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Elections petition ties Democrat candidate for governor to Roy Moore, Jeff Sessions

A petition is calling for former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb to drop out of the governor’s race before the June 5 Democratic Primary election.

The online appeal paints an unflattering picture of the Democrat gubernatorial hopeful, citing Cobb’s sudden resignation as chief justice in 2011 and a recent letter supporting President Donald Trump’s appointment of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general.

The petition began through the efforts of activist and community organizer Carlos Chaverst Jr., who served in President Obama’s 2012 campaign as a field director and organizer in Florida and in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign as an outreach director to Alabama’s Historical Black Colleges and Universities.

Chaverst blames Cobb for the rise of Chief Justice Roy Moore, who won the seat after Cobb resigned, and also accuses her of going against the wishes of “Ms. Evelyn Turner, wife of civil rights legend the late Mr. Albert Turner, [who] bitterly opposed the nomination of Jeff Sessions for United States Attorney General.”

Cobb is further charged with hiding her efforts to help Session from much of the state’s black voters.

The petition points out that usually a Democrat who backs a Republican for office is at least reprimanded for offering assistance or endorsements to a member of the opposing party. The signees demand that Cobb stand before the Democrat Executive Committee and renounce her candidacy for governor because she aided a Republican officeholder who has doggedly opposed the Democratic platform over the last 20 years. Her support for Sessions, a man roundly accused of racism within Democratic circles, is a bridge too far for many progressives.

In her letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee of the Judiciary, Cobb wrote glowingly about friendship with Sessions, her admiration for his accomplishments and their long relationship.

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“He has always responded when I called; party boundaries were never a consideration or factor in his decision,” Cobb wrote. “It is for these reasons and many more that I write to offer my endorsement and support of the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General of The United States.”

Leaving her position as chief justice bewildered some of her supporters and bedeviled others. Likewise, Cobb’s return to public life heartened some and confounded others, especially in light of her quitting her office and supporting Sessions.

While the appeal has few signees, for now, that may turn around as the march toward the primary intensifies.


Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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