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Opinion | What matters to you?

Josh Moon

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What should be important in governor’s race?

No, really, I’m asking.

What should I care about? Which qualities should sway my vote? What could one candidate do to separate himself or herself from the other?

I ask because the things I thought everyone would care about apparently don’t matter, or maybe they matter only to me and a few people I know.

Like, for example, when APR wrote about Gov. Kay Ivey directing the head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to demote a state trooper because he refused to break protocol and cover up her definitely-not-a-stroke health scare in Colorado.

Oddly, I thought a lot of people would care about that.

But nope, only a few libs and me.

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Oh, and there was also that time I wrote about Ivey’s official calendar and how empty it was. I obtained that calendar through a public records request. In one work week — Sunday through Saturday — she worked only three hours.

Weirdly, I thought that was something voters all over would care about. I mean, their governor is working just three hours in a week, and less than 60 hours in three weeks?

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Outrageous, no?

Turns out, no.

A good chunk of conservative voters yawned at that news. One lady on my Facebook page wondered if the “vice governor” couldn’t just handle things while Ivey was catching up on her rest.

If only.

Let’s also not forget all of those times that the governor got tripped up by the same question about her refusal to debate her challenger, Walt Maddox. After one of those questions, Ivey paused so long with her mouth open that I thought the online video player had stopped working.

But no, just the governor, caught completely off guard by a question everyone in the room knew was coming.

Again, call me crazy, but I thought some voters might have concerns about the leadership of this state when the governor can’t answer simple questions. And again, I was surprised to learn that, no, indeed they do not care about such trivial matters.

Maybe the vice governor can answer those, too.

Oh, and speaking of debates … since there were none, I sortofkinda thought that maybe voters would find it a tad concerning that Ivey has offered them no plan — ZERO plan — for addressing any of the following: infrastructure, school funding, health care costs, rural hospital closures, unsafe drinking water, raw sewage flowing into the yards of residents, a HUGE general fund budget hole, rampant corruption within her government and the party she leads, and pre-K expansion.

And before someone on her payroll takes exception to this, let me be clear about something: Saying that you are in favor of/support something is NOT a plan for that particular thing.

I support Auburn’s football team winning a national championship. I have no plans to make that happen, and I suspect that it doing so is as likely as any of those things above being addressed satisfactorily by Ivey.

Maybe this is all it takes to be governor in Alabama now — don’t go to prison, don’t make a sex tape, hope the national economy masks the fact that you’ve done nothing to improve the state economy and otherwise stay out of sight.

Because here is the sad reality: Kay Ivey presides over the nation’s fourth-worst economy, one of the most corrupt state governments, one of the nation’s worst health care systems, the nation’s highest rate of infant mortality, one of the worst states for wage growth and a state with one of the highest rates of gun deaths and sexually transmitted diseases.

If tomorrow all federal money were removed from this state’s revenue sources, Alabama would have its own late-night infomercial, with sad music and a celebrity voiceover telling you that for the cost of a cup of coffee you could give an Alabama child the gift of clean water.

And Kay Ivey is working three hours per week to keep it that way.

But I’m hearing that people don’t care about any of that.

So, please, someone tell me what matters.

 

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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Elections

Jones campaign director blasts Tuberville for saying $600 “too much” for out-of-work Alabamians

Eddie Burkhalter

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Incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, left, and Republican challenger Tommy Tubberville, right.

The communications director for U.S. Sen. Doug Jones’s re-election campaign on Wednesday called out Tommy Tuberville for saying that $600 in emergency unemployment aid was too much for Alabamians. 

“Tommy Tuberville once again proves he’s out of touch with Alabama. When he ‘resigned’ from his job as a football coach he took a $5.1 million payout for himself. To this day, he receives $800 a week in State Retirement funds for a coaching job he ‘quit’ in 2008,” said Owen Kilmer, communications Director for Jones’s Senate campaign, in a statement Wednesday. 

“But he says $600 in emergency benefits is ‘way too much’ for people in Alabama who lost their jobs in this crisis through no fault of their own. Tuberville says $600 is ‘way too much’ to help people put food on the table and pay utilities,” Kilmer continued. “No wonder, when asked about how to handle this crisis, he said ‘I wouldn’t have a clue.’ It’s true. He doesn’t.”

Tuberville, the Republican Senate nominee, is trying to unseat Jones in the November general election. Jones has called the former Auburn football coach and first-time political candidate an unprepared hyper-partisan.

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Mimi Penhale, Russell Bedsole advance to GOP runoff in HD49

Brandon Moseley

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Miriam "Mimi" Penhale, left, and Russell Bedsole, right, are vying for the vacant Alabama House District 49 seat.

Republican voters in House District 49 went to the polls Tuesday to nominate their next representative. Miriam “Mimi” Penhale and Russell Bedsole received the most votes and will advance on to the special Republican primary runoff scheduled for Sept. 1.

“What an incredible day!” Bedsole said. “Thank you friends and family for your love, support, and prayers. We had a great showing today and we are on to a runoff. Looking forward to getting back out and winning this thing on September 1st.”

“THANK YOU Bibb, Chilton and Shelby County!” Penhale said on social media. “I’m looking forward to earning your vote, again, on September 1 in the runoff.”

The election was very tight between the two. Mimi Penhale received 829 votes, or 31.4 percent of the votes. Russell Bedsole received 919 votes, or 34.8 percent.

The rest of the votes was split among the other four candidates. James Dean received less than 1 percent, Chuck Martin received 24.3 percent, Jackson McNeely received 2.16 percent and Donna Strong received 6.71 percent.

There were 2,639 votes cast on Tuesday. Voter turnout was 8.88 percent.

Bedsole serves on the Alabaster City Council, Pemhale is the director of the Shelby County Legislative office.

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The eventual winner of the Republican nomination will face Democrat Cheryl Patton in the special general election on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

The vacancy in House District 49 was created when State Rep. April Weaver, R-Briarfield, announced her resignation to accept an appointment as a regional director of the Department of Health and Human Services.

House District 49 consists of portions of Bibb, Shelby and Chilton Counties. The winner will serve the remainder of Weaver’s term, which ends in late 2022.

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Jimmy Reynolds, Ben Robbins qualify as Republicans for Alabama House District 33

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The Alabama Republican Party on Tuesday closed its candidate qualifying period for the Alabama House of Representatives District 33 special primary election scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Jimmy Reynolds Jr. and Ben Robbins have qualified to run for the District 33 seat in the special Republican primary.

“Our district is a wonderful place to raise a family,” Robbins said in a statement. “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave them with more opportunities than we had, and I believe fresh ideas, bold leadership and true conservative values are the foundation of that success.”

Robbins serves on multiple community boards, including Habitat for Humanity, as co-president of Leadership Sylacauga and serves the Talladega Rotary Club as a past-president. He is also active with several local Chambers of Commerce and the Sylacauga Young Professionals. He is a seventh-generation Talladega County resident and the grandson of former Childersburg Mayor Robert Limbaugh. He and his wife Melanie have one son.

Jimmy Reynolds Jr. is a visual arts teacher at Sylacauga City School System. He previously worked for HHGregg Inc. and Tweeter Home Entertainment. Reynolds has a business management degree from Auburn University and lives in Hollins.

The Republican Special Primary Election will be held on Oct. 6, 2020, with the General Election scheduled for Jan. 19, 2021.

The vacancy in House District 33 occurred following the sudden passing of State Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga, in July.

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House District 33 consists of portions of Clay, Coosa and Talladega Counties.

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New poll: Tuberville has big lead over Jones in Senate race

Josh Moon

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Incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, left, and Republican challenger Tommy Tubberville, right.

Team voting still rules in Alabama. According to a new Morning Consult poll of Alabama voters, Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville has a double-digit lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, virtually mirroring the advantage President Donald Trump has over Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the state.

The poll of approximately 650 likely Alabama voters shows Tuberville leading 52-35, with a large number of purported “independent” voters still undecided. 

Trump’s lead in that same poll is 58-36. 

The big lead for Tuberville would be a bit of a surprise, given that most polling up to this point has shown Jones performing favorably against both an unnamed Republican challenger and Tuberville specifically. 

Many of the polls documented on the polling tracking website FiveThirtyEight through June and July had Jones trailing Tuberville consistently, but typically falling somewhere between 3 and 10 percentage points behind. Only a Cygnal poll in late June showed him trailing by 14 points — his largest deficit by far at the time. 

While the Morning Consult poll was mostly negative for Jones, the breakdown of responses and the difference between loyalties in the presidential race and the Senate race could prove worrisome for Tuberville’s camp. 

A much higher percentage of respondents in the Senate race identified as “independents,” and 23 percent of that group said they had yet to make up their mind. In fact, among Republicans, while Trump pulled 96 percent of those voters, Tuberville managed just 87 percent. 

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Among those independent voters, Tuberville held just a 7-point lead, 34-27. 

Overall, 9 percent of the respondents were undecided or didn’t plan to vote in the Senate race.

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