While nationally Republicans lost control of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate seats in Nevada and Arizona, and Florida is still too close to call; the election was a resounding victory for the Alabama Republican Party.
Kay Ivey (R) was the third most popular governor in the country and as expected she won an easy victory over the badly outmatched Walter “Walt” Maddox (D), the Mayor of Tuscaloosa. Maddox had never run a statewide campaign before and had poor name recognition statewide. Maddox only won 13 counties and even narrowly lost his own home county.
1,014,821 people voted for Kay Ivey for governor. That is the biggest voter turnout for a candidate in a governor’s race since Guy Hunt (R) in 1986.
The Democrats got their vote out as well. Maddox received 686,774 votes. That would have beaten Gov. Bob Riley (R) in 2002 and 2006. Maddox had more votes than any Democratic gubernatorial candidate since Don Siegelman’s (D) landslide victory over incumbent Governor Fob James (R) in 1998.
It was not just Ivey; but Republican popularity was across the board. Ivey, Will Ainsworth, John Merrill, Jay Mitchell and Jim Zeigler all received over one million votes. 65 percent of Alabama voters voted straight ticket, 661,898 of those votes were for Republicans. 460,408 Democrats voted a straight ticket ballot.
Ainsworth was the top vote getter in the election with 1,037,170 votes and 61.4 percent of the vote over his badly outmatched opponent, Muscle Shoals area pastor Dr. Will Boyd (D).
Boyd only raised $48,934 and was heavily outspent by Ainsworth in this election by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Vance Jr. (D) however outspent Associate Justice Tom Parker (R) for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Vance spent $1,165,840 blasting Parker for politicizing the state’s highest court and for his collaboration with former Chief Justice Roy Moore. Vance finished with just 42.5 percent of the vote, 5.73 percentage points less than his 2012 campaign against Roy Moore and less than four points better than Boyd despite spending who over $1.1 million more.
Perhaps reflecting the straight ticket voting of the electorate, negative attacks did not work anywhere they were tried. Maddox accused Ivey of being sick for four days on a state trip to Colorado and covering up the nature of this illness. Attorney General candidate Joseph Siegelman accused AG Steve Marshall (R) of illegally accepting PAC to PAC transfers through the Republican Attorney General’s Association. Secretary of State candidate Heather Milam accused Sec. John Merrill (R) of voter suppression. Independent Senate candidate Craig Ford accused Andrew Jones (R) of having a low income and not being a successful businessman. Incumbent Senator Larry Stutts (R-Sheffield) was even accused of medical malpractice by the families of former patients. None of the attacks, no matter how over the top worked and Republicans emerged triumphant in every statewide race .and every competitive legislative race.
Some Democrats, most notably congressional candidates Mallory Hagan and Tabitha Isner have blamed the Alabama Democratic Party and specifically Chair Nancy Worley and Joe Reed for the defeat. Recent reporting revealed that the Alabama Democratic Party had over $508,000 in its federal account and $284,000 in its federal account, most of which was never spent. Not only did the party do very little to help Democratic candidates in this election, it demanded that congressional candidates pay Reed $25,000 each for get out the vote efforts. Reed dismissed the criticism and blamed the candidates themselves for their failure to connect with Alabama voters.
In the state Senate, Republicans won 27 of the 35 seats. In the Alabama House of Representatives, Republicans won 77 of the 105 seats. In 1982 Joe Reed famously sued the state successfully claiming that 8 Senate seats and 27 House seats should be majority minority. When the legislature convenes in 2019 majority minority districts will be the only seats held by the Alabama Democratic Party. Incumbent Senator Billy Beasley (D) and newcomer state Representative Neil Rafferty (D) will be the only White Democrats in the Alabama legislature. The other 34 Democrats in the legislature will be Blacks, where Republicans have failed to make any inroads.
That failure to connect with Black voters hurt the GOP in Jefferson County where incumbent Sheriff Mike Hale (R) and incumbent District Attorney Mike Anderton (R) both lost to their Democratic, and Black, opponents. Jefferson County has become increasingly hostile to GOP candidates since 2008. Every countywide office is now in Democratic Party hands as well as every Jefferson County Judgeship, the one exception being Judge John Amari who was elected as a Democrat and switched parties before this election. His term has not come up yet.
All four statewide constitutional amendments also passed.
The most popular amendment, was number one dealing with the Ten Commandments. It got more votes than any candidate on the ballot with 72 percent of the voters voting for passing the amendment, which guaranteed that Alabamians have a legal right to display the Ten Commandments on the wall of a classroom or other public building.
With the Democratic Party in retreat and much distrust of the leadership is will be challenging to unify behind defending Doug Jones (D) reelection campaign in 2020.
(Original reporting by the Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama Media Group, and Ballotpedia contributed to this report.)
Moore legal team files motion for Judge Rochester to recuse
Attorney Melissa Isaak filed Thursday on behalf of her client, Judge Roy Moore, a motion to recuse Judge John Rochester from further consideration of the legal case between Moore and his accuser, Leigh Corfman.
The Moore team said that is the case due to the following reasons: “Judge Rochester’s continued decision to preside over this case despite the fact that his appointment was “temporary” and expired on January 14, 2019 over a year ago, Judge Rochester’s untimely delay of approximately five months in ruling on dispositive motions in this case brought only to accuse Judge Moore of defamation for merely denying false allegations against him, which is not even a valid cause of action, Judge Rochester’s open friendship, support, and financial contributions for Doug Jones in his 2017 Senate campaign against Judge Moore, according to his own personal Facebook account, Open and virulent criticism of Judge Moore by Linda Rochester, wife of Judge John Rochester during the 2017 Senate campaign on her own personal Facebook page, Judge Rochester’s criticism and mocking of Christianity on his Facebook page with full knowledge of Judge Moore’s strong belief in God, Judge Rochester’s political animus against the Republican Party and President Donald Trump who supported Judge Moore in the 2017 general election, Judge Rochester’s obvious political bias in his quick response to set a trial date in this case, within two weeks of the upcoming Republican primary which will determine the opponent in the general election against Doug Jones.”
Moore claims, “As stated in Attorney Isaak’s motion, any individual would have a solid basis for questioning Judge John Rochester’s impartiality, political motivation, and bias in presiding over this case.”
Moore is claiming that Judge John Rochester’s friendship, support, and financial contribution to Doug Jones in combination with his wife’s open criticism of Judge Moore during the 2017 special election for US Senate in which Judge Moore was a candidate, mandates immediate recusal of Judge John Rochester in this frivolous action.
Moore has also objected in the past to this case being in Montgomery County court, when Corfman’s allegations of improper sexual conduct between her and Moore in 1976 allegedly occurred in Etowah County.
Corfman claims that Moore and her engaged in inappropriate touching through their underwear in 1976 when Corfman was just 15 years old. Under Alabama law, then as now, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16, not 15. Corfman’s allegation, along with allegations by women dating from decades ago were released in an article by the Washington Post after Moore had won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2017. The shocking allegations were trumpeted by the national press as well as by Democrats. Moore narrowly lost the December 2017 special election to Clinton era U.S. Attorney Doug Jones (D), the only time a Democrat has won any statewide election in Alabama since 2008.
Moore has steadfastly denied the allegations. Corfman sued Moore in Montgomery Court after the election for defamation of character. Moore has since sued Corfman, the other accusers, and the architects of the Reed Hoffman financed, illicit Russian style tactics, which Moore claims were largely responsible with depressing Republican turnout and increasing the efforts by GOP moderates to defeat Moore by writing in the name of some candidate other than Moore.
While many Republicans accepted the accusations against Moore as “credible” they rejected similar accusations against Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh.
Moore was twice elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and is a current candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, currently held by Jones.
The Republican primary is on March 3.
Conservatives urge voters to vote “no” on Amendment One
On February 4 conservative thought leaders from across the State of Alabama spoke in front of the Alabama Statehouse urging voters to vote No on Amendment One.
Amendment one would strip Alabama voters of their ability to elect the state school board and replace the elected board with a commission appointed by the Governor.
Former state school board member Betty Peters (R) said that Amendment One amends the state constitution requiring schools to adopt nationwide standards.
“There are no nationally recognized standards other than the Common Core Standards,” Peters warned.
Lou Campomenosi with the Campaign for Common Sense said, “Voting No on Amendment one is absolutely essential”
“The Alabama Conservative Coalition has been working on this since August,” Campomenosi added. “We are tired of this and we are not going to take it any more.”
Peters called the wording of Amendment One “Deceptive.”
“I served on the state school board for 16 years and I had a 100 percent record of opposing Common Core, also known as College and Career Ready Standards,” Peters said.
Peters blamed the implementation of Common Core and Alabama’s subsequent drop to last place nationally in education to: Bob Riley, Kay Ivey, Terri Collins and the Business Council of Alabama.
“We defeated Amendment One (in 2003) with a 70 percent vote and lets do it again,” Peters said.
Dr. Joe Godfrey with the Alabama Citizens Action Patrol said, “We are opposed to amendment one and we are trying to encourage pastors to oppose it as well.”
“We are taking away that very right to elect people that our forefathers fought for,” Godfrey continued. “Church members need to go to their pastor and ask them to get involved in this.”
State Representative Bob Fincher (R-Woodland) said, “I voted against this amendment twice, in the education policy committee and on the floor.”
“I was not sent to Montgomery as a representative of the Governor’s office, the BCA, or the AEA,” Fincher continued. “It is not in the interests of the people of Alabama. The people of this state do not need to cede their right to Montgomery to elect a state school board.”
“A board appointed by the Governor will respond to whatever the governor tells them to do, not what the people tell them,” Fincher added. “That other party has adopted many proposals that are highly socialistic. This is a socialist program. It takes away from the people their power and their sovereignty and places it in the hands of government officials.”
“I am an old high school history teacher and I taught government,” Fincher said, “I hope that we avoid this with every ounce of energy that we possess.”
“Don’t take the bait,” Fincher warned.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said, “March 3rd is one of the most important state elections in history.”
“Amendment One will take your right away to vote on state school board members and let Gov Ivey have the right to appoint all the state school board,” Zeigler said. “It puts the requirements of the common core into the state constitution.”
“My wife, Jackie Zeigler, ran against a gov Bentley appointee,” Zeigler added. “The young man had never been involved in public schools. He as an incumbent raised $216,000 in special interest money. Jackie Zeigler would never have been appointed even though she is the most qualified person to ever have served.”
Senate candidate State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) said, “It is about our children and grandchildren. The socialist left is attacking the very values that built this country.”
“This is too much concentration of authority in the executive branch,” Mooney warned. “I am not in favor of national standards.”
“We don’t need to be educating illegal immigrants at a cost $16,000 per person,” Mooney said.
Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) said, “I was one of three Republicans in the Alabama legislature to vote against this. In 1970, we had an appointed board.” We switched to an elected board because they at the time thought would work better not they want to switch to an appointed board again.
Sorrell said that the state had tried to build a toll bridge in Mobile without the support of the people. “Thank you to our State Auditor for putting the kobash on that.”
“I have seen the polling on this issue and we can win and we will win,” Sorrell said.
Voters go to the polls on Tuesday, March 3 to decide whether or not to surrender their powers to elect the school board.
Sanders Wins Nevada
Saturday, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, appears to have followed his victory in the New Hampshire primary with a victory in the Nevada caucuses.
“First we won the popular vote in Iowa. Then we won the New Hampshire primary. And now we have won the Nevada caucus,” Sen. Sanders said. “Let me first thank the people of Nevada for their support. We put together a multi-racial, multi-generational coalition across the state that will win not only in Nevada, but all across this country. No other campaign has a grassroots movement like we do, which is a large reason why we’re gonna win this election.”
The Alabama primary is just one week away on Super Tuesday.
“We are going to win across the country because the American people are sick and tired of a corrupt administration that is undermining American democracy.” Sanders continued. “They are sick and tired of a government based on greed and lies. It is time for an administration which is based on the principles of economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice.”
Sanders received 47.1 percent of the vote. Former Vice President Joe Biden received 21 percent of the vote. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg received just 13.7 percent of the vote. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, continued to underperform with just 9.6 percent of the vote. Billionaire Tom Steyer of California received just 4.7 percent of the vote. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, failed to gain any momentum off of her strong third place finish in New Hampshire and received just 3.9 percent of the vote.
Sanders is clearly the frontrunner going into the South Carolina primary. The self -proclaimed socialist has won 34 delegates to this point. Buttigieg is in second with 23, and Biden and Warren are tied with eight. Klobuchar has seven delegates.
New York City Mayor billionaire Michael Bloomberg have foregone the early primaries. He participated in his first debate and according to most observers did not fare well. Moderate Democrats have expressed concern that the party may suffer in November if the socialist label is attached to its nominee. Republicans are taking enjoyment from the Democrats’ strife.
“Michael Bloomberg maybe a Billionaire but when questioned by his fellow Socialist Democrats, he looked like a Deer in headlights!” Trump national finance committee chair Perry Hooper Jr. said. “Mini Mike was clear the Debate looser. It is very apparent that the National Democrat party today are controlled by the Left and they are very comfortable with Socialist Democrat, Bernie Sanders. But I think the real Looser is the Democrat Party! The Winner is and will continue to be heavy weight Champion, President Donald J. Trump.”
It takes 1,994 delegates to win the nomination. The next contest is the South Carolina Primary
The Alabama Democratic primary is March 3.
Alabama Democratic Women to host first Women in Blue Day on March 10
On March 10, the Alabama Democratic Women (ADW) organization will host their first annual Women in Blue Day, a day where state chapters of the National Federation of Democratic Women meet at their state capitols to speak with their legislators about issues that are of particular relevance to women and families.
Attendees will gather at the Alabama State House at the Tunnels (11 S Union Street, Montgomery, AL 36130) and all attendees are encouraged to wear blue attire in a symbol of solidarity. Check-in/registration will begin at 9:45 AM.
The day will include a briefing with Democratic representatives, a Capitol tour, brunch, observance of the legislative meeting, and a State Party update at the Alabama Democratic Party headquarters from Alabama Democratic Party Chair, Rep. Chris England.
ADW is a nonprofit political organization dedicated to supporting the Democratic Party and Democratic Women in Alabama, according to their website. The mission of ADW is to “unite Democratic women across the state of Alabama to ensure that we have a seat at the table and that our voices are heard.”
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