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Elections

Biden wins South Carolina, focuses on Alabama next

Brandon Moseley

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Saturday, as he had predicted all along, former Vice President Joe Biden (D) won a decisive victory in the South Carolina Democratic primary. Biden shifted his focus to Alabama on Sunday and returns to Alabama again on Monday as Super Tuesday looms.

Biden easily bested U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) garnering 50 percent of the vote versus Sanders’ 19 percent. On Sunday, Sanders and his allies, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) and Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Selma) praised the longtime Senator and former Vice President. Biden also has the endorsements of Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Selma Mayor Dario Melton.

Biden had gotten destroyed in Iowa, finishing well behind South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sanders in Iowa. Biden was also a non-factor in New Hampshire, which was won by Sanders with Buttigieg finishing in a close second followed by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. Biden finished in second in Nevada, but was almost twenty points behind Sanders.

Biden and Jones spoke at several events in Selma on Sunday at the 55th Anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when then Governor George C. Wallace (D) ordered the then all-White Alabama State Troopers to use brute force to make voting rights marchers that had crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, horrifying the entire nation who saw the inexplicable brutality on their TV newscasts. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. then returned to Alabama and led a march from Selma to Montgomery under federal protection. The events in Selma 55 years ago led to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and the end of segregation.

Many of the speakers Sunday claimed that voter suppression is a problem today.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also spoke at events in Selma on Sunday.

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Mayor Bloomberg told the audience at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma that the average Black family in America has a net worth of just ten percent of the net worth of the average White family. Bloomberg outlined an ambitious plan to improve the economic standing of Black Americans, including a plan to increase Black home ownership. If elected, Bloomberg would be the first Jewish President in American history.

Nine members of the audience stood up and turned their backs on Bloomberg during his speech. Bloomberg has been endorsed by the powerful Alabama Democratic Conference as well as by House Minority leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville).

Biden also spoke to the congregation and outlined his history of working with Black voters as Vice President and representing Delaware in the United States Senate. Biden said that growing up he also faced some discrimination as Catholic kid in a town that did not like Catholics. If elected, Biden would be just the second Catholic President in American history. Pres. John F. Kennedy (D) being the other.

Biden was not above criticism at the event. The Rev. Al Sharpton said “We are not interested in nicer masters” while turning towards Biden during his speech at Brown Chapel.

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South Carolina and the cost of running campaigns in Super Tuesday narrowed the field. A number of enthusiastic supporters of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg were in the crowd in Selma on Sunday. He dropped out of the presidential race just hours after the reenactment of the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Billionaire Tom Steyer also dropped out of the race ahead of Super Tuesday. Buttigieg stunned the nation with an extremely narrow victory in the Iowa Caucus and a close second place finish in the New Hampshire primary; but failed miserably in the Nevada Caucus and the South Carolina Primary. Conservative talk radio host and Medal of Freedom winner Rush Limbaugh had predicted after New Hampshire that America was not ready to see two gay men kissing on stage, referring to Mayor Pete and his husband. While Limbaugh’s comments were condemned as homophobic; his prediction that Latinos in Nevada and Blacks in South Carolina would balk at voting for a gay presidential candidate proved to be accurate.

Martin Luther King III, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and surviving “foot soldiers” from the bridge crossing were also in attendance on Sunday.

Democratic frontrunner U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) chose to focus his energies in other, more delegate rich, states than Alabama. Biden needs to win Alabama as well as other southern states if he is to be a credible threat to Sanders, who won New Hampshire, had a close second place finish in Iowa, won a landslide victory in Nevada, and was second in South Carolina. Warren is hoping to carry her home state of Massachusetts and begin accruing delegates with competitive finishes elsewhere. Her campaign has struggled to stay competitive to this point. Many Democrats, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) and James Carville, have been openly critical of Sanders and his decades of openly advocating for socialism.

Famed voting rights protestor, who suffered a concussion from a police beating in Selma in 1965, Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia) spoke to the crowd at the bridge crossing despite poor health from his fight with cancer. Many of the participants in the Brown Chapel service asked for prayers that God would heal Lewis. Lewis is a native of Troy.

The polls open at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday and close at 7:00 p.m. You must vote at the polling place at which you are assigned and have a valid photo ID with you to participate.

(Original reporting by the Hill contributed to this report.)

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Elections

Insiders say former Rep. April Weaver is “frontrunner” for Senate District 14

Multiple GOP insiders say former Alabama State Rep. April Weaver is a frontrunner to replace State Sen. Cam Ward.

Bill Britt

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Former State Rep. April Weaver is now serving in the Trump administration.

The surprise announcement on Tuesday that State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, had been tapped by Gov. Kay Ivey to serve as director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles sent the political chattering class into overdrive with speculation of who would replace him in the state Senate.

“April Weaver is a clear frontrunner if she jumps in the race,” said a prominent Republican.

Multiple insiders echoed the same sentiment while asking not to be identified in this report to avoid the appearance of trying to influence party politics.

“I think she’s the top contender should she decide to run,” said another.

Replacing Ward, a third-term Alabama senator representing Senate District 14, requires that Ivey announce a special election to fill the vacant seat.

Weaver was a member of the Alabama House representing the 49th district from 2010 to 2020 when she resigned in May to take a position as regional director for Region IV of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration.

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If elected to the upper chamber, she would be the only Republican woman currently serving in the Senate. There are four women serving in the Senate’s Democratic caucus, all of them Black, while the Republican caucus is dominated by white men.

A career nurse, Weaver, in 2015, became the first woman in state history appointed chair of the House Health Committee. In addition to serving as chair of that committee for five legislative sessions, she also chaired the Shelby County House Delegation and as a member of the Rules, Internal Affairs, and State Government committees.

As a federal employee, Weaver cannot engage in political affairs and had no comment on the rumors.

Upon her appointment by President Donald Trump, she said: “Serving in the Alabama House of Representatives has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to represent the people of House District 49 for the past ten years.”

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She continued, “I am forever grateful for the trust and confidence they have placed in me as their Representative, and I am deeply honored to have been chosen to join the Trump Administration. I am excited to be able to use my skills and experience at a national level during this unprecedented time, and I look forward to supporting President Trump’s initiatives and serving the people of our nation.”

Weaver lives in Senate District 14.

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Elections

Voters once again heading back to the polls in Montgomery

For the sixth time in three years, Democratic voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to select a Democratic nominee.

Josh Moon

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Don’t complain about election fatigue to the voters in Alabama’s 26th senate district. For the sixth time in three years, Democratic voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to select a Democratic nominee.

They will vote at least once more to ultimately fill the seat, and will likely be forced to do so twice more if none of the six candidates receives at least 50 percent of the vote. Should a primary runoff be needed, it will be held on Dec. 15. The general election to fill the seat will be held on March 2. 

The never-ending string of elections for the seat began in late 2017, when former state Sen. Quinton Ross resigned to accept the job as Alabama State University’s president. That began a string of elections won by now former Sen. David Burkette. 

Burkette won three elections in 2017 (a primary, a primary runoff and general election) and two more in 2018 to earn the seat. 

Things did not go well. 

Before he served a day, Burkette suffered a debilitating stroke that left him in a wheelchair. Then, earlier this year, he was indicted on charges of misusing campaign funds. He ultimately reached a plea deal with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office that saw him resign his seat and be charged only with a misdemeanor. 

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And now, the cycle starts all over. 

The six Democrats vying for the position are: Linda Burkette, the wife of David Burkette; current Montgomery Rep. Kirk Hatcher, who recently sponsored the count property tax increase; former longtime Rep. John Knight, who was Burkette’s top foe in the five previous elections; Janet May, the former chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Conference; current state Rep. Tashina Morris; and Deborah Anthony, a retired research analyst who’s never held public office. 

Former Montgomery City Councilman William Green is the only Republican running and will face the ultimate winner in March. 

Barring a shift in the universe, the winner of the Democratic primary will ultimately win the seat. Burkette received about 80 percent of the vote in his general election wins. 

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Elections

Opinion | A question for Alabama Republican voters

You won last Tuesday. But let me ask you this: What did you win? 

Josh Moon

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Let’s chat, Republican voters. Now that the election is over and emotions have returned to just short of a five-alarm fire, I’d like to lay a few things out for you. Things just to consider. Things that maybe you’ll carry with you in the future. And then, I have a question for you.

Let’s begin here: You won last Tuesday. Convincingly. 

No two ways about it, the Republican candidates in this state mostly crushed their Democratic competition, a few statehouse races in Dem strongholds notwithstanding. In the all-important statewide race at the top of this state’s ticket — Sen. Doug Jones vs. Republican Tommy Tuberville — there was a convincing Tuberville win. 

So, congratulations. 

But let me ask you this: What did you win? 

Not, “what did the party win,” but what did you win personally? These elections aren’t about the team winning. They’re about public representation that best reflects your interests and values. 

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That’s what a representative government is about, right? Electing people who will go to D.C. or Montgomery or your local courthouse and get the things done that are important to you. 

So, did you get that? 

Well, let’s take a look. 

According to a 2018 Public Affairs Research Council study completed in Alabama, these were the top five issues for state voters: 1. Public education, 2. Healthcare, 3. Government corruption and ethics, 4. Mental health and substance abuse, and 5. Poverty. 

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Obviously, a few things have happened since then, so I think it’s safe to say we can include the economy and global health crises in the top seven. 

And I also know from the campaign ads and constant comments on social media sites that replacing justices on the Supreme Court (mostly in an effort to overturn the legalization of abortion) is high on the list. In fact, it was most often the single topic listed by voters and the single reason many said they were voting against Jones. 

So, there’s your list of important issues. Did your elected officials have a plan to address any of those things?

In short, no. I checked. And you can too. 

Go to the websites for Tuberville, Robert Aderholt, Mo Brooks, Mike Rogers, Barry Moore and Jerry Carl — those are the U.S. senator and representatives elected in Alabama last week — and see if you can locate their specific plans for any of those things. 

Hell, half of them don’t even list education — your No. 1 priority — on their websites. 

On your No. 2 issue, healthcare, the responses are so laughably stupid, it’s frankly hard to believe that adults wrote them. Every single one of them wants to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” None of them specify exactly what they plan to replace it with.  

Let me put that another way: They want to take healthcare away from hundreds of thousands of Alabamians, in the middle of a pandemic, and just hope that insurance companies and hospitals behave appropriately and don’t mistreat anyone.  

Let’s be real here. These guys got elected because they’re on the R team, and because you’ve been led to believe that the most important vote that can be cast is one for the people who will choose our next Supreme Court justice. 

And you believe that because you have the misguided notion that the Supreme Court will one day overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortions, which will magically eliminate all abortions. You also believe the high court will do other things, like repeal Obamacare or overturn precedent allowing gay marriage. 

Bad news: None of those things are going to happen. Just this week, the court, despite a 6-3 conservative majority, sent strong signals that the latest attempt to kill Obamacare will be unsuccessful. 

In June, the court upheld an opinion that blocked a Louisiana law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals before they can perform an abortion. The law was designed to limit abortion clinics in the state. 

In October, the court declined to even hear the case of a former Kentucky clerk who was jailed for failing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

Now, we could get into the technical legal reasons behind those decisions, but they all essentially boil down to this: The rulings in the major cases on abortion, Obamacare and gay marriage weren’t made flippantly. And once they were made, they became precedent for the court and incredibly hard to overturn.  

But don’t take my word for it. Go read the opinions in the cases I mentioned. Read the analysis from legal scholars. Read the words of the justices. 

And when you finish, ask yourself this: If these conservative judges are going to behave like responsible judges then what exactly am I getting out of all these Republican votes? 

Our schools are in bad shape. Our health care system is failing. We’re going to have to open a new prison just for convicted Republican lawmakers and elected officials at the rate we’re going. We’re at the top of the charts on poverty. And we have one of the highest death rates in the world for COVID. 

What else do we need to fail at before you’ll consider voting for someone who has some idea what they plan to do? No, really, I’m asking.

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Congress

Gov. Kay Ivey meets with Congressman-elect Jerry Carl

Carl won his seat to the U.S. House in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District garnering 61 percent of the votes.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Gov. Kay Ivey meets with Congressman-elect Jerry Carl.

Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday met with Congressman-elect Jerry Carl, to discuss the current hurricane season and trade policy, Ivey’s office said in a statement. 

“The governor looks forward to working together with Congressman Carl for the people of Alabama’s 1st district,” the statement read. 

Carl, a Republican and a Mobile County Commissioner, won his seat to the U.S. House in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District garnering 61 percent of the votes.

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