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Merrill says that he has visited all 67 counties

Brandon Moseley

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Saturday, Secretary of State John H. Merrill (R) poke to the Tennessee Valley Republican Club at their monthly meeting in Madison. Merrill is a candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones (D).

Merrill said that he is the only candidate in this race who is recognized as a proven conservative reformer. Merrill pointed to recognition he received from the Sunlight Foundation, which looks at the records of members of each state legislator in the country to identify the most effective members of each body, not the most conservative and certainly not the most liberal but the most effective.

Merrill said that as Secretary of State Alabama has set new records for voter registration and participation. We have registered 1,357082 new voters. 96 percent of all African Americans that are eligible to vote are registered and 91% of all Whites that are eligible are registered and over all 94 percent of all Alabama who are eligible are registered.

“We have removed 800,000 because they have moved away, passed away, or been put away,” Merrill said. “I have gone to Washington three times to tell them what we have accomplished.”

Merrill said that we need to build a border wall.

“We have kept illegals off of the voter roles,” Merrill said. “We have kept illegal from participating in the the election process and will do that in Washington.”

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Merrill said that he has been sued by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and by the ACLU and Alabama’s voter ID law is the only one in the country that is the same today as it was when it went to the governor.
Merrill said that one of the most important jobs of a Senator is to confirm judges for the federal bench and that he supports judges who will interpret the law and not legislate from the bench.

Former State Representative Mack Buttram was present and he endorsed Merrill for Senate.

Buttram said that he and Merrill were elected in 2010 to the legislature.

“One of the first people I met was John Merrill,” Buttram said. “Our officers were across the hall from each other. I saw him everyday that I was there. We were part of the first Republican majority in 130 years.”
Buttram said that he has impressed by Merrill’s hard work and effort.

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“The best thing about him is his wife, Cindy,” Buttram said.

“She has been my life partner for 34 years,” Merrill said.

Merrill said that when he became Secretary of State he evaluated how the office was being run.
“It became very clear that we had some outstanding government workers serving us and we had some that needed to be doing something else,” Merrill said.

Business filings were taking seven to nine months Merrill said. After making several changes including sending some people down the road business filings are now complete within one day.

“We have gone from 49 employees to 36 employees,” Merrill said. “We are not moving at the speed of government, but at the speed of business and we have saved you $2,819,000. I can do the same thing in Washington D.C.”

Merrill was asked if he supports term limits.
Merrill said that he has signed a term limits pledge and if term limits pass that he will honor them; but that under current rules seniority is, “Why Richard Shelby is the most powerful senator today. I am the same age as Shelby was when he went to the Senate. All of the other candidates are a decade older than me and there are a couple of candidates more than two decades older than I am.”

Merrill said that 55 of the 67 counties are rural. “We are going to establish a rural development officer who will help people solve their issue at a municipal or county level.”

Merrill promised that “if you have an appointment with me and you are going to meet with me,” and not a staffer when constituents visit Washington.

“I am the only person in this race who has been to all 67 counties and I have done that for seven years.” Merrill said.

Merrill said that Tommy Tuberville was one of those new voters that he has registered since he was Secretary of State, “He registered on March 29, 2019.”

“I don’t think we need a Federal Department of Education,” Merrill answered a vote. Education is “Best dealt with at the local school level.”

Merrill was asked about former Congressman Beto O’Roarke’s statement that he would take away the tax exempt status that did not support gay marriage.

“He does not fully understand what the second amendment means” and he think she “can interpret what Churches do. He needs to go back to Texas and get a real job and he would understand better.”

“I am for the Fair Tax,” Merrill said.

“We need your help to make it happen,” Merrill said. “Madison county has been a friend in all my campaigns.”

Tennessee Valley Republican Club Chairman Chris Horn said that Merrill has always been a friend to this club, even when he wasn’t running for anything.

The Tennessee Valley Republican Club meets at 8:oo a.m. on the Second Saturday of each month.

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

Slow absentee voting in Tuscaloosa sparks outrage, possible legal action

Among the issues were incredibly long lines that left some voters waiting more than five hours and an inefficient process that managed to take in fewer than 100 absentee ballots in six hours. 

Josh Moon

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Long lines and slow absentee ballot processing in Tuscaloosa County have left voters outraged and incumbent Sen. Doug Jones’s campaign threatening legal action. 

On Wednesday, Jones’s campaign attorney, Adam Plant, sent a letter to Tuscaloosa County Circuit Clerk Magaria Bobo, outlining a number of issues with ongoing absentee voting and promising to take legal action if Bobo doesn’t improve the process on the final day, Friday. Among the issues documented by Plant were incredibly long lines that left some voters waiting more than five hours and an inefficient process that managed to take in fewer than 100 absentee ballots in six hours. 

Additionally, Plant noted that Bobo has hired her family members to help process absentee ballots and at least one family member had made disparaging remarks on social media about voters. 

“You and those acting on your behalf are suppressing the vote of qualified Alabama voters,” Plant wrote in the letter. “If you are unable or unwilling to execute your duties competently, and allow Tuscaloosa voters to exercise their voting rights without undue burdens, we will take further action.”

In an interview with the Montgomery Advertiser on Wednesday, Bobo noted that her office had received more than 13,000 requests for absentee ballots — a remarkable uptick from the 3,000 or so her office usually receives — and there had been problems in managing that number of ballots while also adhering to social distancing guidelines within the office. 

However, as Plant’s letter notes, the massive increase in absentee ballots for this election shouldn’t have been a surprise. Also, Secretary of State John Merrill had made additional funds available to absentee managers to facilitate hiring extra staff, purchasing additional computers and staying open for longer hours to accommodate the anticipated increase. 

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In a press release on Wednesday, the Alabama Democratic Party criticized Bobo and her family members, and the release included screenshots of Facebook posts from Bobo’s daughter lashing out at voters who complained about the long wait times. 

“No voter should have to wait in line for hours to exercise their rights,” said ADP executive director Wade Perry. “We should leverage every tool we have to make voting easier, not harder. Also, it should go without saying that election workers should not insult the very people they are employed to serve. If Ms. Bobo is incapable of processing voters quickly, someone else needs to do the job.”

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Elections

Jones campaign calls Tuberville a “coward” after no-show at Auburn forum

“Tuberville is hiding because he knows that on every front — policy, experience, character, competence — he loses to Doug Jones. Hands down,” Jones’s campaign said.

Brandon Moseley

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

There are only four days left before election day, and incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones’s re-election campaign is slamming Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville, accusing him of “hiding” and calling him a “coward.”

On Wednesday, Jones addressed an Auburn University forum. Tuberville did not attend.

“Tonight, the College Democrats and College Republicans at Auburn University co-hosted a debate between Doug Jones and Tommy Tuberville, offering students a chance to ask the candidates about the issues that matter most to Alabama,” the Jones campaign said in an email to supporters. “But Tuberville never showed up – he’s too scared to face Doug… even on his own home turf. Tuberville has repeatedly refused to debate Doug Jones. He’s consistently refused to be interviewed by the press. He’s refused to tell Alabama the truth about who and what they’re voting for – and it’s clear why.”

“Tuberville is hiding because he knows that on every front — policy, experience, character, competence — he loses to Doug Jones. Hands down,” the campaign continued. “If he won’t tell the truth, we will. Tuberville expects to win this race off of his blind allegiance to the President and his party affiliation. But Alabamians know better.”

“People deserve to know who they’re really voting for if they vote for Tuberville: someone who … won’t protect our health care, doesn’t believe in science, has no idea what the Voting Rights Act is, and doesn’t care about the lives and livelihoods of Alabamians,” the Jones campaign concluded. “Alabama will never elect a coward. Pitch in now and help us spread the truth about the man hiding behind the ballot.”

“I am disappointed that Tommy Tuberville is not here,” Jones said. “I think it is important that people see two candidates side by side answering the same questions.”

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Tuberville meanwhile is canvassing the state, speaking to rallies and Republican groups to turn out the Republican vote for himself and President Donald Trump. Tuberville spoke at Freedom Fest in Madison County on Thursday and at the Trump Truck Parade rally in Phenix City.

“It’s time Alabama had a U.S. senator who represents our conservative beliefs and traditional values,” Tuberville said in Phenix City. “It’s time Alabama had a U.S. senator who supports the Second Amendment, the right to life, and putting God back in the classroom.”

Polling consistently shows Tuberville with a commanding lead over Jones. Real Clear Politics lists the race on their current board as a likely Republican win. FiveThirtyEight’s election model gives Tuberville a 79 percent chance of defeating Jones.

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Elections

Tuberville says election is about “the American dream”

“It is not about me. It is not about Biden or Jones. It is about the American dream. They are trying to take it away from us,” Tuberville claimed.

Brandon Moseley

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Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville (TUBERVILLE CAMPAIGN)

Thursday, Tommy Tuberville spoke at Freedom Fest asking Madison County voters to support him and re-elect Donald J. Trump Tuesday.

The former Auburn University head football Coach told the estimated crowd of 350 that, “It is great to be here. This has been a lot of fun for me. Two years ago, my wife and I started to pray on whether or not to run. When we decided to run, she said don’t come back until you win.”

“This is a very serious election,” Tuberville said. “This is not about Donald Trump. It is not about me. It is not about Biden or Jones. It is about the American dream. They are trying to take it away from us.”

“I always told my players this: this country gives you the opportunity to fail and if you fail you get back up and try again,” Tuberville said. “When I was growing up in Arkansas I wanted to be a college football coach. People in high school laughed at me for it and people in college. It takes perseverance.”

Tuberville said that this country gives you the opportunity to succeed, more so than any other country in the world. Most of the rest of the world is socialist.

Tuberville warned that the other side is trying to turn America into a socialist country.

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“We are not going to let them ruin this country,” Tuberville vowed.

The 2020 Madison County GOP Freedom Fest was held at the brand new Toyota Field, the new home of the Huntsville Trash Pandas minor league baseball team.

Tuberville praised President Trump whom “I have gotten to know through all of this and we have become friends. He never slows down; and he is sharp as a tack.”

Tuberville said that the President once called him at 2:30 in the morning, “He said sleep is overrated.”

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To protect the American dream we need to vote on Tuesday to keep the Senate and get Donald Trump re-elected.”

Tuberville said that he has spoken with, “A lot of people who as nervous as I am about Tuesday.” Coach Tuberville, who is being outspent, urged the crowd to ignore all of the television ads by his opponent, incumbent Senator Doug Jones (D).

Tuberville vowed to defend the Second Amendment if elected, “They ain’t getting my guns….or your guns.”

“We need to get God back in our schools and teach values again,” Tuberville stated. “The other side does not talk about values and morals.”

We are not going to allow them to tear down our country,” Tuberville said. “God will not allow them.”

“We are going to get God back in our country like it is supposed to be,” Tuberville said.

Coach Tuberville was introduced to the crowd by State Senator Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville).

Scofield said that he “is ready to send Doug Jones back to California.”

“Yes I know he is actually from here; but he sure votes like California. He certainly doesn’t vote like the vast majority of the people of Alabama want him to vote.”

Scofield called Tuberville is “A fighter” who will stand up for the values of the people of Alabama.

Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) said, “This is the most important election of my lifetime.”

“Do we believe in freedom and liberty or do we believe in socialism?” Brooks said. “We need to beat them like a drum.”

The general election is on Tuesday. You must bring a valid photo ID with you to your assigned polling place in order to participate.

Secretary of State John H. Merrill predicted that the state would have record participation on Tuesday.

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Congress

Aderholt receives prestigious Guardian of Small Business Award

The NFIB is the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization and the Guardian of Small Business Award is its most prestigious legislative recognition.

Brandon Moseley

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Congressman Robert Aderholt accepts an NFIB award. (CONTRIBUTED)

Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, has been awarded the prestigious Guardian of Small Business Award by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. While accepting the award, Aderholt said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy.”

The NFIB is the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization and the Guardian of Small Business Award is its most prestigious legislative recognition.

NFIB State Director Rosemary Elebash presented the award to Aderholt at a ceremony at NorthRidge Fitness, an NFIB member business in Northport owned by Mary Cartee.

“NFIB presents its Guardian of Small Business Award to lawmakers who small businesses can depend on,” Elebash said. “Congressman Aderholt has supported Alabama’s job creators on the issues that our members are concerned about and have proven themselves to be real champions for small business.”

NFIB Vice President of Federal Government Relations Kevin Kuhlman said, “Our policy positions are driven by our members, and we report NFIB Key Votes back to our membership. We are proud to recognize the elected officials from the 116th Congress who earned this distinction by taking pro-small business votes supporting financial assistance programs and tax relief and opposing increased labor costs.”

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy,” Aderholt said. “It’s where new innovations and ideas are developed and nurtured. In fact, almost every large business in America started out as a small business. It’s both my pleasure and my duty to work in Congress to protect small businesses. We depend on these entrepreneurs and that’s why I will always fight for them.”

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The National Federation of Independent Business’s Guardian of Small Business Award is reserved for only those lawmakers who vote consistently with small business on the key issues identified by small business owners. Those who voted with small business on key issues 70 percent or more of the time during the 116th Congress earned the NFIB Guardian of Small Business Award.

Alabama Congress members Bradley Byrne, Martha Roby, Mike Rogers, Gary Palmer, Mo Brooks and Sen. Richard Shelby were also NFIB Guardian of Small Business Award recipients from the 116th Congress.

NFIB informs lawmakers in advance what votes will be considered NFIB Key Votes and asks lawmakers to support the consensus views of its members. Congress members are also reminded that the results of how they vote will be reported back to the NFIB membership.

Aderholt is serving in his 12th term representing Alabama’s 4th Congressional District. He faces a challenge in Tuesday’s general election from Democratic candidate Rick Neighbors.

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The polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

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