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Troy King accuses Marshall of taking $700,000 in illegal, out-of-state campaign contributions

Brandon Moseley

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Tuesday, former Alabama Attorney General Troy King (R) said that his opponent, sitting Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) has taken illegal PAC to PAC transfers totaling $700,000. King was addressing the influential Alabama Republican Assembly at their meeting at Bill’s Family Dining in Northport.

King said that he has filed a complaint with the Alabama Ethics Commission charging that Marshall has accepted $400,000 in campaign contributions from the Republican Attorney General’s Association (RAGA) which King claims is an illegal PAC to PAC transfer. King said that the first thing the Republicans did was to outlaw PAC to PAC transfers. “The Attorney General says that it does not apply to out of state PACs. It does. Luther Strange did the same thing in 2014; but when called on it he returned the money, Marshall doubled down and took another $300,000.”

“I am glad to be here with the real Republicans,” King told the group. “When I left this office in 2011 I thought I would never be back in politics.”

“I did not have to read the Birmingham News,” King said. “I did not have to read what they say about me. Donald Trump called out fake news. Alabama is full of fake reporting. They are not even real reporters what they write as news is really opinion.”

“I watched what happened in Montgomery,” King added. “The people we sent to Montgomery to clean up the mess, became part of the mess.” Then there was Bentley. What an embarrassment. When I was growing up in Elba, watching television, my dad used to point to the Governor on TV and say if you work hard you can be that man. How long has it been since parents in Alabama held the Governor of Alabama out as an example for your children? Steve Marshall, “Sent him home to Tuscaloosa without any real consequences for what he did.”

“We have failed to end the corruption,” King continued. “We watched as legislator after legislator has been removed. There are rules. We call them laws. They need to be enforced. We need to take this state back from corruption. We need to take the state back from crime. When I was attorney general, crime was at a 30-year low. Now we have a 20-year high.”

King criticized Marshall for making a secret agreement with defense attorneys of a man the state had attempted to execute by lethal injection, but efforts to get a needle into his blood veins failed. Referring to a new state law allowing execution by gas, King said, “I don’t know if we can find his veins, but I bet we can find his nose.”

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“Politicians should not go to Montgomery and be beholden to somebody who gave them $500,000,” King said referring to the Business Council of Alabama (BCA). “Alabama may not be for sale, but Steve Marshall has been bought and sold.”

“I am a lifelong Republican,” King said. “He was appointed by Don Siegelman. He was a Democrat. He had an Obama bumper sticker. I don’t know any Obama bumper sticker wearing Democrat in 2008 who is Trump Republican in 2018. Barack Obama in Illinois wrote the law that you can kill a baby who survives an abortion. I wrote the law that you can prosecute a doctor for murder who does that. Life begins at conception. I am proud of my Pro-Life record.”

“If we don’t want a Don Siegelman appointee versus Don Siegelman’s son the thing to do is to elect a Republican and vote for me on election day,” King said.

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Don Wallace, a GOP candidate for state school board in the general election, asked how do we convince Doug Jones to support Brett Kavanaugh for U.S. Supreme Court.

King said that we have prayed for the day that there could be a conservative majority on the Supreme Court who can overturn Roe versus Wade. I used to work for Governors and if we got five handwritten letters, not pre-printed postcards but actual handwritten letters we said that there was strong support for a position. If ever there was a day to write a letter to Doug Jones and tell him there are some issues in Alabama that are a red line and you don’t cross them it is now.

Ann Eubank, the President of the Alabama Legislative Watchdogs, asked King if he would leave Matt Hart and the Special Prosecutions unit in place.

King said that he couldn’t make personnel decisions before he gets in the office. “I have a problem with something called the special prosecutions unit going after corrupt politicians; because I do not think that prosecution is more special than the prosecution of a child rapist.”

“It is wrong to keep a special grand jury open for years and years,” King said. “I will not commit to you that I will do that.” My daddy told me that if you did something the wrong way it is still wrong even if you do it the wrong way. By the time they get to trial they have been robbed of all their money and their reputation.

On corrupt politicians, King said, “We will pursue them relentlessly, but we will do it the right way.”

King was critical of Jim Sumner, who used to be the director of the Alabama Ethics Commission for past criticism of his tenure as AG.

King favors changing the ethics law to, “A simple, straightforward law that is easily understood. The guy that wrote it did not understand it. The law is not clear, so lawyers get hired to created confusion. We need an ethics law that is easy to understand and elect persons who are committed to enforcing it.”

King was appointed as attorney general by then-Governor Bob Riley (R) and then elected to his own term as AG in 2006.  He was defeated in the GOP primary by Luther Strange in 2010.  King is running against Steve Marshall who was appointed AG by Robert Bentley after Bentley appointed Strange to the U.S. Senate.

The Republican primary runoff is on Tuesday, July 17. Polls will open at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Joseph Siegelman (D) on November 5.

The Republican Assembly was founded in California during the 1930s and calls themselves the Conscience of the Republican Party and strives to elect nominees that share their conservative principles. Jennifer Montrose is the President of the Alabama Republican Assembly.

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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Elections

Opinion | Doug Jones’s pathway to victory: Substance over lies

Jones said his work in the Senate should prove to the people of the state that party matters less than productivity. 

Josh Moon

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Alabama Sen. Doug Jones speaks during the Democratic National Convention.

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones believes voters will ultimately see through Tommy Tuberville’s lazy campaign and lies, and that enough of them will be moved by his work over the last two years to send him back to D.C. 

Jones’ comments came during a lengthy interview on the Alabama Politics This Week podcast. He also discussed his plans to address some of Alabama’s most pressing issues and also praised Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican.  

But it was Jones’ comments about Alabama voters — and whether too many of them are incapable of moving away from the Republican Party — that were most interesting. Jones still believes there are open-minded voters in the state, and that there isn’t enough attention being paid to polls showing a growing dissatisfaction in Alabama with President Donald Trump. 

“There are a number of things that Donald Trump has done that people (in Alabama) don’t agree with,” Jones said. “There are a number of things that he’s done that’s hurt Alabama and that they’re not OK with. That’s where I come in.”

Jones said his work in the Senate, where he’s sponsored the most bipartisan legislation over the last two years, should prove to the people of the state that party matters less than productivity. 

“I tell everyone, you owe it to yourself to look at every candidate and every issue,” Jones said. “I do that. I’ve been a Democrat all my life but I don’t think that I have ever pulled a straight lever. Because I look at every issue. I will tell you that there have been times that I didn’t vote for people who are Democrats for whatever reason — I just couldn’t do it. I think we owe it to ourselves to do that.”

Jones had the perfect example to drive the point home. 

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“Y’all all know our state auditor, Jim Zeigler? Jim wasn’t always a Republican. Jim’s first runs for office were as a Democrat. 

“I rest my case.”

You can listen to the full interview at the Alabama Politics This Week website, or you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. 

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Elections

Trump to visit Pensacola tonight

Trump is making a push in Florida in the final weeks of the election, and Northwest Florida is part of his strategy.

Brandon Moseley

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President Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Convention

Neither presidential candidate is likely to visit Alabama before the general election, as both campaigns accept that Alabama will be certainly in President Donald Trump’s camp on election day no matter what else happens. While Alabama is not a swing state, Georgia and Florida are both in play, and both campaigns are devoting enormous resources there.

Trump is making a push in Florida in the final weeks of the election, and Northwest Florida is part of his strategy. Trump will be just across the Florida-Alabama state line visiting Pensacola and is scheduled to address supporters at the ST Engineering hangar beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

The doors open at 4 p.m. and the event begins at 7:00 p.m.

The president’s rally tonight comes right after a visit to Pensacola last week by Second Lady Karen Pence and is one of many Florida campaign events planned for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump arrived in Florida after Thursday’s final presidential debate with Joe Biden. He is scheduled to hold a campaign event in The Villages before traveling to Pensacola. The president will spend the night at his Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago and will vote early Saturday.

The vice president will hold rallies in Lakeland and Tallahassee on Saturday. Florida has 27 electoral college votes. It would be very difficult for Trump to get the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win without winning Florida.

Democrats warn that attending a Trump rally could be dangerous due to the coronavirus threat.

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“The last thing Floridians need is for Donald Trump to host more potential superspreader rallies across our state,” Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said in a statement on the rally in Pensacola. “What we do need, however, is a president capable of putting Floridians ahead of his own self-interest and get this pandemic under control.”

Most recent polls have Trump trailing Biden in Florida. Tickets are required to attend the rally.

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Courts

U.S. Supreme Court rules Alabama can ban curbside voting

“The District Court’s modest injunction is a reasonable accommodation, given the short time before the election,” the three dissenting justices wrote. 

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, allowed Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill to ban curbside voting, staying a district court injunction that had allowed some counties to offer curbside voting in the Nov. 3 election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Supreme Court’s majority in its order declined to write an opinion, but Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonya Sotomayor’s five-page dissent is included.

The lawsuit — filed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Alabama and Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program — was brought on behalf of several older Alabamians with underlying medical conditions.

“The District Court’s modest injunction is a reasonable accommodation, given the short time before the election,” the three dissenting justices wrote. 

Sotomayor, who wrote the dissent, closed using the words of one of the plaintiffs in the case. 

“Plaintiff Howard Porter Jr., a Black man in his seventies with asthma and Parkinson’s disease, told the District Court, ‘[So] many of my [ancestors] even died to vote. And while I don’t mind dying to vote, I think we’re past that – We’re past that time,’” Sotomayor wrote. 

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill on Wednesday applauded the Supreme Court’s decision. 

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“I am proud to report the U.S. Supreme Court has now blocked a lower court’s order allowing the fraudulent practice of curbside voting in the State of Alabama,” Merrill said in a statement. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked diligently with local election officials in all 67 counties to offer safe and secure voting methods – including through the in-person and mail-in processes. I am glad the Supreme Court has recognized our actions to expand absentee voting, while also maintaining the safeguards put into place by the state Legislature.”

“The fact that we have already shattered voter participation records with the election still being 13 days away is proof that our current voting options are easy, efficient, and accessible for all of Alabama’s voters,” Merrill continued. “Tonight’s ruling in favor of election integrity and security is once again a win for the people of Alabama.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, expressed frustration after the ruling in a tweet.

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“Another devastating loss for voters and a blow for our team fighting to ensure safe voting for Black and disabled voters in Alabama. With no explanation, the SCOTUS allows Alabama to continue making it as hard as possible for COVID-vulnerable voters,” Ifill wrote.

Curbside voting is not explicitly banned by state law in Alabama, but Merrill has argued that because the practice is not addressed in the law, he believes it to be illegal. 

A panel of federal appeals court judges on Oct. 13 reversed parts of U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon’s Sept. 30 order ruling regarding absentee voting in the upcoming Nov. 3 elections, but the judges let the previous ruling allowing curbside voting to stand. 

In his Sept. 30 ruling, Kallon wrote that “the plaintiffs have proved that their fears are justified” and the voting provisions challenged in the lawsuit “unduly burden the fundamental Constitutional rights of Alabama’s most vulnerable voters and violate federal laws designed to protect America’s most marginalized citizens.”

Caren Short, SPLC’s senior staff attorney, in a statement said the Supreme Court’s decision has curtailed the voting rights of vulnerable Alabamians.

“Once again, the Supreme Court’s ‘shadow docket’ – where orders are issued without written explanation – has curtailed the voting rights of vulnerable citizens amidst a once-in-a-century public health crisis. After a two-week trial, a federal judge allowed counties in Alabama to implement curbside voting so that high-risk voters could avoid crowded polling locations,” Short said. “Tonight’s order prevents Alabama counties from even making that decision for themselves. Already common in states across the South and the country before 2020, curbside voting is a practice now encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It should be a no-brainer to implement everywhere during a pandemic; the Alabama Secretary of State unfortunately disagrees, as does the Supreme Court of the United States.”

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Elections

Congressional candidate James Averhart endorsed by list of U.S. dignitaries, retired military leaders

The 1st Congressional District Democratic candidate has been endorsed by a list of retired U.S. dignitaries and retired military leaders, his campaign said Wednesday. 

Eddie Burkhalter

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Congressional candidate James Averhart

James Averhart, the Democratic candidate in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District and a retired U.S. Marine, has been endorsed by a list of retired U.S. dignitaries and retired military leaders, his campaign said Wednesday.

“James Averhart is an integral leader — a man of principles and a patriot. He is the best choice to represent District One on The Hill,” said Ambassador Theodore Britton, a World War II Veteran who was nominated by President Gerald Ford to serve as U.S. ambassador to the island nations of Barbados and Grenada.

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. General Walter E. Gaskin, who served as commanding general of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, said Averhart is experienced in matters of government and policy and understands the lay of the land in Washington D.C.

“He will be ready to hit the ground running to get things done for the district, and moreover, be that bridge to unite the parties in Congress as well as the nation,” Gaskin said in a statement.

“James Averhart is a strong dynamic leader who will get the job done. He is meticulous and a consummate professional that will advocate and work for all citizens of our district and Alabama,” said Ambassador J. Gary Cooper, a retired Marine Corps major general who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to serve as assistant secretary of the Air Force, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, and was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as U.S. ambassador to Jamaica.

“At a time when it seems that the Republican leadership is in lockstep with a president, who considers those in service to our great nation to be ‘suckers’ and ‘losers,’ is antithetical to what this country needs. We have over 30,000 citizens hospitalized and over 211,000 deaths due to coronavirus, which could have been prevented with sound, methodical leadership. We have been disappointed by this President and the Republican leadership standing with him. It is time for substantive change in our Nation’s Capital,” Averhart said.

“The American citizenry deserves and expects more of its leadership. We should no longer settle for those who continue to promulgate untruths and spew divisive rhetoric. We deserve leadership who will extol the truth and hold in high regard a united nation,” Averhart said.

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Avergart’s Republican opponent in the Nov. 3 election is Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl.

The following are a list of Averhart’s endorsements, according to his campaign:

Ambassador Theodore Britton

  • Nominated by President Gerald Ford to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the island nations of Barbados and Grenada
  • Served as the U.S. Special Representative to West Indian island nations of Antigua, Dominica, St. Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia
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Ambassador J. Gary Cooper 

  • Vietnam Veteran and Retired U.S. Marine Corps Major General
  • Nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica.
  • Nominated by President George H.W. Bush to serve as Asst Secretary of the Air Force, Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

Lieutenant General Ronald L. Bailey

  • First African American to command the 1st • U.S. Marine Division
  • Served as Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations, U.S. Marine Corps.
  • Retired in 2017 following 41 years of service.

Lieutenant General Walter E. Gaskin

  • Served as Commanding General of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, NC Served as Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruiting Command, Quantico, Virginia
  • Served as Chief of Staff, Naval Striking and Support Forces-Southern Europe
  • Served as Deputy Commanding General, Fleet Marine Forces-Europe in Naples, Italy

Major General Cornell A. Wilson, Jr.

  • Served as Director, Reserve Affairs Division, Manpower and Reserve Affairs – Headquarters, U.S. MArine Corps, Quantico, Virginia.
  • Appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory, NC, to the position of Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Lieutenant General Willie J. Williams

  • Served as Director of the Marine Corp Staff
  • Retired in 2013 after serving 39 years in the U.S. Marine Corp.

Brigadier General John R. Thomas

  • Served as Director for Command, Control, Communications and Computers, U.S. Marine Corps.
  • Served as Director and Chief Information Officer, U.S. Marine Corp.

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