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Mike Huckabee campaigns for Scott Dawson

Brandon Moseley

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Monday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was in Pelham, Alabama, to campaign for his friend, Scott Dawson.

Dawson is an evangelist who is running for governor in the Republican Primary.

“What a joy to be here with the next governor of Alabama Scott Dawson,” Huckabee told the crowd.

Huckabee also praised his daughter, White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“I am delighted by that young lady,” Huckabee said. “God prepared her for this by giving her two older brothers that were not always nice to her.  To be honest Donald Trump was not my first choice for president; I was my first choice for president. I am glad to see a Huckabee in the White House; it is just not the Huckabee I had planned on.”

Huckabee said that it is a delight to see her smack down, “Jim Acosta or one of those fake news goons from CNN.”

The former Arkansas governor said that Dawson has the humility to be governor.

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“I believe that Scott has a hard fight on his hands but with your help he will win,” Huckabee said. “I believe that he is not going to disappoint you because he is more afraid that he will disappoint God. Second if he did some of things that others have done you will never read about it in the newspaper because Tarra would put a bullet in his forehead and then start looking around for another clip.”

Popular Alabama radio personalities “Rick and Bubba” were also there to support their friend and regular radio contributor, Scott Dawson.

Bill “Bubba” Bussey Jr. said he had known Dawson for 16 years.

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“One day he asked me to meet with him for lunch,” Bussey said recalling Dawson’s decision to run. “There he said, ‘I want you to run for Governor.'”

Bussey said he told him, “I am going to have to have a real clear vision from God on it. I am going to actually have a burning bush moment; not just a feeling. I prayed about it but decided that I was not being called to do that. I told him that if you feel real strong about it maybe you should run. I was pretty honored about being asked but until I found out that he had asked 25 other people.”

Rick Burgess said, “We can’t constantly talk about how bad it is but at some point somebody like Scott has to step and run”.

Burgess said of Dawson, “He will not embarrass you like some who have gone before have.”

“Invest in something that matters,” Burgess said. “Do it for your children. Do it for your grandchildren so we can finally have a man in office that we can not be embarrassed or ashamed by.

Dawson said, “This is about Alabama this is about how you deserve better than we are getting from Montgomery.”

“The last governor that was elected was removed from office,” Dawson said. “Two of the last three governors have been convicted or pleaded guilty.”

Dawson said that there are two things we have got to address head on: ethic and education.

“It is time to get rid of Common Core and bring back common sense,” Dawson said. “We are not against standards but they should be Alabama standards.”

Dawson promised to use volunteers who have passed a background check to make sure that every child can read, write, and do arithmetic by the end of the third grade. Dawson said that favors mandatory drug tests for students participating in every extracurricular activity starting in the 9th grade.

Dawson want to expand rehab in Alabama by opening up the doors to faith based rehab.

The Alabama Political Reporter asked Huckabee: You were a governor and are aware of the steep learning curve it takes to enter that office.   Scott Dawson has never served in a state office or in the legislature.  How much does it hurt him that he has no government experience?

“You are right that there is a steep learning curve to assuming office as governor,” Huckabee answered. “I was lieutenant governor; but it did not really prepare me for being governor.  Neither would serving in the legislature or being a state official.  I think that he has not been in lower levels of politics is actually a positive as he does not owe people for helping him along the way.”

APR asked Rick Burgess if he feared that there could be a backlash against his show, which is an entertainment show, for getting so involved in politics.

Burgess said that he did not expect any sort of backlash because politics is one of the things that they do on the show.

“We might have one segment about a national news event, another about politics, then one segment about what is your favorite cookie, then a segment about sports; but you have to be careful about how much you do it,” Burgess said.  “This is the only the second time that we have done this.  The other time was for Gary Palmer.  We are not endorsing Scott Dawson; we are vouching for Scott.”

The major party primaries will be on June 5, 2018.

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.

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Barry Moore receives two key endorsements

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Barry Moore, Republican candidate for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. (VIA BARRY MOORE CAMPAIGN)

Barry Moore, candidate for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, received two key endorsements from the Alabama First Responders Association and the Veterans Leadership Fund. Both groups made the decision to endorse Moore because of his pro Veteran, pro Law Enforcement, and Pro First Responders stance. 

“We at the Veterans Leadership Fund, an initiative at GatorPAC, are proud to endorse Veteran, Barry Moore for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. At VFL, we have a rich history of supporting candidates who best represent true conservative values and have served our great country. As a self term-limiting representative, a devout conservative, and a true man of the people, Barry Moore is the ideal representative for veterans and conservatives alike,” said Rob Maness, founder of GatorPAC and the Veterans Leadership Fund. 

“The Alabama First Responders are proud to endorse Barry Moore for Alabama’s second Congressional district. Alabama’s heroes put their lives on the line every day. We must protect their jobs, and make sure that their families will be covered if something tragic happens in the line of duty. Barry always voted in support of first responder legislation while he served in the Alabama Legislature. We are confident that Barry Moore will continue his support while serving in Congress,” said interim Director Brett Trimble. 

Moore responded with the following statement:

“I am very honored to receive both of these endorsements. I am a Veteran and having the support of the Veterans Leadership fund is quite an honor. I have always worked to support and defend our Veterans. When I served as the Chairman of Military and Veterans Affairs in the Legislature, I always made sure our servicemen and women were a top priority.

“First Responders are the backbone of our communities. They serve the citizens and put their lives on the line each day. When a disaster happens we can always count on these brave men and women to respond with courage and empathy. President Trump has shown great care in protecting and defending our law enforcement officers. We can’t let the Democrats attempt to defund the Police. When I’m serving in Congress, I will stand strong with the President and DEFEND our Police and first responders.”

Moore is a small businessman, Veteran, former member of the Alabama Legislature, husband, and father of four from Enterprise.

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Sessions says Alabama doesn’t take orders from Washington after Trump inserts himself in race again

Brandon Moseley

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GOP Senate candidate and former Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, released a statement pushing back against President Donald Trump’s endorsement of his opponent, former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, in which he said “Alabama does not take orders from Washington.”

The blunt comments were in response to a Twitter post from Trump once again inserting himself in the Alabama Senate race.

“I’ve taken the road less travelled,” Sessions said. “Not sought fame or fortune. My honor and integrity are far more important than these juvenile insults. Your scandal ridden candidate is too cowardly to debate. As you know, Alabama does not take orders from Washington.”

This was after Trump tweeted, “Big Senate Race in Alabama on Tuesday. Vote for @TTuberville, he is a winner who will never let you down. Jeff Sessions is a disaster who has let us all down. We don’t want him back in Washington!”

Trump has called his decision to appoint Sessions as U.S. attorney general his “biggest mistake” as president.

The rift between the two former friends began in 2017 when Sessions, newly appointed as attorney general, recused himself from the Russian collusion investigation. Sessions has steadfastly defended the decision and continues to maintain that he was forbidden by U.S. Department of Justice policy forbidding anyone who was part of a campaign from investigating that campaign.

Sessions was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump in the 2016 presidential election and worked tirelessly throughout 2016 as a surrogate for the Trump campaign.

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Sessions maintains that had he not recused himself from the Russian collusion investigation things would have gone worse for Trump. As it was, his duties in the matter fell on fellow Trump appointee Rod Rosenstein, who appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel.

The special counsel investigation successfully prosecuted a number of close Trump associates for various failings in their personal and professional lives, but ultimately never was able to indict the president or a member of the Trump family, and it never was able to produce tangible evidence that the 2016 Trump campaign was involved in collusion with Russian intelligence agencies to defeat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Sessions is running for the Senate seat he gave up to be attorney general.

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Tuberville has been avoiding the media since a New York Times report detailed how Tuberville’s business partner David Stroud cheated investors out of their savings and was sentenced to ten years in prison. The two had formed a hedge fund, managed by Stroud, a former Lehman Brothers broker. Tuberville maintains that he was Stroud’s biggest victim, but the investors sued Tuberville, who settled out of court.

Sessions’ campaign maintains that incumbent Sen. Doug Jones’ campaign will capitalize on the scandal during the general election similarly to how they capitalized on allegations against former Chief Justice Roy Moore to win the 2017 special election to win the Senate seat vacated by Sessions to be attorney general.

Sessions was a late entrant into the Senate campaign. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, has endorsed Sessions.

“Jeff Sessions is a good friend and a respected former colleague,” Shelby wrote. “I believe he is well-suited to return to his role as United States Senator for the state of Alabama, where I served with him for more than 20 years. He has my full support and endorsement.”

Sessions was Senator from 1997 to 2017. He was U.S. Attorney General from 2017 to Nov. 2018. Prior to his Senate service, he served the state as Alabama Attorney General, Republican Party Chairman, and U.S. Attorney under Presidents Ronald W. Reagan (R) and George H. Bush (R). Sessions was also a former assistant U.S. Attorney and a U.S. Army reserve officer. He is a native of Alabama who grew up outside of Camden in rural Wilcox County.

The Republican primary runoff is on Tuesday. In order to vote in any Alabama election you must: be registered to vote, vote at your assigned polling place, and have a valid photo ID. It is too late to register to vote in this election or obtain an absentee ballot; but if you have an absentee ballot today is the last day to return it either through mail or by hand delivering it to your courthouse absentee ballot manager’s office.

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Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth endorses Tuberville in GOP Senate runoff

Brandon Moseley

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Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth has endorsed former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate. Ainsworth cited the candidate’s outsider status, support for President Donald Trump and deep commitment to conservative issues as reasons for the decision to endorse the Coach in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate.

“I know Coach Tuberville is a deeply committed Christian conservative who is running for the Senate because of a desire to serve others and not because he is a career politician,” Ainsworth said. “Like me, Coach Tuberville is believer in pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-family issues, and anyone who has seen him stalk a sideline knows he will be the tough fighter that Alabama needs in the U.S. Senate.”

“Coach Tuberville understands that our country must reclaim manufacturing jobs from China and bring them back home so American workers can make homegrown products,” Ainsworth said. “And the fact that he has promised to donate his full Senate salary to charities and organizations that serve military veterans shows that he is a patriot who wants to give back to those who have given so much to our nation.”

As lieutenant governor, Ainsworth has launched a major workforce development initiative and heads the commission to protect Alabama’s military bases from closure. He noted that Tuberville has also been outspoken about the need to expand vocational training, preserve Alabama’s military infrastructure, and keep the promises our nation has made to its servicemen, servicewomen, and veterans.

Ainsworth added that President Donald J. Trump’s (R) endorsement of the the retired football coach in March influenced his decision to endorse Tuberville.

Ainsworth is a former legislator, former youth pastor and a current small business owner in Guntersville. Ainsworth ran for lieutenant governor in 2018 and received the most votes of any candidate for constitutional office on the general election ballot. Ainsworth is an Auburn University graduate.

Tuberville was endorsed by Alabama Republican Executive Committee member former State Rep. Perry O. Hooper Jr. on Thursday.

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Tuberville is running against former Sen. Jeff Sessions. The winner of the Republican nomination will face incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D-Alabama). Defeating Doug Jones is considered critical for Republicans to hold onto control of the Senate, in a year where a number of Republican seats appear vulnerable at this point.

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Will Smith, Beth Kellum in GOP runoff for Court of Criminal Appeals

Brandon Moseley

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Beth Kellum, left, and Will Smith, right, are in the GOP runoff for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2. (VIA CAMPAIGNS)

Voters will head to the polls Tuesday to vote in their party primary runoffs. The Democrats do not have a statewide race in a primary runoff. The Republicans have two. The Senate race between former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville and former Sen. Jeff Sessions is the one that is getting all the attention, but the GOP also has a hard-fought battle for Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Place 2.

There incumbent Beth Kellum faces challenger Will Smith. Both campaigns have been working to sway undecided Republicans to their side in the days before the election. The winner of Tuesday’s Republican runoff will be the next Place #2 Judge since there is no Democrat or Independent candidate on the ballot in November.

“Alabama needs a judge with experience, conservative values, intelligence, and courage representing each of them on the Court of Criminal Appeals. Judge Beth Kellum has and will continue to fight to uphold the law and respect the constitution when re-elected!” the Kellum campaign wrote on social media.

William “Will” Smith is a Florence attorney and former Lauderdale County Commissioner.

“Conservative grassroots Alabama political organizations have spoken. I am their conservative choice,” Smith claimed in a statement. “I have been endorsed by the two largest Republican groups in Alabama as well as other conservative groups throughout the state because I am a Christian, a conservative and a family man.”

“I am running for the Court of Criminal Appeals because I have the legal experience of practicing law in Alabama for over a quarter of a century, the conviction to follow the rule of law, and I am a constitutional conservative,” Smith added.

The Kellum campaign wrote: “Experienced Judge Beth Kellum serves the people of Alabama on the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Court hears all appeals of felony and misdemeanor cases, including violations of city ordinances and all post-conviction writs in criminal cases.”

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In the March 3rd Republican primary Kellum received the most votes by a margin of 43 percent to 37 percent for Smith.

“Our campaign message really resonated with primary voters and it is amazing we were within 6 percentage points of the incumbent despite being outspent over 15 to 1,” Smith said. “While I was outspent, I was not outworked. I traveled to the 4 corners of Alabama visiting almost 60 counties during the 60-day primary.”

Will and his wife, Laura, reside in Killen with their seven-year-old daughter, Angel Joy, who has autism. The Smiths are active members of Greenhill First Baptist Church. Will has served as a Sunday school teacher, international missions worker and Upward basketball coach. Smith has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of North Alabama and a law degree from Sanford’s Cumberland School of Law in 1992 where he received the American Jurisprudence Award for receiving the highest grade in Criminal Procedure. Smith is licensed to practice law in Alabama, Georgia, and before the United States Supreme Court. He operates a full service law firm representing clients from all walks of life in both civil and criminal matters including appeals in both the Alabama and federal appeals systems. Smith is a fifth generation Lauderdale County resident.

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Kellum is an Alabama native She grew up in Vance in Tuscaloosa County. She graduated from Brookwood High School in 1977. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and a law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law.

Judge Kellum was hired in 1985 by Attorney General Charles Graddick as an Assistant Attorney General. She worked in the criminal appeals division where she primarily prosecuted appeals before the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Alabama Supreme Court. She later worked as a staff Attorney for the Court of Criminal Appeals from 1987 until 1990. Kellum went into private practice with the Montgomery law firm of Robison & Belser, P.A., working on a wide variety of civil and criminal cases in state and federal courts. In 1997 to went back to the Court of Criminal Appeals to work as a Senior Staff Attorney for the newly-elected Judge Jean Brown. She worked as a Senior Staff Attorney for the Alabama Supreme Court from 1999 until 2001, before returning to the Court of Criminal Appeals as the Senior Staff Attorney for then newly-elected Judge Kelli Wise.

Kellum was elected to the Court of Criminal Appeals in November 2008 and was re-elected in 2014. She is currently seeking her third term on the Court.

Judge Kellum is a member of the First Baptist Church of Montgomery. She has served as a docent at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and is a member of a number of professional, civic, and political organizations.

The polls open at 7:00 am on Tuesday and close at 7:00 pm. You must be a registered voter, vote at your assigned polling place and have a valid photo ID in order to participate in any Alabama election. It is too late to apply for an absentee ballot. If you already have an absentee ballot you must get it in the mail or turn it in to your courthouse before the close of the business day on Monday.

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