Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill announced Friday that he supports President Donald Trump’s request that the 2020 Census include a question about whether the respondent is or is not a U.S. citizen.
Merrill has submitted a letter outlining his support for the executive order or other legal remedies requested by Trump to require the inclusion of a U.S. citizenship question on the 2020 United States Census form.
Merrill said the question of citizenship ensures the U.S. Census Bureau gathers accurate information for use in determining the number of congressional seats and Electoral College votes delegated to the state of Alabama in the upcoming redistricting.
“It is devastating news. Alabama could lose a seat in Congress if non-U.S. citizens are calculated in the 2020 Census and in other parts of the nation,” Merrill said. “Alabama has a great deal at stake with the data produced by the 2020 Census if non-U.S. citizens are counted.”
The state of Alabama, through Attorney General Steve Marshall and Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, have filed a lawsuit in federal court demanding that non-citizens not be counted for purposes of reapportionment and redistricting.
“We don’t need to be giving benefits to people who are non-citizens over people who are citizens, period,” Merrill said. “There are two districts in Los Angeles County, California, that currently have less than 40 percent United States citizenship in population. That means there are two congressional districts in California that shouldn’t even exist.”
“When you start counting citizens, then you will have citizens represented in Congress,” Merrill added. “When you start counting everybody, even those people that may not be citizens, you’re giving advantage to people that allow illegals to come into their community. That is not a positive thing for anybody.”
The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it was dropping the citizenship question from the 2020 Census. The decision was made just days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the administration and stated that the question cannot be included.
Trump initially said he wanted to delay the census while his administration continued to push for the question to be included in the 2020 survey.
On Tuesday, a Justice Department lawyer said the decision was made to start printing the census form without the citizenship question being included.
“We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question and that the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process,” wrote DOJ attorney Kate Bailey on Tuesday.
The email was sent to civil rights groups, who were challenging the question.
Former President Barack Obama’s White House lawyer Daniel Jacobson made the email public on Twitter.
On Wednesday, Trump told reporters that the administration has not given up on including the citizenship question.
On Friday the Trump Administration released a statement expressing that they are exploring all options on how to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
“The Departments of Justice and Commerce have been asked to reevaluate all available options following the Supreme Court’s decision and whether the Supreme Court’s decision would allow for a new decision to include the citizenship question on the 2020 Decennial Census,” Justice Department lawyers wrote in a filing Friday.
The lack of a citizenship question would put into question the viability of Alabama’s lawsuit.
Without a citizenship question, it will be difficult for the Census Bureau to determine how many of the people counted are or are not citizens.
It is expected that Alabama will lose one of its seven Congressional Districts if undocumented immigrants are counted for purposes of reapportionment and redistricting. California and Texas will be the beneficiaries. They are expected to gain several new House districts and the corresponding electoral college votes in presidential elections after the 2020 election.
On June 5, Judge David Proctor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama held that the plaintiffs, the State of Alabama and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, have adequately alleged that they will be harmed by the inclusion of undocumented immigrants in the census.
“Alabama will continue to make its case that the Constitution and federal law require that each state’s share of federal political power in Congress be apportioned based on the number of people who are lawfully present in the United States and that illegal aliens must not be included in that calculation,” Marshall said.
Proctor denied the federal government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but there still has to be a ruling from the lower court. A ruling favorable to Marshall and Brooks would almost certainly be appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and whichever side lost the appeal would take it to the Supreme Court. All of that takes time. Meanwhile the printers will be churning out millions of Census forms with no citizenship question.
For there to be a citizenship question, the Supreme Court would likely have to overturn its ruling of last week.
To find in favor of Marshall, Brooks and the State of Alabama, that likely will have to happen. Then, the court would have to find in favor of the State of Alabama and order the government not to include non-citizens in congressional reapportionment. The Brooks and Marshall lawsuit still has to be heard in a lower federal court before it can be appealed by the losing side.
Merrill is a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Doug Jones.
The 2020 Census will be coming on March and April.
Original reporting by the Hill’s Jacqueline Thomsen and The Washington Post contributed to this report.
Mark Gidley announces run for Rep. Becky Nordgren’s House seat
Republican voters in Etowah County went to the polls and elected State Rep. Becky Nordgren, R-Gadsden, as their nominee for revenue commissioner, defeating Jeff Overstreet in the Republican primary runoff.
No Democrat qualified for the seat, so Nordgren will likely be the commissioner once the current commissioner’s term runs out. At that time, the governor will call a special election to fill Nordgren’s soon-to-be vacant House seat.
Mark Gidley has announced that he will seek the Republican nomination for State House District 29.
“I have a strong desire to continue to promote pro-life, pro-family, and strong conservative values in Montgomery as the Representative for the people of District 29,” Gidley said. “I have been a member of the pro-life community for many years, serving as a board member for the Etowah County Pregnancy Center, and I will fight in Montgomery to continue to make Alabama a Pro-Life State. I believe in family values, and the traditional family created in the image of God. I will fight for these values as a Representative in the Alabama House”.
Mark Gidley is a lifelong resident of Etowah County and is heavily involved in his community. Gidley is the pastor of the Faith Worship Center Church of God in Glencoe.
Gidley says that it is his desire to serve this community and the area of District 29 with bold and conservative leadership.
Mark is married to the former Kathy Chapman of Hokes Bluff. They have two daughters and four grandchildren. Mark is a member of the Executive Committee of the Etowah County Republican Party.
Kellum holds onto Court of Criminal Court of Appeals seat
While there is still a general election on Nov. 3, Tuesday’s victory effectively re-elected Kellum to her third term as no Democrat or independent qualified to run for the race.
Incumbent Alabama’s Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Beth Kellum won the Republican primary for her seat on the court, likely assuring that she will return to the general election.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting unofficial results, Beth Kellum had 56 percent while challenger Will Smith received 44 percent.
“Thank you to everyone who made the effort to vote in today’s “pandemic election,“ Kellum said in a statement. “It has been one of the great honors of my life to represent you on the Court of Criminal Appeals for the past 12 years. It was a hard fought race, and I am thankful for the people of Alabama and for the trust you put in me to serve the great State of Alabama. I look forward to serving you for another six years!”
Smith conceded the race in a statement.
“This Sunday, one of the hymns we sang in church was Have Faith In God. The chorus of the song has played in my mind ever since. So first and foremost, I want to thank God for giving me faith and provision along the way of this campaign journey,” Smith said. “I want to thank the Republican voters who braved the unusual circumstances of this time to vote for me today. These conservative grassroots supporters have supported my campaign, defended my character and championed our sacred beliefs of faith and family and our American ideals of liberty, freedom and constitutional government.”
“I am forever grateful to my wife, Laura,” Smith continued. “She has been my rock and encourager. She has always been so supportive and understanding throughout the demands of this campaign journey. I love her and I am blessed to have her as my wife.”
“I enjoyed traveling to the four corners of our great state and meeting so many of her wonderful people,” Smith added. “This race was one of grassroots conservatives against the big money interests of Montgomery which contributed over $80,000 to the incumbent. The results of the March 3rd Republican Primary showed me trailing the two-term incumbent by a margin of 43% to 37%. It was amazing we were within 6 percentage points of the two-term incumbent despite being outspent over 15 to 1 during the primary. Today, the voters spoke and re-elected the incumbent to her third term. I congratulate Judge Kellum on her victory tonight.”
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan issued a statement following Kellum’s win for the GOP nomination for the Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals.
“While we had two exceptional candidates for the Criminal Court of Appeals, Alabama Republican voters have selected a highly qualified legal mind to be their nominee for the Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals,” Lathan said. “Beth Kellum has proven herself to a be a strong judge during her previous two terms on the bench. Combined with her extensive legal career, we are confident Judge Kellum will win re-election and return to this seat on November 3rd. We look forward to her continued service with the upmost integrity and seriousness she has shown Alabama as a judge.”
“We extend our gratitude to Will Smith for his willingness to serve — not just in this position but in his previous post as a Lauderdale County Commissioner,” Lathan added. “He is a great example of a true statesman.”
Kellum is an Alabama native who grew up in Vance in Tuscaloosa County. She graduated from Brookwood High School in 1977. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and a law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law.
Kellum was hired in 1985 by Attorney General Charles Graddick as an assistant attorney general. She worked in the criminal appeals division where she primarily prosecuted appeals before the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Alabama Supreme Court.
She later worked as a staff attorney for the Court of Criminal Appeals from 1987 until 1990. Kellum went into private practice with the Montgomery law firm of Robison & Belser, P.A., working on a wide variety of civil and criminal cases in state and federal courts.
In 1997, she went back to the Court of Criminal Appeals to work as a senior staff attorney for the newly-elected Judge Jean Brown. She worked as a senior staff attorney for the Alabama Supreme Court from 1999 until 2001, before returning to the Court of Criminal Appeals as the senior staff attorney for then newly-elected Judge Kelli Wise.
Kellum was elected to the Court of Criminal Appeals in November 2008 and was re-elected in 2014. While there is still a general election on Nov. 3, Tuesday’s victory effectively re-elected Kellum to her third term as no Democrat or independent qualified to run for the race.
Alabama is one of the few states to elect its judges in partisan elections.
Alabama GOP chair Terry Lathan congratulates Tuberville
Former Auburn football head coach Tommy Tuberville soundly defeated former Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, on Tuesday in the Republican primary runoff. Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan issued a statement congratulating Tuberville on the victory.
“It’s great to be an Alabama Republican! Our voters have spoken and they have chosen an outstanding U.S. Senate nominee for the November 3rd General Election, Coach Tommy Tuberville,” Lathan said. “Even under difficult circumstances with the COVID-19 situation, Alabamians were deeply engaged and determined to participate in our voting process.”
With 100 percent of the boxes reporting, Tuberville won 60.74 percent compared to Sessions with 39.26 percent. Tuberville won 64 of Alabama’s 67 counties.
“Tommy Tuberville is a true Washington outsider and has gained the trust of Alabama Republican Party voters to represent them and help President Trump ‘Drain the Swamp’” Lathan continued. “He will fight for the will of the majority who have been ignored since 2017. His conservative positions on the issues and support of our president will be welcomed when he defeats Doug Jones in November. Alabama is the highest approval rated state for President Trump. The combination of Coach Tuberville and President Trump’s popularity in our state puts us in a very strong position to flip this seat back to the GOP.”
Tuberville’s win effectively ended the 27-year political career of former Attorney General Sessions. Sessions left this Senate seat in 2017 to become U.S. attorney general. Sessions was fired from that post by the man who appointed him to it, President Donald Trump, over strong disagreement with Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russian collusion scandal investigation in the 2016 election.
A still angry Trump denounced Sessions as “the biggest mistake” of his presidency and endorsed Tuberville. Sessions could never overcome the president’s disapproval with Alabama Republican voters. As recently as Saturday, Trump said of Sessions: “Washington doesn’t want him back.”
Sessions is also a former Alabama attorney general and chairman of the Alabama Republican Party.
“We are greatly appreciative of Jeff Sessions and his lifetime of commitment to conservative policy and service – not just to Alabamians but to all Americans,” Lathan said. “He is a true patriot in every sense of the word and our nation is stronger because of his willingness to take a stand on the issues and fight for the will of Alabamians. Senator Sessions has earned his place in history as a true conservative warrior.”
“We would also like to thank Secretary of State John Merrill and the election teams around the state who worked so diligently in providing heath care protection to the voters in today’s elections,” Lathan added. “Together, we are unstoppable on November 3rd. Alabamians have that date circled in red and plan to end the tenure of liberal Doug Jones. While we know a battle is ahead, his voting record will be in the spotlight – voting to impeach our president and not to seat Justice Kavanaugh, voting against building our nation’s security walls and tax cuts just to name a few. We look forward to doing to Doug Jones what he and his left wing buddies failed to do to President Trump – end his time in office.”
Tuberville in his speech came out swinging against incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, blasting him for voting to impeach Trump and for voting against Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.
“Democrat Doug Jones is running for reelection with the slogan of One Alabama,” Tuberville said. “Well, you can make no mistake about it: what Doug really means is, One Liberal Alabama.”
Tuberville accused Jones of taking “marching orders from Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and bartender AOC.”
Tuberville thanked Trump for his support and called him: “The greatest President of my life.”
Tuberville said he will vote to defend Alabama’s Second Amendment rights: “By God, they’re not taking our guns.”
Tuberville faces stiff competition from Jones, who has raised close to $10 million to spend by Nov. 3 and was not bloodied in a primary contest.
Tuberville is an Arkansas native and a career football coach; best remembered for his tenure at Auburn University. He was also the head coach at the University of Mississippi, Cincinnati, and Texas Tech. He won a national championship as a defensive coordinator at the University of Miami.
Barry Moore wins 2nd Congressional District GOP primary runoff
With 100 percent of boxes reporting, Moore received 60 percent to Coleman’s 40 percent.
Alabama Republican voters went to the polls Tuesday and selected former State Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, as the Republican nominee for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. Moore defeated Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman.
“With God all things are possible,” Moore said, quoting scripture. “This was a prayerful campaign it was a grassroots campaign.
“We just wanted to run a clean race and give God the glory,” Moore continued. “At the end of the day there is a God and we are not him.”
“We spent $300 or $400,000 on our race and they spent $2 or $3 million,” Moore said. “Winning this is the easy and campaign is the part. Going to Washington and facing this issues that we face is the hard part. It is a spiritual battle for the future of America.”
Moore thanked campaign consultant Jonathan Barbee. “Jonathan I love you. You were my armor bearer in this. … This guy did not charge me hardly anything, but he and his wife were incredible,” Moore said. “It did not matter whether it was social media or driving a truck through the night to a campaign event.”
With 100 percent of boxes reporting, Moore received 60 percent to Coleman’s 40 percent.
“Barry Moore worked extremely hard and ran an outstanding campaign,” Republican Executive Committee Member Perry O. Hooper Jr. told APR. “He deserved this victory! I am mightily proud of Barry and his sweet family.”
Moore had to overcome a Republican primary field with seven other candidates, the fact that Coleman is one of the wealthiest people in Alabama and a 2014 criminal case where he was indicted for perjury but was found not guilty by a jury. He also dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, which made campaigning these past four months almost impossible, and the fact that he ran for this seat two years ago and failed to even make the Republican primary runoff.
Coleman had the support of the powerful Business Council of Alabama, of which he is a past chairman. He also was supported by the Alabama Farmers Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Moore had the support of two powerful D.C. super PACs, which blunted Coleman’s personal wealth advantage. Moore was supported by the House Freedom Caucus and Club for Growth.
Club for Growth PAC President David McIntosh issued a statement congratulating Barry Moore the win.
“We send our congratulations to Barry Moore for running a great campaign and look forward to supporting him through victory in the General Election so he can bring his vision for lower taxes and fewer regulations to Washington,” said Club for Growth PAC President David McIntosh.
Club for Growth Action spent $706,068 on the race, and Club for Growth members contributed $95,708 directly to Moore’s campaign through the Club for Growth PAC the group announced.
“The voters of Congressional District 2 had outstanding candidates for their open House seat,” said Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan. “I am confident their choice for nominee – Barry Moore – will go to Washington and do an exceptional job representing his district. Barry Moore has a proven conservative track record in the Alabama House of Representatives, one he will take to Washington and use to pass the Trump agenda. His love for the Second Congressional District, combined with his pattern of hard work, will be a great asset in Washington for our state.”
“We are grateful for businessman Jeff Coleman who wanted to serve in this district,” Lathan added. “Jeff’s willingness to join in this public servant position is greatly appreciated by many. His desire to help Alabama is highly commendable.”
Incumbent Republican Congresswoman Martha Roby endorsed Coleman just days before the election, but it was not enough to sway 2nd Congressional District voters.
Moore will face Democrat Phyllis Harvey-Hall in the Nov. 3 general election.