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Opinion | Unchallenged awfulness has ruled Alabama politics for too long

Josh Moon

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Maybe, just maybe, Tommy Tuberville is our fault. 

The fault of the sane people. The fault of the non-crazies.  

Because we’re not harsh people. We don’t like to try and force our beliefs and thoughts on others. We prefer rational conversations and honest debate. And God bless us, we still, after all this time and Donald Trump, expect the best of people. 

And so, when a former mediocre college football coach who just last year was telling ESPN how much he loved living in Florida showed up and announced that he was running for U.S. Senate in Alabama, we all dismissed it as a sideshow not worth our time. 

We assumed — and you know how that usually goes — that even the Republicans in Alabama would tire quickly of Tuberville’s pandering routine. 

That his six finger-salute to Alabama fans a few years ago would spell his doom. 

Or the fact that his entire campaign platform consists of him saying the word “Trump” as often as possible would eventually wear thin 

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Or that his complete and utter ignorance of anything even remotely having to do with the senate, the U.S. government or Alabama would make quick work of his campaign. 

But, yet again, that’s on us. Because we just never imagined that a senate candidate traveling around the state and saying dumb and racist things, without ever speaking a word of specifics about policy, programs or initiatives, would attract a significant number of voters. 

Wrong again. 

Tuberville remains near the front of the GOP race to take on Doug Jones, who is in the unenviable position of being a sane, qualified, decent human being and also a politician in Alabama. Internal polling taken by the campaigns after the initial announcement by Jeff Sessions that he was coming out of the tree to reclaim his old seat has shown Tuberville fairly even with Sessions — to the surprise of pretty much everyone. 

Aiding Tuberville’s poll numbers is the backing he received from ALFA. 

(Is there a group of people less interested in voting for their own interests than Alabama farmers? Trump’s policies have KILLED farmers in this state, sending major purchasers of Alabama crops to other countries for better deals. Which will hurt ALFA members well into the future. But no matter. They’re still backing Trump and they’re backing Tuberville.)

And why wouldn’t ALFA members back Tuberville? After all, who has done more for the Alabama farmer than … well, actually, pretty much everyone else in the state has done more than Tuberville. 

No matter. There he was on Monday evening at the Farmers’ Federation annual meeting, with a prime speaking spot. And boy, did he ever deliver. 

Tuberville told the crowd, according to the Montgomery Advertiser’s Bryan Lyman, that “God sent Donald Trump” to us. He later proclaimed that Christianity is “dying” and that we need to do something to save it. 

This is the guy hundreds of thousands of Alabama voters want to send to Washington D.C. to represent this state. 

The guy who drove past the state Christmas tree, the City of Montgomery Christmas tree, thousands of Christmas lights decorating the downtown area of Montgomery, where a Christmas parade was held just last week, to tell a crowd full of people, who were undoubtedly missing a small group meeting, that Christianity is dying. 

That, kids, is a special level of stupid. 

And our apologies for not saying so sooner. 

In fact, let me just be clear: If you vote for Tommy Tuberville, you are an imbecile who should be hit repeatedly over the head with a history book in the hopes that some knowledge eventually seeps from the pages and into your brain. 

What is wrong with y’all? 

Are y’all actually saying that all it takes to win votes in Alabama is the willingness to travel the state saying awful things about people? 

Forget understanding how government works. Forget understanding the issues facing the people of the state. Forget understanding how a U.S. senator could address those issues. 

Just rail against LGBTQ people, disparage immigrants, play the oppressed majority role and work Trump’s name into every other sentence and you can start picking out the drapes in senate office. 

Pathetic. 

This is the reason Alabama is last in everything good and first in everything bad. The majority of voters in this state vote FOR the awfulness. In many cases, and Tuberville is certainly one of them, the awfulness is the only qualifying attribute for them. 

And the rest of us sit quietly by, hoping despite all the historical evidence, that this time it will be different. That people will come to their senses. That surely the folks who claim to know Jesus couldn’t possibly vote for candidates who quite clearly don’t. 

It’s pretty clear where keeping quiet has left us.

 

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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ACLU joins lawsuit over Alabama voting amid COVID-19 pandemic

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of several voters who are at greater risk from complications or death due to COVID-19. 

Eddie Burkhalter

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The American Civil Liberties Union and its Alabama chapter have joined in a lawsuit attempting to make it easier for some voters to cast their ballot during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Alabama joined in the lawsuit filed in May by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center and Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program against Gov. Kay Ivey and Secretary of State John Merrill. 

The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision last week blocked U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon’s order that would have allowed curbside voting statewide and waived certain absentee ballot requirements for voters in at least Jefferson, Mobile and Lee Counties.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of several voters who are at greater risk from complications or death due to COVID-19. 

The lawsuit was also brought on behalf of People First of Alabama, Greater Birmingham Ministries, the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP and Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute.

With the Supreme Court’s decision, voters in the upcoming July 14 Republican runoff election will have to submit a copy of their photo ID and have either two adult witnesses sign their absentee ballot requests or have it notarized. 

“Alabama is in the middle of a deadly and ongoing pandemic but is refusing to take common-sense steps to protect the public’s health and their right to vote for all elections in 2020. That’s why we are taking legal action,” said Alora Thomas-Lundborg, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project in a statement. 

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“In the midst of an out-of-control pandemic, Alabama officials should be doing everything they can to ensure that all voters have a safe, fair, and equal opportunity to cast a ballot. Instead, officials have chosen politics over public health and safety. They are fighting to make it harder to cast a ballot and have that ballot counted. This litigation is crucial to ensure safe, fair, and equal opportunity to vote,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, in a statement.

“As we head into preparations for the November general election with COVID-19 cases rising in Alabama, it is critical that our election officials take seriously the protection of voters, poll workers, and our democracy,” said Caren Short, senior staff attorney for SPLC in a statement. “In this critical election season, we are grateful to have Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Alabama join this effort to ensure that every voter is heard. No voter should have to choose between exercising their fundamental right to vote and their health or the health of a loved one.”

Deuel Ross, NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund senior counsel, said in a statement that over the July 4th weekend, Alabama reported nearly 5,000 new coronavirus cases.

“Yet, state leaders insist on enforcing draconian restrictions on in-person and absentee voting that no other state finds necessary to combat the almost nonexistent issue of voter fraud,” Ross said. “These restrictions are needless in normal circumstances. They are deadly in a pandemic. At trial in September, we will work to make sure that state leaders comply with their constitutional duty to protect the rights and safety of all voters.”

In a Tweet on July 2, Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill expressed gratitude for the Supreme Court’s decision. 

“With the news that we have received a Stay in this process, I am excited that the United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of those who believe in strict interpretation of the Constitution and has decided to grant the Stay and not endorse legislating from the bench,” Merrill said in the tweet.

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GOP candidate Tommy Tuberville leads Trump “boat parade” in Orange Beach

Brandon Moseley

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Tommy Tuberville participates in a Trump "boat parade." (Contributed)

Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville rode in the lead boat in a “boat parade” on Sunday in Orange Beach, celebrating Independence Day and the launch of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.

Hundreds of boats participated in the Trump parade in the Perdido Pass area. WKRG TV estimates that more than 8,000 people joined. Orange Beach and Gulf Shores boats joined boats from Pensacola and Dauphin Island.

Trump supporter and Alabama Republican Executive Committee member Perry Hooper Jr. was also present.

“It was Awesome having Coach Tommy Tuberville on The TRUMP Boat at Orange Beach Alabama,” Hooper said. “Tommy was a Great Coach and he will be a Great US Senator. It’s Great To Be A TRUMP/ TUBERVILLE AMERICAN. Everybody was so Happy cheering for The President and Tommy on! Fun Day!”

Hooper is a former state representative from Montgomery.

Tuberville is a former Auburn University head football coach. The Arkansas native lives in Auburn.

President Donald Trump spoke at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday.

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“Today we pay tribute to the exceptional lives and extraordinary legacies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt,” Trump said. “I am here as your president to proclaim before the country and before the world, this monument will never be desecrated, these heroes will never be defamed, their legacy will never ever be destroyed, their achievements will never be forgotten, and Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom.”

Trump accused opponents of trying to dismantle America.

“Make no mistake. This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution,” Trump alleged. “In so doing they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence, and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress. To make this possible, they are determined to tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage.”

“President Trump has given several good Speeches,” Hooper said. “This Speech was by far his best! It was straight up AWESOME! His speech was all about the Greatness of America! President Trump loves our Country and its great History. President Reagan has given some of the best speeches ever. This speech topped Reagan’s best. As for Perry O. Hooper Jr., I would get in a foxhole and fight for him to the end. God Bless President Donald J. Trump and GOD BLESS THE USA!”

Trump faces a stiff challenge from former Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading in the polling.

Tuberville has been endorsed by Trump in the July 14 Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate. Tuberville faces former Sen. Jeff Sessions.

 

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State Sen. Jim McClendon accuses Tuberville of hiding from a debate

Brandon Moseley

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Tommy Tuberville speaks at a campaign event. (via Tuberville campaign)

State Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, on Monday accused coach Tommy Tuberville of avoiding his GOP Senate primary opponent, former Sen. Jeff Sessions.

“Coach TUBBERVILLE is hiding from a face to face debate,” McClendon said on social media.

McClendon compared Tuberville’s strategy to that of Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Joe BIDEN is hiding from the public in his basement,” McClendon said. “Same game plan for both of these guys. WHY? They are AFRAID (and UNABLE?) to answer pertinent questions. I will not vote for either of them. We MUST have leaders that understand the issues.”

Biden is the presumed Democratic presidential nominee. He will face President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 general election.

McClendon told APR that Tuberville, “Does not know the issue. He doesn’t have a clue. He just wants to be a U.S. Senator.”

Sessions has challenged Tuberville to debates.

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“Anyone who represents our state needs to demonstrate that they know Alabama and each of its 67 unique counties,” Sessions said in May. “You can’t represent Alabama’s interests unless you prove that you understand Alabama and the challenges we face. Given your TV ads boasting about how strong you are (while standing in a gym where other people are exercising), I’m sure you can find it within yourself to demonstrate that strength in a series of debates so that the people of Alabama can see for themselves.”

“Being a United States Senator is more than just casting the occasional vote,” Sessions stated. “Effective senators must be ready to debate Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and others on many issues and away from the safety of talking points scripted by Facebook’s chief open-borders lobbyist, who you’ve hired to help lead your Senate campaign.”

“And anyone representing Alabama needs to be fully vetted before they are trusted to represent Alabama Republicans in a race against Doug Jones,” Sessions continued. “I’ve been fully vetted, over and over again. The national Democratic Party tried to find “dirt” on me when I helped President Trump win the 2016 election, and again when he nominated me for Attorney General. They came up empty, because there’s nothing there.”

Tuberville is a former Auburn University head football coach. He was also the coach at the University of Mississippi, Texas Tech University and Cincinnati University, and the defensive coordinator at the University of Miami and at Texas A&M University.

Polls have shown Tuberville with a lead over Sessions.

Sessions and Tuberville are running against each other in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. The winner of the Republican nomination will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in the Nov. 3 general election. Sessions was Senator from 1997 to 2017, when he was confirmed as U.S. attorney general.

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Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson endorses Jeff Coleman for Congress

Brandon Moseley

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Jeff Coleman speaks at an event. (via Jeff Coleman campaign)

Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson endorsed 2nd Congressional District Republican candidate Jeff Coleman Thursday.

“Jeff Coleman is a leader. We need a strong leader in Washington to fight back against these DC bureaucrats who represent themselves instead of the people,” Johnson said. “I know that Jeff Coleman will be that leader, and he will be the mover and shaker to get things done!”

“Mayor Johnson’s confidence in my ability to bring strong jobs, stand up for our values, and fight for our district is very humbling,” Coleman said. “His leadership in Andalusia has been incredible and It shows in their growth!”

Johnson now joins mayors from Luverne, Dothan, Geneva, Florala and Tallassee in endorsing Coleman for Congress.

Coleman and his opponent, former State Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, are running in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. The two are scheduled to be in a debate Tuesday on WTVY Channel 4 in Dothan at 6 p.m.

Coleman is a native of Dothan. He is the fifth generation of his family to head the family business, Coleman Worldwide Moving, based in Dothan. He recently stepped down as president and CEO in order to run for Congress. Coleman is a former chairman of the Business Council of Alabama and one of the wealthiest people in Alabama.

Coleman has been endorsed by BCA and the Alabama Farmers Federation, as well as the Alabama Realtors Association, Alabama Home Builders Association, Alabama Retail Association, Alabama Trucking Association, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

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Coleman is a graduate from Northview High School where he was a member of the 1981 Football team that won the Alabama High School Football State Championship. He has a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Alabama and a Master’s in Business Administration from Troy University in Dothan. He is an Eagle Scout, a 2011 Graduate of Leadership Alabama and a 2015 Graduate of the Air War College National Security Forum. Jeff served two terms as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Alabama.

Coleman describes himself as a conservative outsider and businessman, like Donald Trump, who cares more about doing what’s right for the country than winning an election.

The eventual Republican nominee for the open 2nd Congressional District seat will face Democrat Phyllis Harvey-Hall in the November general election.

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