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Libertarian Doug Ward fails to qualify in House District 42 special election

Brandon Moseley

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Monday, the Alabama Secretary of State’s office reject an appeal by the Libertarian Party of Alabama for Doug War to receive ballot access in the Alabama House District 42 special election.

August 20th was the deadline for independent and third party candidates to turn in petition signatures to have their name printed on the ballot for the upcoming special election for the vacant HD42 seat. House District 42 covers portions of Chilton and Autauga counties.
Doug and his team turned in 668 signatures before the August 20 deadline to the Secretary of State’s Election Division. To get ballot access in the special election 458 valid signatures. were needed. The key word is valid. The voter actually has to live and be registered in the district. Many people who sign ballot access petitions are confused about whether they live in the district or not. Others live in the district but are not registered to vote or have forgotten to update their registration when they moved into the district. The Secretary of State’s office does more than just count the number of signatures. They also check the validity of the names on the petitions.

On August 29th, the Secretary of State, John H. Merrill, signed a letter addressed to the Chair of the Libertarian Party certifying that Doug did not have enough valid signatures to be on the ballot. The Elections Division certified 439 signatures – 19 short of what was needed to be on the ballot.

For funding reasons, the candidate did not purchase the voter list for the district before this time; even with the assistance of volunteers gathering petitions, paid petitioners still had to be brought in. There were more than enough signatures; but no way to check to see if the signatures they were gathering were valid or not.

After the denial of Ward’s ballot access the campaign team scoured over the list, and even called, emailed, and contacted through social media some of the people whose signatures were denied.

On Monday, September 16th, the campaign team went to the Elections Division and gave them their lists and proof of names changes, etc. which included marriage and divorce notices.
The Doug Ward team presented 30 names they argued should have been valid and had been rejected. Of the 30, the Elections Division accepted six, making the total valid signature count up to 445; but still thirteen short of qualifying for ballot access. The head of the Elections Division would not make a decision on the other names without consulting the Legal Department and Secretary of State John Merrill.

At 4:30 p.m. that day, they had a conference call with the Elections Division to get the final decision. The other names were denied and the team was told that the information they brought forth should have been turned in by the August 20 deadline. The certification of the ballot has already been completed, and the Secretary of State will not allow Ward on the ballot.

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The Libertarian Party of Alabama is currently suing the State of Alabama for discrimination against minor parties over access to the voter registration list. The court recently denied the State’s motion to dismiss.

The Libertarian Party speculated on whether or not Monday’s rejection of Ward’s appeal some sort of retaliation from the Secretary of State for the lawsuit.

Doug Ward will now attempt to run a write in campaign.

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“Our team brought forth over the required number of signatures of registered voters,” Ward said in a statement. “Many were dismissed because of names changing through marriage and divorce and what appeared to be slight errors in the database. They allowed us a few that we were able to bring in wedding announcements for but when we got close to reaching our number the criteria seemed to get harder. There were 13 signatures the SoS office could not discount as invalid, but would not allow being counted. We offered to go get sworn affidavits from the voters in question. Our offer was declined and those voters were not counted leaving us just short of the needed number. This is a setback but not unexpected. Moving forward we are running a write-in campaign. We will keep reaching out to the voters to make sure they know this district still has a choice.”

Republican Autauga County Commissioner Van Smith will face Democrat Kennith Allison Sr. on the November 5 special general election ballot.

House district 42 became vacant when State Rep. Jimmy Martin (R-Clanton) passed away in May.

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

Jones to attend Auburn student forum, Tuberville hasn’t yet responded to invitation

Jones has agreed to attend the forum, but it was unclear whether Tuberville planned to attend.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Sen. Doug Jones, left, and Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville, right.

The College Democrats at Auburn University and the College Republicans at Auburn University have asked U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, and his Republican opponent, Tommy Tuberville, to attend a student forum on Wednesday.

“We are excited to invite the candidates running for our U.S. Senate seat and provide this opportunity for any Auburn student to hear directly from them, and we hope it will inform our student bodies’ decisions with the November 3rd election only days away,” said Carsten Grove, president of the College Democrats at Auburn University, in a statement.

Jones has agreed to attend the forum, Auburn University College Democrats confirmed for APR on Sunday, but it was unclear whether Tuberville planned to attend. The student organization  was still awaiting a response from Tuberville’s campaign.

Jones has for months requested Tuberville join him in a debate, but Tuberville has declined.

“AUCR takes great pleasure in coming together with AUCD to co-host the Alabama Senate candidates in this forum. We are looking forward to a very informative and constructive event,” said Lydia Maxwell, president of the College Republicans at Auburn University.

Dr. Ryan Williamson, assistant professor of political science, is to emcee the forum, which will be open to all Auburn University students in the Mell Classroom Building at 6 p.m., according to a press release from the College Democrats at Auburn University.

Students will be permitted 30 seconds to ask a question of either candidate, and each candidate will have two minutes to answer, according to the release.

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Capacity at the forum will be limited and precautions taken due to COVID-19. Any student with an Auburn ID is welcome and attendance will be first come, first served.

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Trump Truck and boat parades this weekend

Brandon Moseley

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Trump boat parade

As Election Day draws near, Alabama Republicans are excited about promoting the re-election of Donald J. Trump as President and the election of Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate. This weekend two pro-President Trump events are happening in the state. There will be a truck parade from Ashland to Phenix City on Saturday sponsored by the Clay County Republican Party, while there will also be a boat parade on Wilson Lake in the Shoals sponsored by the Colbert County Republican Party on Sunday.

The pickup trucks will assemble at the Ashland Industrial Park in Clay County, 8240 Hwy 9, Ashland. There is a pre-departure rally at 10:00 a.m. central standard time. The trucks will depart at 11:00 a.m. and then proceed on a parade route that will take them into the bitterly contested swing state of Georgia. The Trump Pickup Parade will wind through east Alabama and West Georgia traveling through LaGrange and Columbus before concluding near the Alabama/Georgia line in Phenix City, 332 Woodland Drive, Phenix City at approximately 2:00 p.m. central time. Speakers will begin at 3:00. Trump flags will be on sale at the event.

The Phenix Motorsports Park will be hosting what sponsor hope could possibly the world’s largest Pickup Tuck parade in U.S. history that is routing over 50 mile through Georgia in effort to “pickup” President Trump’s numbers in GA.

A number dignitaries have been invited to address the Phenix City rally, including Coach Tuberville. Former State Sen. Shadrack McGill, Trump Victory Finance Committee member former State Rep. Perry O. Hooper Jr., and Paul Wellborn, the President and CEO of the largest Family owned Kitchen Cabinet manufacture in the USA are among the featured speakers who have committed to speak at the event.

Entertainment will be provided by: Charity Bowden, an up and coming country music singer who was the runner up on “The Voice”. Charity will sing ‘I am Proud to be an American’ as well as songs from her Voice performances. The McGill Girls will also perform. The three beautiful and talented sisters will be singing patriotic songs in three part harmony. Geoff Carlisle, a professional DJ will be keeping the crowd pumped with music and entertainment.

Following the speakers and the entertainment there will Trump truck-vs- Joe Bidden truck races down the drag strip for the finale.

The Northwest Alabama boat parade will be on Sunday. The boats will gather at 2:00 p.m. near Turtle Point and then the flotilla will parade around the open waters of Wilson Lake til 3_00 p.m.. There will be a contest for best decorated Trump boats.

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Trump supporters have held a number of large boat parades across the state to show their support for the re-election of Pres. Trump.

Boat parade sponsors say that this parade will be: pro-American, pro-law enforcement, pro-military.

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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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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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