Current First District Congressman Bradley Byrne is leaving his safe congressional seat to take a shot at the U.S. Senate this year.
The Mobile First Congressional District has had quite a legacy over the last century. Alabama’s First District has always been primarily made up of Mobile County. Historically, the rural southwest Alabama counties north of Mobile have been a part of the First. Washington, Clarke, Monroe and Escambia do not amount to much of the population. Baldwin and Mobile, which are now essentially one county, have been tied together for the past few decades, and they comprise most of the district.
In July of 1935, the legendary and colorful Frank Boykin became the congressman. He stayed in the First seat for 28 years. Ole Frank Boykin was a colorful, earthy fellow. He had little formal education but had made a lot of money in the lumber and turpentine business prior to going to Congress in 1936, and was reelected twelve times.
Boykin owned a hunting lodge in rural Washington County. He had a legendary hunting weekend retreat. Invitations to the retreat were coveted among members of Congress. The Speaker of the House would come every year, along with most of the leadership.
One of the best pictures I have ever seen was taken with Frank Boykin, who was about 5 feet 2 inches beside Governor “Big” Jim Folsom who was about 6 feet 9 inches. It was at the Boykin lodge. Both were obviously inebriated, especially “Big” Jim.” Boykin was famous for his favorite phrase, “Everything is made for love.”
John Tyson, Sr. served briefly after Frank Boykin lost out in a special state wide last man out election. Tyson’s successor was one of Alabama’s great congressmen, Jack Edwards. Mr. Edwards was more dignified than Mr. Boykin. However, they both served the First District well.
Jack Edwards was born in Birmingham. He was student body president at the University of Alabama and got his law degree from Alabama. He began his law practice in Mobile. Shortly thereafter, at age 36, he was elected to Congress in 1964. During his 28-year tenure in the House, with the addition of Baldwin County, the First District became one of the most Republican districts in the South. Edwards was reelected nine times. He chose to leave after 20 years.
Sonny Callahan succeeded Jack Edwards and stayed in the First District seat 18 years. Like Edwards he was helped in his first election by the top of the presidential ticket. Popular President,Ronald Reagan, carried Alabama overwhelmingly and had strong coattails. Callahan was also buoyed by Edwards’ endorsement and the addition of Baldwin County to the First.
Callahan was born in Mobile to a large Irish-Catholic family. He attended Mobile public schools. Although, like Boykin, he never graduated college and was successful in business. Along with being a popular state senator, he owned a trucking and warehouse business. He was serving in the state senate when he went to Congress in 1985.
Jack Edwards and Sonny Callahan were known for excellent constituent relations. Therefore, it was apropos for the man responsible for their constituent service to follow them into the First District seat.
Jo Bonner won the seat in 2002. He had been Callahan’s Chief of Staff. Callahan and Edwards endorsed Bonner in his initial primary. He was reelected, overwhelmingly, five times. After 10 years in Congress, he opted to leave Washington. Congressman Bonner is now Governor Kay Ivey’s Chief of Staff.
Jo Bonner was born to be the congressman from the First District. He was born into a family steeped in Wilcox County political and public service. His father was probate judge. He grew up as the “little brother,” actually and figuratively to fellow Wilcox Countians Judy Bronner, Kay Ivey, and Jeff Sessions.
Bonner was highly respected by his House colleagues. He was on a leadership track and was Chairman of the House Ethics Committee. Jo Bonner is a class act and the epitome of a true southern gentleman.
Bradley Bryne took up the mantle of the prestigious First District four years ago. He took to Congress like a duck to water and has done a good job.
See you next week.
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears on over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.
Sanders Wins Nevada
Saturday, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, appears to have followed his victory in the New Hampshire primary with a victory in the Nevada caucuses.
“First we won the popular vote in Iowa. Then we won the New Hampshire primary. And now we have won the Nevada caucus,” Sen. Sanders said. “Let me first thank the people of Nevada for their support. We put together a multi-racial, multi-generational coalition across the state that will win not only in Nevada, but all across this country. No other campaign has a grassroots movement like we do, which is a large reason why we’re gonna win this election.”
The Alabama primary is just one week away on Super Tuesday.
“We are going to win across the country because the American people are sick and tired of a corrupt administration that is undermining American democracy.” Sanders continued. “They are sick and tired of a government based on greed and lies. It is time for an administration which is based on the principles of economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice.”
Sanders received 47.1 percent of the vote. Former Vice President Joe Biden received 21 percent of the vote. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg received just 13.7 percent of the vote. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, continued to underperform with just 9.6 percent of the vote. Billionaire Tom Steyer of California received just 4.7 percent of the vote. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, failed to gain any momentum off of her strong third place finish in New Hampshire and received just 3.9 percent of the vote.
Sanders is clearly the frontrunner going into the South Carolina primary. The self -proclaimed socialist has won 34 delegates to this point. Buttigieg is in second with 23, and Biden and Warren are tied with eight. Klobuchar has seven delegates.
New York City Mayor billionaire Michael Bloomberg have foregone the early primaries. He participated in his first debate and according to most observers did not fare well. Moderate Democrats have expressed concern that the party may suffer in November if the socialist label is attached to its nominee. Republicans are taking enjoyment from the Democrats’ strife.
“Michael Bloomberg maybe a Billionaire but when questioned by his fellow Socialist Democrats, he looked like a Deer in headlights!” Trump national finance committee chair Perry Hooper Jr. said. “Mini Mike was clear the Debate looser. It is very apparent that the National Democrat party today are controlled by the Left and they are very comfortable with Socialist Democrat, Bernie Sanders. But I think the real Looser is the Democrat Party! The Winner is and will continue to be heavy weight Champion, President Donald J. Trump.”
It takes 1,994 delegates to win the nomination. The next contest is the South Carolina Primary
The Alabama Democratic primary is March 3.
Alabama Democratic Women to host first Women in Blue Day on March 10
On March 10, the Alabama Democratic Women (ADW) organization will host their first annual Women in Blue Day, a day where state chapters of the National Federation of Democratic Women meet at their state capitols to speak with their legislators about issues that are of particular relevance to women and families.
Attendees will gather at the Alabama State House at the Tunnels (11 S Union Street, Montgomery, AL 36130) and all attendees are encouraged to wear blue attire in a symbol of solidarity. Check-in/registration will begin at 9:45 AM.
The day will include a briefing with Democratic representatives, a Capitol tour, brunch, observance of the legislative meeting, and a State Party update at the Alabama Democratic Party headquarters from Alabama Democratic Party Chair, Rep. Chris England.
ADW is a nonprofit political organization dedicated to supporting the Democratic Party and Democratic Women in Alabama, according to their website. The mission of ADW is to “unite Democratic women across the state of Alabama to ensure that we have a seat at the table and that our voices are heard.”
Dr. Frank Wright of D. James Kennedy Ministries endorses Hasdorff for Congress
Monday, Dr. Frank Wright, Ph.D., President/CEO of D. James Kennedy Ministries, announced his full support for Terri Hasdorff (R) in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District.
“It’s been said that people with integrity have nothing to fear, because they have nothing to hide,” Dr. Wright said. “This perfectly describes my friend and colleague Terri Hasdorff. With her strong commitment to excellence and personal integrity, and her demonstrated career of effective service, Terri stands heads and shoulders above those who seek elected office largely as a means of gain.”
“I have known Terri almost 25 years, and I am honored to give her my personal endorsement,” Dr. Wright added. “In my judgment, the good people of Alabama will find no more capable, dedicated, and faithful individual to represent them in Washington, D.C. than my very good friend Terri Hasdorff.”
Wright has dedicated his life to years of Biblical service and spreading the ministry’s Cultural Mandate.
Hasdorff is a graduate of Samford University.
Following graduation, she started in the White House Office of Public Liaison for President George H.W. Bush (R). There she worked with faith leaders across the country. Following that service, she went on to work on Capitol Hill for six years where her most meaningful assignments focused on keeping the government and Washington, D.C. elites from discriminating against churches and faith-based organizations. She also worked on the Ten Commandments Defense Act, a bill to defend the right of states to display the Ten Commandments in courthouses and public places, and served as a senior advisor on the Charitable Choice language, which put the Faith-Based initiative into law and still protects faith based organizations from discrimination when accessing federal funding today. Hasdorff has worked on pro-life, and pro-family legislation in Washington. Terri later worked for President George W. Bush (R) as America’s faith-based representative to the world, helping facilitate grassroots partnerships to empower the poor across the globe.
“Throughout my life, I have helped people come together, work together, break bread together, and solve problems together in community,” Hasdorff said. “I will work to bring people together in Congress who share our beliefs on the sanctity of life and marriage, First and Second Amendment rights, the power of the free market, and the sovereignty and the security of America.”
Hasdorff faces a crowded Republican primary field on March 3.
“These times call for a representative in Congress with the experience, the savvy, and the will to stand and fight and win the battle for America,” Hasdorff added. “I will be that representative. And together, we will tame Washington and revive our land.”
Incumbent Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, is not seeking re-election. Roby was honored by the Alabama Republican Party for her ten years of service to the state and nation at the Alabama Republican Party Winter Dinner on Friday night.
Doug Jones raises $2.4 million in first fundraising period of 2020
U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, raised $2.4 million in the first fundraising period of 2020, according to his reelection campaign, which was $500,000 more than he raised during the fourth quarter of 2019.
Jones has $7.4 million cash at hand, according to his campaign, which released the totals on Thursday. Jones’s latest campaign finance reports weren’t yet posted to the Federal Election Commission website on Thursday.
“Alabamians across the state are showing their commitment to Doug’s message of One Alabama and his proven track record of standing up for all Alabamians,” said Doug Turner, Senior Advisor for Jones’s campaign, in a statement Thursday. “Doug’s work to support working families, fund our HBCUs, modernize our military and expand and protect our health care is resonating with folks throughout Alabama. We are well-positioned to continue to grow our grassroots support and win in November.”
Jones ended 2019 leading all of his Republican contenders in fundraising, ending the year with $5 million in cash.
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