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MARC panel reviews primaries, looks ahead to general election

Brandon Moseley



Saturday, June 9 a panel of political experts addressed the Mid-Alabama Republican Club (MARC) at the Vestavia Public Library.

Former State Rep. Steve Flowers said, “I think we are still a very red state. The election results showed that Doug Jones was an anomaly.”

Flowers is a noted political commentator, whose column appears weekly in the Alabama Political Reporter as well as other outlets.

“Money is the mother’s milk of politics and you can’t be outspent by $20 million and win,” Flowers said referring to Roy Moore who was abandoned by national Republican PACs after he defeated Luther Strange in the GOP primary for Senate.

“We have 29 state elected officials,” Flowers said, “And they are all Republican.”

Flowers predicted that after the general election Alabama will still have 29 Republican elected officials.

“Walt Maddox was the best candidate the Democrats can put up,” Flowers predicted, but warned that “[Ivey] cannot debate, but she can win this race by doing nothing.”

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Longtime Birmingham area radio and TV commentator Mike Royer said that the primary results proved that,

“Advertising does work whether it is a car or a candidate, but it has to be well done, well placed and well timed,” Royer said.

Political strategist Collier Tynes said, “Alabama is still a red state and young people are still red state voters. I am holding on to conservative values hoping that somebody will make us proud.  Kay Ivey provided stability. None of her opponents were talking about anything relevant as to why people should vote for them.”


“No more commercials about Confederate memorials,” Tynes said. “Walt Maddox is great competition. We are going to need young people more than ever before. We are going to need the minorities more than ever before. We are going to need women more than ever before. We are going to need the College Republicans.”

Royer said that, “When you start excluding you are headed for trouble.”

Flowers said that Will Ainsworth getting in the Lt Gov. runoff, “Was real surprising.”

“All politics is local,” Flowers said. “Where there was a local race there was high turnout. You can look at every race and television ads still work.”

“No disrespect to Collier but young people basically don’t vote,” Flowers said. “Kay’s age was helpful because she looked like most voters.” “A month earlier Twinkle would have won without a runoff.” And I think she will still win. “It does not matter who gets the nomination a Republican is going to win all of those races.  Nice guys finish last. Negative ads work. People like negative ads. They say that they don’t; but they work. If Battle had gone negative he would have been in the runoff. Ainsworth spent a $million of his own money or his dad’s money whatever it was.”

Tynes said that in the attorney general race, “Those who have not been watching the news voted for Steve Marshall.” If Marshall wins he will be vulnerable versus Joseph Seigelman. If he wins people will ask who he voted for in 2008. He was appointed by Joseph Seigelman’s father. “Why does the Mike Hubbard witness list match your donor list?”  Troy King will be asked: “Did you take gambling money and are the rumors in Montgomery about you are true?” Tynes added that King denies the rumors and has been married to his wife for twenty years. Both campaigns will go very negative in the runoff.

Flowers said of Marshall, “The Obama bumper sticker on his car three years ago is going to come back to haunt him. Marshall got a bump from Tommy battle in North Alabama. A month earlier Alice Martin would have been in the primary; but Marshall raised a lot of money. I don’t think the voters know who Marshall is yet.”

“People do not trust the media,” Tynes said. “They go to the people that they trust, like all of the people in this room.”

“Obviously she is in trouble,” Flowers said of Congresswoman Martha Roby. “She only got 39 percent of the vote. I was surprised that Barry Moore got 20 percent. The Republican base is mad at her. If (former Congressman Bobby) Bright can raise 50 cents for every dollar he will beat her. Unless Kay makes a mistake; she will win 58 to 42. The Moore thing was a unique situation where every liberal in America sent in money every gay person in San Francisco sent in money.”

On the Chief Justice race, Tynes said, “I do not think that race is a given for Tom Parker. Bob Vance has a very compelling story.” Tynes claimed that Lynn Stuart had done a lot to improve the state’s court system; but that her campaign manager did not tell that story; which is why she lost in the runoff.

Shelby County Republican Party Chair Joan Reynolds said that the bad news from Shelby County is that only 25 percent of registered voters came out to vote in the primaries. “The good news is that 80 percent of them voted Republican.”

Jefferson County Republican Party Chair Sallie Bryant said, “We have judicial candidates and a circuit clerk candidate,” running in the general election.

Republican National Committeeman Paul Reynolds said, “We have raised $146 million and have $48 million in cash on hand. There is no blue wave. There is a red wave developing.”

“We had 15 Republicans in the House that were challenged (in the primary),” state Representative Jim Carns (R-Vestavia) “All of them were victorious.” “In Jefferson County 15,000 more Democrats voted than Republicans. We are facing a serious challenge from a group that is being funded from out of state. Everybody (the state legislators) in Jefferson County except Danny Garrett has an opponent. I have an opponent. Jabo Wagoner has an opponent. Dickie Drake has an opponent. David Faulkner has an opponent. Currently the Jefferson County legislative delegation is nine Republican to eight Democrats. We can not lose a single seat or it will flip to Democrat control.”

Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington said that Amazon is going to build a facility in Bessemer that will bring 1,500 jobs. Carrington warned that Democrats have targeted incumbent Commissioner Joe Knight (R). “I am asking you now to consider donating to his campaign. If they flip that seat they flip the Jefferson County Commission.”

MARC President former state Representative Paul De Marco said that the July Meeting will feature Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose).

The hugely influential MARC meets every second Saturday at 8:30 am.

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.



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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Hightower for Congress announces “Doctors for Hightower” coalition

Brandon Moseley



Bill Hightower (VIA CAMPAIGN)

Bill Hightower campaign for Congress said this week that it has received the endorsement of over 30 prominent South Alabama physicians who will serve as the leadership for Hightower’s new “Doctors for Hightower” Coalition.

The pro-Hightower doctors wrote a letter to voters in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.

“We have committed our careers to supporting the south Alabama community and we know first-hand the struggles that medical professionals, providers, and institutions face in addressing the healthcare needs of our community,” the Hightower doctors wrote. “These are challenges that have been magnified in the face of the global pandemic that has ravaged our country and community, and will have ramifications for years to come.”

“South Alabama and the entire Gulf Coast needs strong leadership in Congress that will stand up for our ability to provide accessible and affordable care for our community,” the doctors claimed. “Leadership that understands the needs of medical professionals and patients, an effective voice who will be able to deliver for our community, and an ear we know will be there to listen when future challenges emerge…”

The doctors endorsed Hightower because, “Bill Hightower knows and understands the medical community and healthcare sector. He is the son of Dr. Billy M. Hightower, a healthcare pioneer in open-heart surgery for the Gulf Coast. As a state Senator, Bill Hightower stood up for not only doctors, nurses, and other health professionals, but for patients and their rights. And as a congressman, Bill Hightower will work with the medical community to improve our medical funding and services to help the people of coastal Alabama. He will work to innovate and develop better ways to deliver affordable and accessible care, so we can better serve our patients. We know Bill Hightower is committed to working to ensure we are better able to work to support our patients, to provide the care they want and deserve.”

Hightower served in the Alabama Senate. He ran for the Republican nomination Governor in 2018 but lost to Gov. Kay Ivey, who went on to win her own term. Hightower has owned several small businesses in the South Alabama area. He worked for several large multi-national corporations before moving back to Alabama following 9-11. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama and a master’s from Vanderbilt University. He and his wife Susan have children and grandchildren.

Bill Hightower is running against Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl for the Republican nomination in the July 14 Republican primary runoff. The winner of the Republican nomination will face the winner of the Democratic Party primary runoff between Kiani Gardner and James Averhart.

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Incumbent Republican Congressman Bradley Byrne is not seeking reelection.

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