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Pike County candidate urges supporters to vote Republican in primary before voting Democrat in Fall

Bill Britt

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Last week, Alton Starling, who is running for Pike County Probate Judge as a Republican, encouraged a group of Democrat-leaning individuals at a house party to vote in the Republican primary, saying they could switch in the general election to vote for Democrat.

“You need to vote in that [Republican] primary election because once that is done those races are over with,” said Starling to those gathered at the home of Penelope and Daniel Dawson, who are generally recognized as supporting Democrat candidates. In a video recording of the event, co-hosted by Caleb and Elizabeth Dawson who also back Democrat causes, Starling said those present could vote for him in the Republican primary and then for Democrat House of Representatives nominees Joel Williams and Walt Maddox in the Fall.

However, Starling’s advice may be ill-advised as Maddox faces a serious challenge in the Democrat primary from former Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb. While Maddox appears to be leading Cobb in the polls, if enough Democrats follow Starling’s call to crossover then Maddox’s primary win is in question.

Republicans and Democrats are generally very protective of their primaries, but it is not unheard of for liberal Republicans, also known as RINOs, to recruit Democrats to vote in the Republican primaries. This type of stealth voting led to Gov. Kay Ivey signing a bill banning crossover primary ballots in 2017.

“In the State of Alabama, primary elections serve as the preliminary process by which candidates are nominated to represent either the Republican or Democratic Party,” said Secretary of State John H. Merrill after the law passed.

While it is not illegal to change from Republican to Democrat in the general election, it is mainly unacceptable in both parties.

In this case, Starling is running for probate judge in Pike County but is not an active Republican.

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Starling’s plea to Democrats in Troy to back his candidacy by voting in the Republican primary before voting Democrat in the fall harkens back to the days when Democrats would vote for the weakest candidate in a Republican primary to ensure a win in the general.

Conservatives in Pike County have become aware that Starling is attempting to dilute their June 5 primary election and are now privately voicing concerns.

Starling’s attempt to woo Democrats to crossover in the Republican primary is frowned upon by both parties.

“Both parties have, throughout the years, periodically required voters to participate with voting consistency to avoid voters crossing from one party primary to another party primary and then engaging in the other parties election and intentionally influencing the vote totals for candidates receiving votes in the nomination process,” wrote Secretary of State Merrill. While it’s not illegal, it breaks the spirit of the law.

Starling is running against Michael Bunn for the position of Pike County Probate Judge. Bunn is a member of the Alabama Republican Party.

 

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State Sen. Jim McClendon accuses Tuberville of hiding from a debate

Brandon Moseley

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Tommy Tuberville speaks at a campaign event. (via Tuberville campaign)

State Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, on Monday accused coach Tommy Tuberville of avoiding his GOP Senate primary opponent, former Sen. Jeff Sessions.

“Coach TUBBERVILLE is hiding from a face to face debate,” McClendon said on social media.

McClendon compared Tuberville’s strategy to that of Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Joe BIDEN is hiding from the public in his basement,” McClendon said. “Same game plan for both of these guys. WHY? They are AFRAID (and UNABLE?) to answer pertinent questions. I will not vote for either of them. We MUST have leaders that understand the issues.”

Biden is the presumed Democratic presidential nominee. He will face President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 general election.

McClendon told APR that Tuberville, “Does not know the issue. He doesn’t have a clue. He just wants to be a U.S. Senator.”

Sessions has challenged Tuberville to debates.

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“Anyone who represents our state needs to demonstrate that they know Alabama and each of its 67 unique counties,” Sessions said in May. “You can’t represent Alabama’s interests unless you prove that you understand Alabama and the challenges we face. Given your TV ads boasting about how strong you are (while standing in a gym where other people are exercising), I’m sure you can find it within yourself to demonstrate that strength in a series of debates so that the people of Alabama can see for themselves.”

“Being a United States Senator is more than just casting the occasional vote,” Sessions stated. “Effective senators must be ready to debate Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and others on many issues and away from the safety of talking points scripted by Facebook’s chief open-borders lobbyist, who you’ve hired to help lead your Senate campaign.”

“And anyone representing Alabama needs to be fully vetted before they are trusted to represent Alabama Republicans in a race against Doug Jones,” Sessions continued. “I’ve been fully vetted, over and over again. The national Democratic Party tried to find “dirt” on me when I helped President Trump win the 2016 election, and again when he nominated me for Attorney General. They came up empty, because there’s nothing there.”

Tuberville is a former Auburn University head football coach. He was also the coach at the University of Mississippi, Texas Tech University and Cincinnati University, and the defensive coordinator at the University of Miami and at Texas A&M University.

Polls have shown Tuberville with a lead over Sessions.

Sessions and Tuberville are running against each other in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. The winner of the Republican nomination will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in the Nov. 3 general election. Sessions was Senator from 1997 to 2017, when he was confirmed as U.S. attorney general.

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Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson endorses Jeff Coleman for Congress

Brandon Moseley

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Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson endorsed 2nd Congressional District Republican candidate Jeff Coleman Thursday.

“Jeff Coleman is a leader. We need a strong leader in Washington to fight back against these DC bureaucrats who represent themselves instead of the people,” Johnson said. “I know that Jeff Coleman will be that leader, and he will be the mover and shaker to get things done!”

“Mayor Johnson’s confidence in my ability to bring strong jobs, stand up for our values, and fight for our district is very humbling,” Coleman said. “His leadership in Andalusia has been incredible and It shows in their growth!”

Johnson now joins mayors from Luverne, Dothan, Geneva, Florala and Tallassee in endorsing Coleman for Congress.

Coleman and his opponent, former State Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, are running in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. The two are scheduled to be in a debate Tuesday on WTVY Channel 4 in Dothan at 6 p.m.

Coleman is a native of Dothan. He is the fifth generation of his family to head the family business, Coleman Worldwide Moving, based in Dothan. He recently stepped down as president and CEO in order to run for Congress. Coleman is a former chairman of the Business Council of Alabama and one of the wealthiest people in Alabama.

Coleman has been endorsed by BCA and the Alabama Farmers Federation, as well as the Alabama Realtors Association, Alabama Home Builders Association, Alabama Retail Association, Alabama Trucking Association, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

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Coleman is a graduate from Northview High School where he was a member of the 1981 Football team that won the Alabama High School Football State Championship. He has a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Alabama and a Master’s in Business Administration from Troy University in Dothan. He is an Eagle Scout, a 2011 Graduate of Leadership Alabama and a 2015 Graduate of the Air War College National Security Forum. Jeff served two terms as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Alabama.

Coleman describes himself as a conservative outsider and businessman, like Donald Trump, who cares more about doing what’s right for the country than winning an election.

The eventual Republican nominee for the open 2nd Congressional District seat will face Democrat Phyllis Harvey-Hall in the November general election.

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Tuberville should release fraud victims from NDAs, Sessions says

Brandon Moseley

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GOP Senate candidate Jeff Sessions.

GOP Senate candidate and former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions on Monday called on his primary opponent, former Auburn football head coach Tommy Tuberville, to release victims of a fraud scheme from non-disclosure agreements they signed as part of a court settlement.

“If Tommy Tuberville has nothing to hide, why does he continue to refuse to release the victims from the secrecy agreements that he made them sign, so that they could share exactly what happened?” Sessions said. “Tuberville and his lawyers must release the victims immediately, so we can get the full truth about this issue. Tommy’s hedge fund scheme bilked investors out of large sums of money, and now he’s trying to gag the victims to keep them quiet — and hope that Alabama voters don’t notice.”

Following the end of his coaching tenure at Auburn, Tuberville and former Lehman Brothers broker John David Stroud formed a hedge fund, which later went broke, costing the investors to lose their investments. Stroud went to prison and some investors sued Tuberville, who maintains he was the biggest victim of the fraud.

“If Tuberville was truly just an innocent investor and victim of the fraudulent hedge fund, as his campaign handlers now claim, why did he hand out business cards calling himself the ‘managing partner’ of the firm?” Sessions asked. “Why did the hedge fund’s offering documents that he gave to potential investors say that he was personally ‘responsible for the investment direction, capital raising, and the day-to-day oversight of business decisions’ of the fraudulent hedge fund? We need to know exactly what happened, and Tuberville must immediately give a full accounting of his scandals.”

Sessions has made the case that he is the known and vetted candidate and will be best able to withstand an onslaught of negative ads from Democrats who want to hold on to Democratic Sen. Doug Jones’ Senate seat, which some analysts view as the most vulnerable seat in the 2020 election and a key pickup if Republicans hope to hold their narrow Senate majority.

“If this is just coming out now, we have to wonder what other skeletons are hiding in Tommy Tuberville’s closet,” Sessions said. “The truth is that he’s an unvetted candidate, and Alabama voters can’t afford to send a question mark into the race against Doug Jones and the millions of dollars of out-of-state money at his disposal.”

According to The New York Times’ reporting and court documents, the victims include a married couple from Wetumpka, a bookkeeper and a retired teacher, who invested $800,000 with TS Capital. The other victims include a married couple from Auburn, who transferred over $100,000 from their retirement accounts to invest with TS Capital.

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After more than a year of fighting the lawsuit, Tuberville settled the case by paying a secret amount. All the parties involved signed non-disclosure agreements that prohibit them from speaking about the fraud allegations.

The Sessions campaign claims that it appears that none of the victims were made whole. “Meanwhile, Tuberville filmed videos for ESPN, bragging about his house on the white, sandy beaches of Florida,” the Sessions campaign said in a parting shot.

Tuberville and Sessions are running in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. The winner will then face Jones in the Nov. 3 general election. Tuberville had the most votes in the March 3 Republican primary and has led Sessions in polling throughout the runoff race.

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Sessions: Tuberville’s fraud scandal “can’t just be swept under the rug”

Jeff Sessions criticized Tuberville’s actions as a “major fraud scheme that bilked large sums of money from hardworking people,” which “can’t just be swept under the rug.”

Brandon Moseley

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GOP Senate candidates Jeff Sessions (left) and Tommy Tuberville (right).

After The New York Times published an investigation into a financial fraud scandal involving Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville, his opponent, former Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, criticized Tuberville’s actions as a “major fraud scheme that bilked large sums of money from hardworking people,” which “can’t just be swept under the rug.”

“This is an astounding story,” Sessions said. “Based on the facts already uncovered, it is clear that Tommy Tuberville was one of two partners in a major hedge fund fraud scheme that bilked large sums of money from hardworking people, including Alabamians.”

Tuberville’s partner was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the scheme by the court in Opelika, while Tuberville was sued for fraud, paying out a sum of money in a private settlement that has been kept out of the public eye.

“This can’t just be swept under the rug, and Tuberville can’t just brush it aside by falsely claiming he was some innocent victim,” Sessions said. “Indeed, he was a victimizer and held himself out as the ‘managing partner’ of the firm. Tuberville must give a full and complete accounting of this scandal. The people of Alabama deserve to know the complete truth now, before the election, about the man who is asking to be their senator.”

This scandal has been widely talked about in Republican circles for months or longer, but The New York Times article details the allegations for one of the first times in the national spotlight.

Tuberville became a full partner in a hedge fund with former Lehman Brothers broker John David Stroud. Their ventures included TS Capital Management and TS Capital Partners. The T stands for Tuberville and the S for Stroud.

Tuberville did not pick which stocks to buy or sell, and as the head football coach at Texas Tech University and later at the University of Cincinnati, he was not even a frequent presence in the office. Tuberville introduced Stroud to potential investors and even had business cards identifying himself as managing partner. He also leased a BMW and got his health insurance through the company.

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The firm’s offices in Auburn were filled with his coaching memorabilia. In 2010, he traveled to New York with Stroud to meet potential brokers, and was kept in the loop on decisions about hiring. A source told APR that a number of SEC coaches were among the people defrauded by TS Capital.

When the money was all lost, Stroud was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Tuberville was sued by the investors for fraud and failure to carry out his fiduciary duties. Tuberville reportedly lost $450,000 of his own money and then had to pay out more than $1 million to the investors. The New York Times reported that his total losses were more than $2 million.

The financial scandal has many Republicans concerned about the viability of Tuberville’s general election campaign to unseat incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.

“I think that Tuberville did not do anything wrong,” said Rev. John Killian, a conservative activist. “He is a good man, but the Doug Jones campaign, they would use this to the ninth degree.”

“They will shoot Tuberville up in 30 second and 60 second TV spots,” Killian added. “I don’t think Tuberville is crooked, but Doug Jones has $10 million to spend. I think they are lying in wait for Tuberville like they were for Roy Moore.”

Killian said that he will support Tuberville if he wins the Republican nomination, but that he is supporting Jeff Sessions in the primary because he is the strongest general election candidate to face Jones.

Tuberville supporter and Trump Victory National Committee member Perry Hooper Jr. was dismissive of assertions that Tuberville could be vulnerable.

“Coach has a commanding lead. He will win the run-off, and he will crush Doug Jones in the general election in November,” Hooper told APR.

Tuberville maintains that he was a victim of the fraud — not a perpetrator.

“They sued me because I invested in it, and he used my name to get other people to put money in,” Tuberville said. “There was nothing ever implicated by anybody that I’d done anything wrong. I felt bad that he used my name.”

The New York Times has asked Tuberville to release the plaintiffs from their confidentiality agreement. Tuberville to this point has declined. Stroud has been released from prison but has not commented on his relationship with Tuberville. Tuberville faces Sessions in the July 14 Republican runoff.

President Donald Trump has endorsed Tuberville, and Tuberville is leading Sessions in most available polling.

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