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Merrill reflects on trip to Israel

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Following the conclusion of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Project Interchange trip to Israel, Secretary Merrill reflects on his time spent studying the best Israeli cybersecurity practices:

Secretary of State John H. Merrill had the unique opportunity to meet with Ambassador Yuval Rotem, the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who works to administer Israel’s foreign policy and establish stronger relations with other countries.

“Strengthening social and governmental relationships with Israel at the state level allows Alabama to have a strong economic and political partner in Israel, and further enabled me to understand how they secure their electoral process, which was my primary goal in visiting,” stated Merrill.

The latter half of the week included meetings with local Israeli government leaders including Haim Bibas, Chairman of Israel’s Federation of Local Authorities, and various representatives from Knessett (Israeli Parliament).

“Meeting with local leaders last week reinforced my belief that in order to ensure the entire state is prepared for the 2020 election cycle, we must continue our efforts with all of Alabama’s 67 counties,” explained Merrill. “Discussing security measures as they relate to elections with numerous experts on the matter, including Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, the Head of Central Election Commission, has allowed me to consider an entirely new set of perspectives and opinions.”

Through visits to Ramallah, the administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority, the Municipal Innovation Center, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Old City of Jerusalem, and other historic landmarks, Secretary Merrill has fostered a deeper understanding of Israel’s rich history and how the country has overcome challenges.

One of the highlights of his trip was a helicopter survey of defensive positions and areas of strategic concern. This survey took Secretary Merrill to four different areas of evaluation including the Holy Land, the West Bank region, up the northern border of Lebanon, and other areas under constant threat of siege. “Seeing Israel from the Ariel view allowed me to fully understand how the country has been successful in fending off any group looking to cause harm,” said Merrill.

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“I am incredibly grateful to the representatives at NASS and AJC for making this experience possible. In collaborating with Israeli government, academia, and the private sector, I have identified new ways in which we can strengthen our state’s security.”

 

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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Elections

National Association for Gun Rights endorses Tuberville

Brandon Moseley

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Republican candidate Tommy Tuberville has been endorsed by the National Association for Gun Rights, while his opponent, Jeff Sessions, has been endorsed by the NRA.

The National Association for Gun Rights Political Action Committee last week announced its endorsement of former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville in the Republican primary runoff election for U.S. Senate.

NAGR-PAC is an affiliated PAC of the National Association of Gun Rights, which is the nation’s second largest pro-gun organization, which counts 4.5 million members and supporters nationwide.

“Tommy Tuberville scored a perfect 100% on the NAGR survey and has pledged to support the Second Amendment and fight back against illegal gun grabs as a member of the U.S. Senate,” said NAGR-PAC Chairman Dudley Brown. “Tuberville’s position stands is in stark contrast to Jeff Sessions, who has supported gun control his entire career.”

“The fact that Tommy Tuberville is not a career politician is quite refreshing, and we look forward to working with him in the U.S. Senate,” Brown said. “Coach Tuberville is a gun owner who enjoys hunting and understands the importance of our Second Amendment rights.”

Tuberville has made gun rights a cornerstone of his standard campaign speech. Tuberville offered his appreciation for the endorsement and pledged to be the Second Amendment’s staunchest defender on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

“Too many members of the U.S. Congress believe that the Second Amendment is merely a suggestion and not a hard-earned constitutional right,” Tuberville said. “Whether it is for hunting, sport shooting, home defense, or simply because they want one, every law-abiding U.S. citizen has the right to own a gun, and I will go toe-to-toe with any lawmaker who tries to take away that freedom.”

The largest gun rights group in the country, the National Rifle Association, has endorsed Tuberville’s opponent, former Sen. Jeff Sessions, in the primary runoff.

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The NAGR-PAC nod follows the endorsement of President Donald Trump, who has publicly thrown his full support behind Tuberville’s campaign and hosted the retired NCAA football coach aboard Air Force One during a recent trip to Texas.

“Every day we see stark reminders that Americans can’t take their safety for granted,” Tuberville said. “The 2nd Amendment enshrines the right to defend yourself and your loved ones from harm. I’m thrilled to have the endorsement of the National Association for Gun Rights, and will always be a staunch defender of our right to bear arms!”

Tuberville lives in Auburn. He is a native of Arkansas and has been a head football coach for Auburn University, the University of Mississippi, Texas Tech University and the University of Cincinnati. Tuberville was also defensive coordinator at the University of Miami and Texas A&M.

The winner of the Republican nomination will face Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, in the Nov. 3 general election.

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Barry Moore emphasizes support for Trump in debate

Brandon Moseley

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Jeff Coleman, left, and Barry Moore, right, participate in a debate. (WTVY)

Congressional candidates Barry Moore and Jeff Coleman both participated in a debate in Dothan on Tuesday, ahead of their runoff in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. Moore emphasized his long-standing support for President Donald Trump as well as his farm and military roots and experience serving in the Alabama Legislature.

“I want to thank WTVY for sponsoring this debate, and Reginald Jones for doing such a great job moderating the event,” Moore said in a statement to reporters afterwards. “I’d also like to thank those who watched it live, and who will watch it later online. The people deserved a chance to see both Republican candidates side by side, and WTVY made that possible despite the coronavirus pandemic.”

“Before the lockdown, we ran a strong grassroots campaign, but these last few weeks we’ve had to switch to more social media and online campaigning while trying to help everyone cope with the lockdown as best we could,” Moore said. “Now the people have seen the two of us standing side by side, and they’ve seen us answer questions about the issues and our records. For those who missed seeing it live, we’ve posted it to our campaign Facebook page. I encourage everyone to watch that video and see just who you’ll be voting for next Tuesday.”

“I think that when people see Barry Moore side by side with Jeff Coleman, they’ll realize that Barry Moore is the best conservative choice for District 2,” Moore said. “I’ve supported our President since I was the first elected official in the country to endorse him. I’ve supported our farmers because I grew up on a row crop farm and I know the challenges they face. I’ve supported our military and our Veterans because I’ve served. I term-limited myself in the Legislature, and I support term limits for Congress. I’ve always been pro-life, pro-family, pro-1st, and pro-2nd Amendments. I’ll continue to do all these things when I’m representing the people of this district in Congress.”

There had been some issues between the two campaigns on a debate date that both could agree on.

“I am glad that Mr. Coleman decided to show up to this debate and I want to thank him as well,” Moore concluded.

Moore represented Enterprise in the Alabama legislature from 2010 to 2008. He was part of the first class of Republican legislators to win control of the state Legislature, ending 135 years of Democratic Party dominance. Moore and his wife Heather own a small waste disposal business. Moore is also a veteran, has a degree in agriculture, and is a father.

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Moore and Coleman are running in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. The winner will face Democrat Phyllis Harvey-Hall in the November 3 general election. Incumbent Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Alabama, is retiring after five terms.

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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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