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Buttigieg, Sanders are too close to call in Iowa

Brandon Moseley

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Iowa Democrats went to the polls and the Iowa Democratic Party’s new ap crashed so nobody knew who had won Iowa that night or the next day. On Tuesday night, the Iowa Democratic Party released partial results.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is claiming victory. The partial results show Buttigieg with a narrow lead over Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren is in third, Joe Biden is in fourth just ahead of Amy Klobuchar.

“What a night, because tonight an improbably hope became an undeniable reality,” Mayor Buttigieg said. “We don’t know all the results, but we do know that, Iowa, you have shocked the nation because by all indications we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.”

If elected, Buttigieg, would be the first openly homosexual president in history. His husband would be the first “First Gentleman” in history. At 38 he would also be the youngest president in American history.

“This is our best and maybe our last shot,” Buttigieg said. “I say tonight with a heart full of gratitude, Iowa you have proven those skeptics wrong. By your efforts we have brought together a coalition of progressives, moderates, and what we like to call future former Republicans and that is how we will win in November.

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke to supporters before leaving for New Hampshire.

“We are in a battle for the soul of a nation and it is demonstrated every hour that he (Trump) is President,” Biden said. “Our democracy is at stake.”

Former Secretary of State John Kerry campaigned for Biden in Iowa. So did former Senator Bill Nelson of Florida.

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“I imagine at some point the result will be announced and when those results are announced I have a good feeling that I will be doing well in Iowa,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, said. “Today marks the beginning of the end for Donald Trump, the most dangerous President in modern American history.”

“Our administration is going to take on the greed and corruption of the insurance and pharmaceutical industry and whether they like or not we are going to pass a Medicare for all program,” Sanders said. “Eleven years ago we bailed out the crooks on Wall Street and now it is their turn to help the middle class.”

Sanders was tied up in Washington with the Senate impeachment trial of Pres. Donald J. Trump (R). Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-New York, and film maker Michael Moore campaigned on the ground for Sanders.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, said, “Tonight we are one step closer to replacing the most corrupt President in our nation’s history.”

“A person’s values matter, a President’s values matter, and all Donald Trump believes in is himself,” Warren said. “Tonight, shows that Americans want big structural change.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, thanked supporters and announced that she would get on a plane that night for New Hampshire to campaign for next week’s primary.

Former New York City Mayor billionaire Michael Bloomberg did not participate in the Iowa Caucus and is not even on the ballot in some of the early states. Bloomberg is focusing on later states, including California, where he has already hired a campaign staff of over 800, more than all other campaigns combined. The California primary is on Super Tuesday with Alabama; but California has early voting so the polls opened in California on Monday.

CBS news polled caucus participants as to what their most important issue is. 41 percent said that healthcare was the most important issue to them. 21 percent said that climate change was the most important issue to them. Only 17 percent said that income inequality was their number one concern. Only fourteen percent said that foreign policy was the most important issue.

Only 37 percent of caucus goers said that it was most important that the candidate agreed with them on the issues. 61 percent of Caucus participants said that the candidate who had the best chance of beating Donald Trump was most important to them.

The Iowa Caucuses are not very representative of the country. 58 percent of Democratic caucus participants were women and just 42 percent were men. 91 percent of Iowa Caucus participants were White and just nine percent were minorities. 52 percent are college graduates and 48 percent were non-college graduates.

NBC News is reporting that less than 200,000 people participated in the Caucuses. The low turnout was a disappointment for Democrats who had hoped for more participation.

The failure of the Iowa Democratic Party to even count the votes has led to calls from some to end the caucuses and/or end Iowa’s place as the first state to vote in the primary and caucus process.

Former State Representative Perry O Hooper Jr., R-Montgomery, is a member of Trump’s national finance committee.

Hooper told the Alabama Political Reporter that “young leftists have taken over the Democratic party.

Hooper suggested that Biden has been hurt by the Ukraine scandal, where he has been accused of nepotism and corruption for his son’s, Hunter Biden, landing a lucrative position on the board of Ukrainian gas company, Burisma.

Trump won 97 percent of the Republican Caucus vote which had high participation despite little suspense.

“Today that Party (the Democratic) is to the far left of where the American people are,” Hooper added. “I feel really confident that the President can carry Iowa in November.”

Alabama and most states have primaries where the voter just goes in and votes. With a caucus voters go to a town hall type building and campaigns try to talk them to caucus with them. Each caucus room is its own election battle. Somehow those results did not reach the Iowa Democratic Party with any accuracy.

At some point today, the Iowa Democratic Party will release results.

The Alabama presidential primaries will be on March 3.

Original reporting by CBS News, Fox News, the Washington Post, and the Hill contributed to this report.

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Sessions: FFRF’s demands that Ivey stop praying is ridiculous

Brandon Moseley

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Wednesday, former Senator and GOP Senate candidate Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, said that Alabamians will not be intimidated by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Sessions was responding to a letter that the FFRF sent to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) demanding that she stop praying at press conferences and citing scriptures.

“This is RIDICULOUS,” Sessions said. “Alabamians will NOT be intimidated by Freedom From Religion Foundation atheists spouting constitutional heresies in their war on religion. My friend Governor Kay Ivey is completely within her God-given and constitutional rights to pray for Alabama, and I stand with her!”

“The FRFF atheists want to force Governor Ivey and all public officials to hide their deeply-held convictions,” Sessions continued. “THEY are trying to impose their views AGAINST religion on US! Gov. Ivey calling for prayer for our great state & country is NOT her forcing Christianity on anyone.”

“The Constitution guarantees EVERY American, even public officials, the right to freely exercise their religion,” Sessions stated. “It’s time this country REJECT the FRFF’s extreme and unconstitutional view of religious liberty in America.”

On Monday, the Wisconsin based Foundation chastised Gov. Ivey for, “Your use of your office to promote Christianity. FFRF’s purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church and to educate the public on matters relating to non-theism.”

The FFRF objected to Gov. Ivey’s speech during Friday’s press conference announcing that she was issuing a stay-at-home order for the State of Alabama to fight COVID-19.

“Multiple concerned Alabama residents reported that you used this official government event to promote your personal religious beliefs,” the FFRF wrote. “In the middle of your speech you suddenly started preaching,”

“The good Lord reminds us in Isaiah 43:1-3, and I quote, “Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God,” Ivey said drawing the ire of the FFRF. “I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”

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They also objected to Ivey’s inviting Reverend Cromwell Handy from the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church to speak at this official state-sponsored event.”

“Reverend Handy delivered a 9-minute long sermon, during which he recited many different bible verses and referred to the pandemic as an opportunity given by God “to pause and reflect on His glory.”” The FFRF continued. “To end the press conference, you asked Reverend Handy “to lead a prayer to God Almighty asking for his blessings.. Reverend Handy then led all of the government officials present in a lengthy formal prayer “in Jesus’ name.””

The FFRF claimed that, “These actions amount to an endorsement of religion, specifically Christianity, in contravention of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”

“We urge you in the future to refrain from promoting religion in your official capacity as governor of Alabama,” the FFRF stated.e

Sessions faces former Auburn head football Coach Tommy Tuberville in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. The winner of the runoff will face U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) in the November general election.

Sessions served in the Senate from 1997 to 2017. He left the Senate after he was confirmed as President Donald J. Trump’s Attorney General and served in that role through November 2018. He was a late entry into the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

 

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Sessions attacks Tuberville’s views on China

Brandon Moseley

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Former Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, rolled out an ambitious, comprehensive plan to hold the Chinese government accountable for what Sessions called a cover-up of the coronavirus that has killed tens of thousands of people and devastated economies worldwide.

In an interview Thursday on the Matt & Aunie radio show on Talk 99.5 in Birmingham, for Auburn head football Coach and current GOP Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville expressed his views on China.

Matt Murphy asked: What do you see happening with China?

“Well, we can’t worry about China right now…” Tuberville responded.

“You say you don’t need to worry about China, but this came from China and our economy depends on China,” Murphy asked on follow up. “Specifically how to overcome some of that dependence on Chinese goods and specifically in the pharmaceutical industry because right now we’re dependent on the country that covered this up.”

“Now we’re seeing firsthand the results of letting everything go to China,” Tuberville said. “The good thing about this is we’ll have manufacturing come back and drugs and all those things….we’re headed in that direction, just the simple fact that we can’t control our own destiny. Everything’s controlled by China. But that’ll take care of itself.”

During the show, Tuberville also characterized the Wuhan Virus, which has killed over 53,000 people and infected more than 1 million people across the globe, which then including over 1,300 people in Alabama, as “just a virus.”

Jeff Sessions issued a statement critical of Tuberville on Friday in response.

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“Amazingly, Tommy Tuberville said yesterday, ‘We can’t worry about China right now,”” Sessions quoted. “China is where the virus is from, and their deliberate lies hid the danger and resulted in a pandemic that never should have happened. We must take on China now and win, not run scared like Tommy Tuberville.”

“There are over 1 million infected with the Wuhan Virus, and more than 1,300 in Alabama already,” Sessions continued. “This is serious. But Tommy Tuberville said yesterday that ‘this is just a virus.’ What planet is he on? Tuberville is clueless. No wonder he’s scared to debate me. We must stop relying on China for our critical medicines and equipment. I have a detailed plan to fix it. Amazingly, Tuberville also said yesterday, ‘Everything’s controlled by China, but that’ll take care of itself.’ Wrong! We must lead with action, this will not ‘take care of itself.’”

On Thursday, a U.S. intelligence report claimed that China understated the damage that the coronavirus was doing in their country.

“Alabama’s next Senator must be a leader who has the drive and determination to push a Congress that is too often unwilling to confront the critical issues of our time,” Sessions continued. “I have proven my willingness and preparedness to lead from Day One. Tuberville is weak: all talk and no action.”

Sessions is a former Senator, U.S. Attorney General, Alabama Attorney General, Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, U.S. Attorney, asst. U.S. Attorney, and U.S. Army Captain.

The Republican primary runoff has been moved to July by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) due to fears of the coronavirus. The virus is believed to have originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in late 2019.

As of press time, 10,943 Americans have died from COVID-19 including 53 Alabamians. 367,650 Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, including 2,006 Alabamians. At this point, only 240 Alabamians are confirmed hospitalized with COVID-19.

COVID-19 is the medical condition caused by a strain of coronavirus first identified late last year in Wuhan City, Hubei Province China, SARS-CoV-2. Since then it has spread across the globe infecting 1,346,566 persons that we are aware of killing 74,697 people.

The winner of the Republican primary runoff will then face Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) in the November election.

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Alabama Republicans upset with Jones’ “no” vote on coronavirus stimulus bill

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Republican leaders on Monday condemned U.S. Sen. Doug Jones’ procedural vote to prevent the coronavirus stimulus bill from coming to a vote.

On Sunday, Democrats blocked action on the comprehensive stimulus package — the third of the legislative response to the coronavirus outbreak. The bill is still being negotiated and the vote was not a vote on whether to pass a final version of the stimulus package.

“I voted against it yesterday because I wanted to make a point,” Jones said. “We had lost the negotiating and bipartisan progress for about 24 hours. And I felt very strongly that we need to get that progress back. So I voted no on a procedural motion to proceed, and guess what happened, they got down to negotiating, and in the last 24 hours, more progress has been made in the last 24 hours and than there was in the 24 hours before that.”

By Monday, Jones decided to vote yes another similar procedural vote, a vote to move forward with the legislative process but said that does not mean he will vote for the final product if changes aren’t made.

“We need to get the clock ticking,” Jones said. “We have got to get this thing moving. I felt it very important to tell my leader as well as leader McConnell that we need to get it together.”

But Republicans in the state are not happy with Jones’s procedural vote. Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said, “This is not the time for politics.”

“Senator Doug Jones needs to follow the example of Democrat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – who has put his political differences aside and is working across the aisle with President Trump during this crisis – instead of being Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s partisan puppet,” Lathan said in a statement. “His NO vote Sunday night has had serious ramifications on the people of Alabama and our country. The Democrats helped craft this emergency unprecedented legislation and then, like Charlie Brown and the football, yanked away desperately needed help for America.”

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The deal was originally negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker Pelosi. Democrats had agreed, but the deal had been held up last week by conservative Republicans balking at the price tag – all of this will be paid for with deficit spending and no plan to pay any of it back in the foreseeable future.

The Republican position in the Senate was weakened further when Republican Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, announced he was infected with the novel strain of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, though he is showing no symptoms of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

46,148 Americans have been confirmed as having the virus. The virus has killed 582 Americans, 140 of them on Monday alone.

“Doug Jones has let the majority of our state down in an uncertain time,” Lathan said. “We needed him – and he ignored us AGAIN. “

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, voted in favor of ending debate and bringing the stimulus bill to a vote.

“Thank you to President Trump and Senator Richard Shelby for putting America and Alabama first,” Lathan concluded. “We continue to lift our leaders up in prayer as their burdens and decisions weigh heavy.”

Republican Senate candidate Jeff Sessions said, “I’ve seen this play before too many times. Just as the Senate was ready to pass a bi-partisan bill providing support for American workers… Senator Chuck Schumer & House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blew it up at the last minute, trying to add unrelated spending to a bill with already too much spending. Amazingly, Pelosi wants to use this time of crisis to breath new life into the Green New Deal!”

Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville said, “America is at war with an enemy we can’t see, and we currently have no weapon that can kill it. To win this war against the Coronavirus, salvage the U.S. economy, and provide needed financial help to millions of Americans, Doug Jones and other Senate Democrats are going to have to put their partisanship and hatred of President Trump aside and support a bipartisan stimulus package. Now is the time to work together as Americans first and save the partisan political battles for when this crisis is resolved.”

The president, with bipartisan support from Congress and the governors, issued recommendations that led states to shut down their schools and most businesses beginning a week and a half ago.

The question for most business owners now is will they make payroll or just lay off their workers. Mnuchin’s deal included loans that small businesses would not have to pay back if they used it to make payroll and pay overhead. It also included cash payments for Americans. The average family of four would receive about $3,000 under the plan.

“We need to get the money into the economy now. If we do that, we think we can stabilize the economy,” Mnuchin said on Sunday. “I think the president has every expectation that this is going to look a lot better four or eight weeks from now.”

“This isn’t the financial crisis that’s going to go on for years,” Mnuchin added. “We’re going to do whatever we need to do to win this war.”

Former State Representative and Member of the National Trump/Victory Finance Committee Perry Hooper said that he is confident the Coronavirus Stimulus Legislation will pass.

“One of the most important parts of the Bill is addressing the needs of Small Business and the employees,” Hooper told the Alabama Political Reporter. “Small Business is the backbone of America. Any Republican or any Democrat would be insane voting against the Trump Stimulus Legislation.”

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Hightower campaign accuses Carl of trying to politicize a national crisis

Brandon Moseley

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Bill Hightower’s congressional campaign Monday responded to charges from Jerry Carl that they were running campaign ads during the COVID-19 crisis. The campaign said that they have already pulled their political advertising and accused Carl of trying to politicize a national crisis.

“Bill Hightower has not been airing ads for nearly a week now,” said Hightower campaign senior strategist Matt Beynon. “Once it became clear that the run-off would be postponed, we stopped airing ads. So Carl is shouting about something that isn’t happening and he should be ashamed of himself for trying to politicize a national crisis. Carl lied in his ads about Bill Hightower and he’s continuing to lie about Bill Hightower, this time by trying to use a national emergency to his political advantage. It’s shameful.”

Beynon was responding to a story by the Alabama Political Reporter in which Carl chastised Hightower for not pulling his campaign commercials.

“Shamefully, Bill Hightower has decided to continue his deceitful television commercials that are nothing more than lies,” Carl said. “Apparently, he would rather put himself above the health of our community. At a time when our country must come together, Bill Hightower is continuing to tear our country apart.”

“Bill, it’s time to put politics aside and hit pause on the campaign,” Carl added. “There will be a time and place for politics, but right now, it’s time to help our neighbors. I call on Bill Hightower’s campaign to immediately end all paid advertising that is still running on television and focus on what’s important right now – helping our community through this pandemic.”

A source close to the Hightower campaign told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Jerry Carl cracks me up. He went up with an ad FILLED with lies and pounded Bill for ten days, but when Bill responds he wants the ads pulled and is using the crisis for it. Our paid advertising has been down for days now.”

Jerry Carl is a Mobile County Commissioner, while Bill Hightower is a businessman and former state senator. The two of them are running for the Republican nomination in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District. Incumbent Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, is not seeking another term in Congress.

The Republican primary runoff was supposed to be on March 31 but due to the growing COVID-19 global pandemic, that has been postponed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to July 14.

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The eventual Republican nominee will face the winner of the Democratic party runoff in the November 3 general election. Kiani Gardner is running against James Averhart for the Democratic nomination.

As of press time, there have been 196 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alabama. Hardest his is Jefferson cases where there have been 86 confirmed cases. They are followed by Shelby County with 22, Madison County with 21, 19 Lee, 9 Tuscaloosa 6 Elmore, 4 Montgomery, 3 St. Clair, 3 Walker, 3 Lauderdale, 3 Baldwin, 2 Mobile, 2 Chambers, 2 Calhoun, and 2 in Cullman County. Marion, Washington, Jackson, Lamar, Limestone, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Franklin, and Houston Counties all have one case thus far. There have been no confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in Alabama.

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