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Sen. Cam Ward announces bid for Alabama Supreme Court

Bill Britt

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Earlier today, State Senator Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, announced he is running for the Republican nomination for Associate Justice on the Alabama Supreme Court in Place 1. That seat is currently held by Greg Shaw.

Ward, who serves as the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and President of the Alabama Law Institute, is the leading figure in justice reform in the state. He sees the move from the legislative branch to the judiciary as a natural progression in his commitment to public service. “For me, this is a natural progression and if elected, I will bring a unique perspective to the court having worked in the legislature and the attorney general’s office,” Ward told APR in a phone conversation shortly before his formal announcement.

As a young attorney, Ward began his career in state government when he was appointed Deputy Attorney General by former Attorney General Bill Pryor.

Pryor’s dedication to the rule of law helped shape Ward’s view on a wide range of conservative issues, which led him to seek public office first as a State Representative and now as a Senator.

Best known for his roles in criminal justice and prison reform and his leadership in advocating for the state’s Autism community, Ward is a steadfast voice for those who need a champion according to those who have watched him over the years. Ward is seen as a leader who can build a consensus even on the toughest issues.

He says he wants to take that same experience to the state’s highest court.

“The roles of the three branches of government are very well-defined. The legislative branch writes the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws and the judicial branch interprets the laws,” Ward explained. “My judicial philosophy will be easy to understand. As a judge, my role will be to interpret the law exactly as it is written, not to write new ones.”

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As critics of the current court will attest, the Alabama Supreme Court is not always seen as an impartial arbiter of justice; instead, it is often vilified as bending to the will of prevailing political winds.

Ward believes his background as a lawmaker as well as his experience in criminal justice will give him the ability and wisdom required to adjudicate honestly.

Ward, a graduate of Troy State University and the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, is a practicing attorney specializing in criminal justice reform and economic development.

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“During his time in public office, he has demonstrated that he is a staunch advocate of limited government and protections for Constitutional rights,” according to his campaign press statement. “He has sponsored stronger ethics laws and pro-growth legislation that has helped launch Alabama to the lowest unemployment rate in decades. His work in the State Senate has been recognized by conservative groups both locally and nationally.”

Ward is married to Lindsey Clements Ward and he has two daughters, Riley (17) and Clements (1).

The Republican Primary will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

This is Ward’s first run for statewide office.

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Elections

John Merrill elected Chair of Republican Secretaries of State Committee

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At this year’s annual National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Winter Conference, Secretary of State John H. Merrill had the privilege of meeting with the Republican Secretaries of State Committee (RSSC), where he was then elected by his 28 other peers to lead the delegation as its Chair.

“At our meeting in Washington, we solidified our goals for the upcoming term and identified new ways in which we can better ourselves as Secretaries of State. Our chief objective is to protect the integrity and credibility of the elections process in every state.” emphasized Secretary Merrill.

Merrill will be working alongside Vice Chair Frank LaRose, Ohio’s Secretary of State.

“Secretary LaRose is a proven leader among our colleagues at NASS. He has made significant progress in securing the state of elections in Ohio, and I am excited to continue our work together to ensure our colleagues are up-to-date with important information and aware of new ways in which we can protect the integrity of the electoral process,” stated Merrill.

In their commitment to maintaining fair and secure elections that are inclusive of all eligible citizens, the Republican Secretaries of State Committee will continue to work to modernize the systems in which Americans use each and every day, as well as cut down on all forms of voter fraud.

“Our Republican secretaries of state are second to none,” said RSLC President Austin Chambers. “Secretaries Merrill and LaRose are brilliant leaders who will play a key role in getting Republicans elected to secretary of state offices in every corner of the country. We are thankful for their willingness to lead and know they will have an enormous positive impact on this year’s elections.

 

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Buttigieg’s campaign announces Dixon, Rice will lead on the ground efforts in Alabama

Brandon Moseley

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Pete Buttigieg’s campaign announced that starting on Monday, Stephenie Dixon and Matthew Rice will lead the Buttigieg campaign’s on-the-ground efforts in Alabama.

The Alabama presidential primary is less than three weeks away and the 38 year-old South Bend, Indiana Mayor is locked in a tight race with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) after Iowa and New Hampshire. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota) is in third. Former New York City and mega billionaire Michael Bloomberg skipped the early states and is pouring millions of his own money into the race. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) are struggling to resurrect their campaigns after disappointing finishes in the first two contest. Bloomberg and Sanders both been actively organizing in Alabama.

“We are building the campaign that will not only win this nomination but will defeat Donald Trump in November,” said Samantha Steelman, Pete for America Organizing Director for Super Tuesday States. “To compete in all the states on Super Tuesday, you need a massive network of grassroots volunteers. For months, we have had a team that has been building that organization by harnessing the energy and grassroots momentum behind Pete and turning it into real organizing work. This ramp up will provide more staff and resources to train, resource, and guide our 25,000 volunteers in Super Tuesday states that will push our campaign across the finish line on March 3rd.”

Dixon and Rice have been tasked with helping further resource and train grassroots volunteer networks in Alabama’s seven congressional districts who have shared Pete’s message across the state since last year.

Buttigieg has visited Alabama already but the Pete for America campaign has not announced another Alabama visit. Buttigieg will make five upcoming trips in the next two weeks that will take Mayor Buttigieg to Super Tuesday states: California, Colorado, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

The campaign has also announced a six-figure digital buy in several Super Tuesday states.

Buttigieg’s campaign claims that their message of belonging has inspired a grassroots campaign across the country. The campaign has built up volunteer leadership teams that are working in every single congressional district in all Super Tuesday states. Buttigieg’s volunteer-led teams are already hosting events and recruiting more volunteers for door knocking, phone banks, and other volunteer action in Super Tuesday states.

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In addition to staff on the ground, Pete for America is also activating and ramping up activity in coalition groups like Students for Pete and Veterans & Military Community for Pete. The campaign has over 80 Students for Pete chapters in Super Tuesday states including Troy University and Jefferson State Community College, to name a few. Chapter leaders have been trained on all aspects of the campaign, including digital organizing, field, and policy advocacy. As part of this ramp-up, Pete for America is engaging student groups to have organizing meetings to welcome new staff. Veterans & Military Community for Pete has more than 1,600 active members in Super Tuesday states that will ramp up organizing activities as well.

Pete for America is also organizing online in Alabama. The campaign has over 150 digital captains, with a presence in every Super Tuesday state who are engaging supporters and bringing them into its relational organizing program. The campaign’s digital Welcome teams and Local teams will be finding and identifying new supporters online, welcoming them into the Pete community, and then connecting them to local resources both online and on the ground to get involved – translating online support to offline action.

Buttigieg is a veteran and if elected would be the youngest President in American history. He would also be the first openly gay president.

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The Alabama presidential primary is March 3.

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination for President will face incumbent President Donald J. Trump (R) on November 3.

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Conservative Leadership Conference, Senate forum is Saturday

Brandon Moseley

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The Conservative Leadership Conference and U.S. Senate forum will be Saturday from noon to 9:00 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Florence.

The event is sponsored by the Conservative Leadership Council, a 501c4, and is free and open to the public. The Marriott Hotel & Conference Center is at 10 Hightower Place in Florence.

Former presidential candidate U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) will be the Senate forum moderator. The conference will provide grassroots training sessions, nonpartisan public policy panel sessions, keynote speakers, and a U.S. Senate Forum.

Policy topics of discussion include Criminal Justice, Media in Politics, Gaming & Lottery in Alabama, Campaign Finance, and Liberty in America.

The criminal justice panelists include Judge Mary Windom, Presiding Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, Deputy Attorney General Rich Anderson, State Senator Cam Ward, and Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connelly.

The campaign finance panelists include State Representative Matt Fridy, Clay Helms, Director of Elections, Office of the Alabama Secretary of State, and John Pudner, Executive Director of Take Back Our Republic.

The media in politics panelists include Shannon Moore, Will Hampson, Mark White, Jeff Poor, and State Representative Andrew Sorrell.

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There will be workshops including: The biblical influence on the U.S. Constitution, led by Judge Roy Moore, A Vision of Liberty,Criminal Justice Reform, and Taking Your Message to New Audiences. The workshops will all be led by Americans for Prosperity- Grassroots Leadership Academy.

While the event is free and open to the public; tickets are available for a special meet & greet reception.

More information can be found here.

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Secretary Merrill says voting is easier than ever in Alabama

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The following statement from Secretary of State John H. Merrill is in response to the inaccurate report shared by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Alabama Political Reporter columnist Josh Moon:

“A report published Monday morning by the Southern Poverty Law Center presented readers with the grossly inaccurate claim that voter suppression is ‘alive and well’ in Alabama. This assertion, however, could not be any farther from the truth.

You see, one of the many things we have done since taking office is work to make it easier than ever to vote in the State of Alabama.

We have worked with the Legislature on numerous occasions to meet the needs of Alabamians in a bipartisan fashion. Most notably, in 2019, I worked with Senator Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, to identify two new ways in which voters may vote by absentee ballot. Last year, we also worked with Representative Victor Gaston, R-Mobile, to establish a way for permanently disabled voters to participate in the electoral process through casting an absentee ballot. These two pieces of legislation have streamlined the absentee voting process and made it easier and more accommodating for the voter.

To be very clear, absentee voting allows for a form of early voting for eligible Alabamians, and we are proud to offer this service to the people in our state who meet the requirements.

We would also like to point out that in the states that do permit early voting, election costs have increased in every state and yet there have been no significant increases in voter participation. Considering we continue to break every record in the history of the state for voter registration and voter participation is proof that our current election laws are not a problem to voters in this state.

Please note the following of the last four major elections:  

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On March 1, 2016, more than 1.25 million Alabamians voted, breaking every record in the history of the state for participation in a Presidential Primary. On November 8, 2016, more than 2.1 million Alabamians voted, breaking every record in the history of the state for participation in a Presidential General Election. On December 12, 2017, more than 1.3 million Alabamians voted and participated in the Special U.S. Senate Election, and on November 6, 2018, more than 1.7 million Alabamians voted, again breaking every record in the history of the state for a Midterm General Election.

And since taking office in January of 2015, we have registered 1,440,682 voters bringing the state’s total number of registered voters to 3,564,263, as of Friday, February 7, 2020. For each of these voters, we have a name, address, birthday, a social security number, and an email address, if provided, proving their identity.

These numbers are unprecedented and unparalleled by any state in the union.

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While the Southern Poverty Law Center may not understand simple math, I am glad to see that my friend Josh Moon agrees that while these people are entitled to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts – and the fact of the matter is that the current voting system has allowed for significant increases in registration and participation.

And to Mr. Moon’s point ‘It doesn’t matter the percentage of people that Merrill’s office has registered to vote, or how many registrations he’s managed from his caravan,’ I would strongly disagree. Each of these people represent a different perspective or background and their stories and their participation are equally as important. Theirs is the story of Alabama, the greatest state in the union.

Additionally, in 2017, we worked with Senator Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, and Representative Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, to identify the crimes of moral turpitude, which disqualify a voter from participating in the electoral process. In 2016, I worked with Representative Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, to restore the voting rights of those who have been previously disqualified. 

Through working with members from both sides of the aisle, we have streamlined the voting process to ensure everyone who is eligible and interested has the opportunity to participate.

It is unfortunate to see people take advantage of their platforms to push an agenda that is intentionally designed to mislead voters and decrease the public’s trust in elections.

Alabamians and Americans know that the most effective method of political activism is to participate in the electoral process to ensure that our elected officials hold the same values that are held by the electors that put them into office, and I encourage all who are eligible to vote in the March 3, 2020 Primary Elections.”

 

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