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Opinion | Jeff Sessions grovels his way into Senate race

Josh Moon

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The weakest man in America is running for U.S. Senate in Alabama. 

Jeff Sessions, surprising no one, formally announced his intentions to run for his old Senate seat during an interview on Fox News Tuesday night. 

The interview was a pathetic, groveling surrender by the former attorney general, as he praised Donald Trump and repeatedly brushed aside Trump’s harsh and embarrassing criticisms of him. Sessions’ interview was preceded by his first ad, which was, somehow, even more pathetic than the interview. 

In the ad, Sessions, seated by himself, attempts to win over the Trump sycophants by stressing that he didn’t “write a tell-all book” or say “a cross word about our president” after he was pushed out by Trump. He then went on to praise Trump and the job he’s doing “for Alabama.” 

It was, to borrow a popular word from Trump, sad. 

Who could vote for this guy? 

Here’s Sessions, on the backside of a long life in public office and a few months removed from being U.S. Attorney General. He served 20 years in the U.S. Senate. 

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And he’s groveling on national TV like he’s a first-year staffer who was caught stealing pens out of the Oval Office. 

This is your Senate frontrunner, Alabama. 

Is that what we’ve become in this state? So weak and cowardly ourselves that we would elect a man who won’t stand up for himself even when he knows he was right? 

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Look, Jeff Sessions is an awful, ignorant, hateful public servant who has spent his decades in office ensuring that any and every minority group suffered just a little more and a little longer if he had any say-so whatsoever. But in this one specific instance — his decision to recuse from the Russia investigation — he happened to be right. 

And everyone in America knows he was right. The only reason Trump is mad at Sessions is because Sessions refused to take a bullet for Trump and illegally block the investigation. 

These are facts. 

But Sessions is so weak he won’t just say that. He won’t stand up for himself, or for the rule of law that he proclaims to cherish so deeply. 

Instead, he crawls back on his hands and knees to praise the con man and beg forgiveness. 

Because he thinks that will get him votes. 

Just like Bradley Byrne thinks that pretending he had an incomplete lobotomy will help him win GOP votes. And just like Tommy Tuberville thinks if he just keeps saying the word “folks” followed by the most offensive thing he can think of about any minority group it will help him win votes. 

All three of them so completely and utterly turned to mush by a former reality TV star who has never worked a day in his life and has never served anyone other than himself. 

But then, maybe this is the perfect GOP field for Alabama. 

It is certainly the best illustration of the choice that has doomed us for our entire existence: Reality vs. The Facade. 

On the one side, there is this group of groveling goobers selling people a line of total BS. Not one of them has a plan for actually helping working people in this state. Instead, they just travel around the state every day, calling into radio shows and jabbering in front of rotary clubs, telling anyone who will listen how much they love Trump and how they loved Trump before anyone else and how they will be the Trump, Trump, Trumpiest of them all. 

Which is quite the tactic considering that Trump has KILLED this state. His tariffs and idiotic bickering with foreign leaders have crushed Alabama manufacturers and farmers. 

Yet, not a peep from any of the GOP candidates about that.  

On the other side, there is Doug Jones, just working away, helping average Alabama workers live better lives. Passing bipartisan bills left and right that protect workers’ pensions and benefits, that provide job training programs for workers who might lose their jobs to automation, that protect public education, that provide funding for rural health care programs. 

Jones hasn’t run from a fight. He hasn’t placated anyone. He hasn’t backed away from criticizing both Democrats and Republicans at times. 

That’s because he’s his own man. Which is something I thought we valued in this state.  

The general consensus, though, is that Jones — the only man with a spine in this race — is toast against the Republican field. Which makes perfect sense. 

Alabamians have been voting against their own interests for decades. Why stop now?

 

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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Congress

AFL-CIO endorses Adia Winfrey for Congress

Brandon Moseley

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Congressional candidate Adia Winfrey. (VIA WINFREY CAMPAIGN)

Democratic congressional candidate Adia Winfrey’s campaign announced Monday that she has received the endorsement of the Alabama AFL-CIO in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District.

At their annual convention last week, union leaders from across the state recognized Winfrey’s “passion, ability to lead and attentiveness to the issues affecting working men and women” as reasons to endorse the Democratic challenger against incumbent Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Alabama.

“Labor unions have long been a leading force in our nation’s economy,” Winfrey wrote. “Workplace safety standards, employee benefits, equal pay for women, non-discrimination policies and so much more can be attributed directly to union members who were willing to speak up for what is right. I look forward to being a voice for Alabama’s hard-working men and women in Congress.”

Winfrey is challenging Rogers, a nine-term incumbent, in the Nov. 3 general election. During his 18 years in Congress, Rogers has earned only a 16 percent lifetime rating by the AFL-CIO for his votes.

“For seven generations, my family has called Talladega, Alabama, home,” Winfrey said. “I am the mother of four amazing children, a doctor of psychology, author, founder of the H.Y.P.E. (Healing Young People thru Empowerment) Movement, and … I am running for Congress in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District! I believe in the future of our beautiful state and nation. It is time for leadership with a new vision which is #FocusedOnAlabama.”

Winfrey has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wilberforce University and a doctorate of clinical psychology degree from the Wright State University School of Professional Psychology.

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Courts

Plaintiffs ask for panel of judges to reconsider ruling on Alabama voter ID law

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Plaintiffs suing Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill alleging the state’s voter ID law discriminates against minorities on Monday asked a panel of judges to reconsider an appeals court decision that affirmed the law. 

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund on Monday filed a petition Monday asking that all of the judges on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reconsider the July 21 decision by a panel of three judges that fell 2-1 in favor of the state’s voter ID law. 

The 2011 law requires voters in Alabama to show a valid, government-issued photo ID to vote. The NAACP, Greater Birmingham Ministries and several minority voters sued, arguing that lawmakers knowingly crafted the law to prevent Black people and other minorities, who are less likely to have such photo IDs, from voting. 

The three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in its July 21 opinion found that the burden of Alabama’s voter ID law is minimal, and does not“violate the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the Constitution, nor does it violate the Voting Rights Act.”

Merrill has argued that the state’s voter ID law is meant to deter in-person voting fraud and that the state makes available mobile photo ID units able to provide voters with the necessary IDs.

District Judge Darrin Gayles in his dissenting opinion wrote that voter fraud in Alabama is rare, and that “while there have been some limited cases of absentee voter fraud, in-person voter fraud is virtually non-existent.”

Gayles wrote that Merrill presented evidence of just two instances of in-person voter fraud in Alabama’s history.

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“Despite the lack of in-person voter fraud, Secretary Merrill claims Alabama enacted the Photo ID Law to combat voter fraud and to restore confidence in elections — a dubious position in light of the facts,” Gayles wrote.

Gayles noted that former State Sen. Larry Dixon, R-Montgomery, before his retirement in 2010, sponsored similar voter ID bills.

“During this time, Senator Dixon made repeated comments linking photo identification legislation to race, including ‘the fact you don’t have to show an ID is very beneficial to the Black power structure and the rest of the Democrats’ and that voting without photo identification ‘benefits Black elected leaders, and that’s why they’re opposed to it,'” Gayles wrote in his dissenting opinion.

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“It is clear from the statements of the legislators who enacted Alabama’s photo ID law that they passed it for the unconstitutional purpose of discriminating against voters of color,” said LDF senior counsel Natasha Merle in a statement Monday. “As long as this law is intact, Black and Latinx Alabamians will continue to be disproportionately excluded from the state’s electoral process.”

Attorneys in the filing Monday told the court that “roughly 118,000 Alabamians lack qualifying photo ID, and Black and Latinx voters are twice as likely to lack qualifying ID as compared to white voters. Given this evidence, a trial was required to determine whether HB19 violates the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.”

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Congress

Voting rights activist calls for federal Department of Democracy

LaTosha Brown, a Selma native who co-founded Black Voters Matter, issued a statement saying that it is time to reimagine American democracy.

Micah Danney

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(VIA BLACK VOTERS MATTER)

The co-founder of an organization that is working to mobilize Black voters in Alabama and elsewhere used the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act on Thursday to call for a new federal agency to protect voting rights nationwide.

LaTosha Brown, a Selma native who co-founded Black Voters Matter, issued a statement saying that it is time to reimagine American democracy.

“The Voting Rights Act should be reinstated, but only as a temporary measure. I want and deserve better, as do more than 300 million of my fellow Americans,” Brown said.

The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the law in a 5-4 ruling in 2013, eliminating federal oversight that required jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to get approval before they changed voting rules.

“To ensure that the Voter’s Bill of Rights is enforced, we need a federal agency at the cabinet level, just like the Department of Defense,” Brown said. “A Department of Democracy would actively look at the patchwork of election systems across the 50 states and territories. With federal oversight, our nation can finally fix the lack of state accountability that currently prevails for failure to ensure our democratic right to vote.”

She cited excessively long lines, poll site closings and voter ID laws in the recent primaries in Wisconsin, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas as voter suppression techniques that disproportionately affect Black and other communities of color.

Brown said that the July 17 passing of Rep. John Lewis, who was nearly killed marching for voting rights in Selma in 1965, has amplified calls for the Voting Rights Act to be strengthened. That’s the right direction, she said, but it isn’t enough.

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“History happens in cycles, and we are in a particularly intense one. We have been fighting for the soul of democracy, kicking and screaming and marching and protesting its erosion for decades,” Brown said.

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Elections

Alabama Forestry Association endorses Jerry Carl

Brandon Moseley

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Congressional candidate Jerry Carl.

The Alabama Forestry Association on Thursday announced its endorsement of Republican 1st Congressional District candidate Jerry Carl.

“Jerry Carl has experience working closely with the forest products industry in his role as County Commissioner and will carry that knowledge to Washington,” said AFA Executive Vice President Chris Isaacson. “Throughout his career, he has been a strong advocate for limited government and free markets and will continue to promote those same values in Congress. We are proud to endorse him.”

Carl is a small businessman who has started more than 10 small businesses in South Alabama, creating hundreds of jobs. He is currently serving on the Mobile County Commission.

“I am thrilled to earn the endorsement of ForestPAC,” Carl said. “Alabama has a thriving network of hard-working men and women in all aspects of the forestry community, and I look forward to being a strong, pro-business voice for them in Congress. As a lifelong businessman and an owner of timberland, I understand firsthand the needs and concerns of the forestry community, and I will be a tireless advocate in Washington for Alabama’s forest industry.”

Carl said that he was inspired to run for the Mobile County Commission when he became frustrated with the local government.

He and his wife, Tina, have been married for 39 years. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Carl faces Democratic nominee James Averhart in the Nov. 3 general election. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, who currently represents the 1st Congressional District, did not run for another term and has endorsed Carl.

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