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Republican donor calls AG Marshall a fraud, says he’s backing Siegelman

Attorney General Steve Marshall speaks on a proposed rewrite of the state ethics laws. (Chip Brownlee/APR)

Alabama voters will soon choose between an attorney general candidate who owes his political career to former Gov. Don Siegelman or one who literally owes him his life.

In a political contest that pits current appointed Attorney General Steve Marshall against Democrat Joseph “Joe” Siegelman, Republican stalwart and financial donor, J. William “Billy” McFarland, thinks the choice is clear.

“If I’m going to be forced to vote for a Democrat in November for AG, I’m not voting for a political huckster, a RINO, and someone ignoring the clear meaning of the law,” said McFarland in a hotly worded press release. “I’m voting for and financially supporting the campaign of Joe Siegelman, an honest leader who will stand up for Alabama and what’s right.”

In breaking with his party’s establishment wing, McFarland could face severe backlash, but as Founding Chairman of the West Alabama Young Republicans, he thoroughly understands the consequences but says there are times when principle is more important than a label.

Marshall was first appointed Marshall County District Attorney by then-Gov. Siegelman and served as a Democrat in that district for nearly a decade before switching parties ahead of a run for AG in 2018.

“The facts are that Mr. Marshall was a Democrat up until the point he saw that he could advance his political career as a Republican and be appointed Attorney General by Gov. Robert Bentley,” McFarland said. “The whole thing just smells of politics at its worst.”

Marshall was appointed Attorney General after he promised Bentley and his paramour, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, that he would launch an investigation into Special Prosecutions Division Chief Matt Hart and Acting Attorney General Van Davis, who had successfully prosecuted Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard.

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Hubbard, Bentley hoped to evade justice with Steve Marshall’s appointment as attorney general

McFarland also sees Marshall as a liability to the Republican brand because he is currently under investigation by the State’s Ethics Commission for possible campaign finance violations.

“Now, Marshall has an ethics complaint hanging over his head for taking over $730,000 from sources which are untraceable, unidentifiable and illegal under the Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act,” said McFarland. “This is going to blow up in the face of the Republican Party of Alabama, a party that I love and have worked for and supported my entire life. The Ethics Commission must stand up to Marshall and stand up for the people of Alabama and the rule of law.”

McFarland, whose family’s Republican credentials go back a generation, says he is loath to vote for a Republican in name only.

“Marshall is a fraud. You can’t be a liberal Democrat one minute and a Trump Republican overnight,” McFarland said.

Marshall will face Siegelman in the November general election.


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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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