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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.

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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Elections

Tuberville, Sessions campaign together

The two former Republican primary opponents participated in a series of campaign events across the Tennessee Valley area.

Brandon Moseley

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Former Sen. Jeff Sessions, left, and Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville, right.

The Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate campaign released a social media video Thursday featuring Tuberville alongside former U.S. Sen. and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The two former Republican primary opponents had participated in a series of campaign events across the Tennessee Valley area.

Tuberville and Sessions on Wednesday met with representatives of Huntsville’s defense and technology sectors, participated in an event sponsored by the Republican Women of Huntsville and headlined multiple campaign fundraising events.

Sessions said, “Tommy, I support you 100 percent. Alabama must send you to represent us in the Senate. We cannot allow a Chuck Schumer acolyte – Doug Jones – to represent Alabama in the Senate.”

“You see it on his vote on the judges and Kavanaugh and the way he’s behaved about the new nominee, so I think … it would be shocking that Alabama would reelect a Doug Jones,” Sessions continued. “I know you’re going to win. I feel really good about it, and I’m glad that you’re traveling the state hard and that you’re here in this important community.”

The night after Tuberville won the Republican primary runoff election, Sessions committed to doing his part to help defeat Jones and reclaim the Senate seat for the ALGOP.

“After we won the runoff, Jeff Sessions called and told me, ‘Coach, I’m all in,’ and today’s joint events certainly demonstrate that he is a man of his word,” Tuberville said following the video shoot. “Jeff Sessions understands that it’s time we once again had a U.S. senator whose votes reflect our conservative Alabama values, not the ultra-liberal Hollywood and New York values of Doug Jones’s high-dollar, out-of-state campaign donors.”

Tuberville faces a determined Jones, who is flooding the airwaves with ads. Democrats are desperate to hold on to Jones’ seat, believing that his seat could tip control of the Senate to the Democrats.

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Democrats hope to hold onto their control the U.S. House of Representatives and a recent poll by Rasmussen shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a five point lead over incumbent Donald Trump.

Sessions left the U.S. Senate to accept an appointment as Trump’s first attorney general.

Jones defeated former Chief Justice Roy Moore to win the seat in the special election.

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Sessions was fired by Trump in 2018 and announced his candidacy for Senate the day before qualifying ended. Tuberville had already spent ten months on the campaign trail at that point.

Tuberville defeated Sessions, Moore, Congressman Bradley Byrne, State Rep. Arnold Mooney and businessman Stanley Adair in the crowded Republican primary. Tuberville is a former Auburn University head football coach. He also coached Texas Tech, Cincinnati and Ole Miss. Tuberville won a national championship as the defensive coordinator at the University of Miami. Tuberville lives in Auburn.

The general election is Nov. 3.

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Education

Report: Alabama is fourth-least politically engaged state in 2020

The study scored states based on 11 key indicators of political engagement. Those included things like voter turnout, political donations and voter accessibility policies.

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Alabama was ranked fourth from last in political engagement in the country in 2020 in an analysis done by the personal finance website WalletHub.

The study scored states based on 11 key indicators of political engagement. Those included things like voter turnout, political donations and voter accessibility policies.

A record 137.5 million Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election, but that only accounts for 61.4 percent of citizens who are old enough to vote. The U.S. ranks 26 in voter turnout among the world’s 35 developed nations. 

“That’s no surprise, considering most states don’t emphasize civic education in their schools,” the report points out. “Large proportions of the public fail even simple knowledge tests such as knowing whether one’s state requires identification in order to vote.”

One of the study’s metrics where Alabama scored lowest was the percentage of the electorate that voted in the 2016 election, which was 57.4 percent. That number is low, said Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst, and is 4.5 percent lower than it was in the 2012 presidential election.

She said that other factors responsible for the state’s low rank were its preparedness for voting in a pandemic and the low percentage of residents who participate in local groups or organizations.

The report’s assessment of the state’s preparedness for voting in a pandemic included voting accessibility metrics.

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“Alabama actually received a negative score here because of the unnecessary obstacles created for voter access, such as: voters need a notary or two witnesses to complete an absentee ballot, voters are required to provide a copy of a photo ID for the mail application and/or ballot, and mail ballots are due before close of polling,” Gonzalez said in an email.

She said that states ranked at the top of the list, like first-place Maine, have higher engagement due to measures taken by state legislatures. 

“Making it easy for people to vote increases engagement,” Gonzalez said. “This can be done through things like automatic voter registration, early voting, or voting by mail. The existence of local civic organizations involved in voter mobilization also plays a part in this.”

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A federal judge ordered Alabama on Sept. 30 to do away with its witnesses or notary requirement for mail-in ballots, and to allow curbside voting for the Nov. 3 election. An appeals court reversed the former ruling on Tuesday, a decision which Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill applauded. It upheld the latter decision, about which Merrill said, “we intend to appeal to the Supreme Court to see that this fraudulent practice is banned in Alabama, as it is not currently allowed by state law.”

Metrics where Alabama ranked below average, with a score of one being best and 25 being average, were as follows:

  • 26th in percentage of registered voters in the 2016 presidential election
  • 35th in voter accessibility policies
  • 37th in percentage of the electorate who voted in the 2018 midterm elections
  • 38th in total political contributions per adult population
  • 42nd in percentage of the electorate who voted in the 2016 presidential election
  • 45th is the change in the percentage of the electorate who actually voted in the 2016 elections versus the 2012 elections

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Elections

Alabama Retail Association endorses Mike Rogers

“Proud to receive the endorsement of the Alabama Retail Association’s PAC!” Rogers said.

Brandon Moseley

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Congressman Mike Rogers

Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, this week thanked the Alabama Retail Association for their recent endorsement. Rogers is seeking his tenth term representing the 3rd Congressional District.

“Proud to receive the endorsement of the Alabama Retail Association’s PAC!” Rogers said. “Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, the retailers’ 4,300 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living.”

Rogers was first elected in 2002 after previous service in the Alabama House of Representatives and the Calhoun County Commission. He currently serves as ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security and is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. Mike also serves as a member of the Strategic Forces subcommittee.

Rogers summarizes his conservative ideology with the old adage “the government that governs best, governs least.”

Rogers is a graduate of Saks High School and earned both his undergraduate degree in political science and masters of public administration at Jacksonville State University. He was a practicing attorney and is a small business owner in Calhoun County.

Rogers faces Democratic nominee Adia Winfrey in the Nov. 3 general election.

The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, the association’s 4,300 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living.

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Rogers is a sixth generation East Alabamian and native of Calhoun County. He has been married to his wife, Beth, for 35 years. They have three children. Mike grew up in the small mill village of Blue Mountain. His mother worked in the local textile mill and his father was a firefighter.

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Elections

Barry Moore “pleased” with President Trump’s town hall performance

“I was pleased with how President Trump did during his Town Hall,” Moore said.

Brandon Moseley

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President Donald Trump participates in a town hall with NBC News.

Congressional candidate Barry Moore said Thursday that he was pleased with President Donald Trump’s performance during Thursday’s NBC News town hall in Miami.

“I was pleased with how President Trump did during his Town Hall,” Moore said. “Thursday night, despite what I felt was a moderator that was biased against him. He did a great job of pointing out his record of success and how a Joe Biden administration would be disastrous for our economic recovery from the COVID pandemic.”

“I especially liked how he pointed out that the Democrat’s behavior during Justice Kavanaugh’s appointment process affected Justice Barrett’s appointment,” Moore said. “The Democrats sowed discord and division during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation and now they’re reaping the consequences of that discord.”

“This President can rightly claim to have created the greatest economy in our nation’s history, and I’m so glad we had those three years to recover from the Obama/Biden Great Recession before the pandemic hit,” Moore said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt Donald Trump is the better choice to lead us through the pandemic reopening and recovery.”

Trump Victory Finance Committee member former Perry Hooper Jr., a former Alabama state representative, agreed with Moore that the president performed well.

“The President was very high energy and was confident in his responses to the guests questions,” Hooper said. “It was obvious that the crowd loved him. They clapped for the President and a guest seated right behind the President seem to agree with everything the President said. One lady that was introduced as someone leaning to voting for Biden seemed mesmerized by the President and complimented him. The only person in the room that came across not supporting the President was NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. In my opinion, I believe the left was putting a lot of pressure on her to be argumentative. As far as Biden’s Town Hall Meeting went, He finally indicated he was for packing the Court. That should scare the heck out of Conservative Americans.”

Both Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden held competing town halls in place of the canceled second debate previously scheduled for Thursday evening.

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There was originally supposed to be three presidential debates, but after the first debate, Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. Following a brief hospitalization, the president recovered. The non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debate updated the rules so the debate could be held virtually. Trump rejected that option and thus a debate was replaced with two different town halls.

“I was disappointed that we missed a chance to directly compare President Trump and Mr. Biden because of their competing Town Halls, but what I did see of Mr. Biden’s performance was more of the same old, same old–he’s both for and against basically every issue, and even with a sympathetic moderator he couldn’t keep his stories straight,” Moore said. “I’m looking forward to the final debate because I expect our President to once again show why he’s our best choice for the next four years.”

Moore is running in the general election on Nov. 3 for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. He owns a small waste management company along with his wife, Heather. They have four children. Moore was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. He lost in the Republican primary in 2018.

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Moore faces Democratic nominee Phyllis Harvey Hall. Incumbent Martha Roby, R-Alabama, is not running for re-election.

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