Jefferson County and Madison County are seeing the state’s most intense increases, other large counties including Shelby County, Baldwin County and Tuscaloosa County have also seen record increases and rising percent positive rates.

At least 81 people have died from COVID-19 in the last week, and 162 people have died in the last two weeks.

At least 1,042 people have died from COVID-19 since March, and at least 26 other deaths are listed as “probable” COVID-19 deaths.

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Congresswoman Martha Roby endorses Jeff Coleman





Congressional candidate Jeff Coleman. (CAMPAIGN)

Congresswoman Martha Roby endorsed Jeff Coleman for Congress Thursday. “I fully support Jeff Coleman to be our next Congressman,” Roby said. “Jeff Coleman is a businessman who supports cutting government regulation and lowering taxes to help grow a strong economy. Jeff strongly supports our men and women serving in uniform, as well as our veterans.”

She continued, “The Second District needs someone who will support our interests right here in southeast Alabama, particularly our farmers. Jeff will do just that. He’ll get results for Alabama.”

“I am humbled and honored to receive this strong endorsement from Representative Roby. She has been a staunch supporter of our military men and women, as well as our farmers. I am looking forward to continuing her legacy of fighting for our conservative Alabama values, protecting the family farm, and fighting to ensure our veterans and active-duty personnel have all the resources they need,” Coleman said of the endorsement.

Coleman has now been endorsed by 10 mayors, multiple business associations in the state, the U.S. Chamber, and Roby. Coleman finished the Republican Primary on March 3 with 38 percent of the vote — 18 points ahead of his closest challenger.

Coleman has never run for public office and touts a 35-year successful business career.

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Secretary of state says office will assist voters in complaints if local authorities punish voters without masks

Brandon Moseley




Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told the Alabama Political Reporter that all 1,980 polling places will be open on Tuesday for in-person voting if a voter chooses to cast their ballot in person.

COVID-19 has been a paramount concern for people across the state and citizens have to deal with a number of business, Church and government office closures since March, but Merrill insisted that voters will be able to vote in either the Republican or Democratic Party runoffs on Tuesday at the polling place they are assigned.

A number of cities and counties are requiring masks whenever anyone goes out in any public place and government offices and businesses are refusing service to persons who do not have a mask or who refuse to wear one.

Merrill told APR that the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Scott Harris and other public health authorities are suggesting that you should wear a mask when you go out. Many polling places will provide them to voters that need them, but wearing a mask is not required to vote.

“There are only five requirements to vote in Alabama: You have to be 18 years of age. You have to be a citizen, You have to be a resident of Alabama, You must not have been convicted of an act of moral turpitude that has taken away your voting rights, and you must have a valid photo ID,” Merrill told APR. “When you meet those requirements you can vote in the state of Alabama.”

When asked whether voters in those jurisdictions with face mask requirements have to wear masks when at the polls, Merrill said, “I don’t think anybody at the local level is trying to prevent people from voting.

Merrill said if localities place police or other law enforcement outside polls and attempt to ticket those who try to enter or exit without the required mask his office would get involved.

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“If they want to try to do that, we will assist the voter in filing a lawsuit on infringement of their civil rights,” Merrill said.

Public health authorities are urging that everyone wear masks or cloth face coverings to protect themselves from becoming infected with the coronavirus and to avoid spreading the virus to others. Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Alabama press corps Tuesday that 20 to 40 percent of people infected with the virus have no symptoms and don’t event know that they are infected.

Thursday is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot to participate in the Tuesday, July 14 party primary runoff election. The close of business Thursday is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot. The last day to return those completed absentee ballots is the close of business on Monday.


Voters with a health concern due to the possibility of getting or transmitting the coronavirus may obtain an absentee ballot. The voter will still have to check a reason for asking for the absentee ballot. If the reason is fear of the coronavirus, mark that there is a health reason for the application. You will be allowed to vote absentee. Remember to fill out all the paperwork completely and to mail or return the ballot on time.

In the Republican primary runoff, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville and former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions are running for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate. Judge Beth Kellum faces challenger Will Smith for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

There is no statewide Democratic primary runoff races, but in the 1st Congressional District, James Averhart and Kiani Gardner are running for the Democratic nomination for Congress.

On the Republican side, former State Sen. Bill Hightower, R-Mobile, and Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl are running for the Republican nomination for Congress.

In Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, former State Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, faces Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman. There are also a number of local races being decided in primary runoffs on Tuesday.

Notably in Etowah County, the revenue commissioner’s race is a runoff between State Rep. Becky Nordgren, R-Gadsden, and Jeff Overstreet for the Republican nomination.

In Jefferson County, State Rep. Rod Scott, D-Fairfield, faces Eyrika Parker in the Democratic primary runoff for county treasurer.

If either Nordgren or Scott win the local offices they seek, that will lead to a special election for what would become open seats in the Alabama House of Representatives.

The polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and close at 7 p.m. A valid photo ID is required to participate in any Alabama election.

Absentee ballot applications are available online.

On Wednesday, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported that 25 more Alabamians have died from COVID-19, raising the state death toll from the global pandemic to 1,032. Also, on Wednesday, another 1,162 Alabamians learned that they were infected with the novel strain of the coronavirus, raising the number of cases in the state to 46,424.

Only about 9 percent of the state has been tested at this point in time.

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Sessions says that he will never stop fighting for law enforcement officers

Brandon Moseley



Jeff Sessions testifies before a Congressional committe. (CSPAN)

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Sessions said on social media that he will “never stop fighting” for law enforcement officers. This was in response to the Saturday slaying of Ohio police officer Anthony Dia.

“We must end the violence against police,” Sessions said. “The last words of Officer Anthony Dia before he died on Saturday was ‘Tell my family I loved them.’”

“The disrespect and even attacks on our courageous law enforcement officers have reached a totally unacceptable level,” Sessions continued. “It is immoral and insane.”

Sessions prioritized good relations with law enforcement while he was U.S. attorney general.

“I understand how difficult their job is and how important it is for the peace and safety of our people,” Sessions said. ”I will never stop fighting for them. Let us remember Officer Dia and pledge that we will not forget his sacrifice.”

Toledo Police Officer Anthony Dia was 26-years old when he responded to a call about an intoxicated man in a store’s parking lot. When he “approached the male to check his safety,” the man turned around and fired a single bullet from a handgun, police said, citing witnesses account.

“He bled out, pretty much. They did what they could with lifesaving measures, but there was nothing they could do,” Dia’s widow Jayme told the Toledo Blade newspaper. “The last thing he said over the radio was, ‘Tell my family I love them.’ He lived for his family, and he loved, just loved, being a police officer.”

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American law enforcement has come under heavy criticism by politicians, the media and the public alike following the death of George Floyd during an arrest by the Minneapolis Police Department.

Sessions served in the Senate from 1997 to 2017, when he was confirmed as U.S. attorney general in the Trump administration. Sessions is also a former U.S. attorney, Alabama attorney general and assistant U.S. attorney.

Following his service as U.S. attorney for both the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, Sessions was chairman of the Alabama Republican Party. Sessions is a former U.S. Army reserve officer. He has a bachelor’s degree from Huntingdon College in Montgomery and a law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law.


Sessions and his wife, Mary Blackshear Sessions, started the first college Republican club at Huntingdon College. They have three children as well as grandchildren. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was born outside of Camden in Wilcox County in 1946. Sessions is a native Alabamian. He is 73 years old.

Sessions is running in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff. His opponent is former Auburn University head football Coach Tommy Tuberville. The winner of the GOP nomination will face incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, in the Nov. 3 general election. Defeating Jones is considered critical for Republicans efforts to try to retain control of the Senate.

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