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Sessions appeals to Fayette County Republicans

Brandon Moseley

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Former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, spoke to an online meeting of the Fayette County Republican Party on Tuesday evening.

“It is my wife’s birthday,” Sessions said. We have been married for 51 years.”

Sessions claimed that he was better prepared to represent the people of Alabama in the Senate than his Republican Party primary runoff opponent, former Auburn football Coach Tommy Tuberville.

“I said to the people of Alabama many many times that I understand the seriousness of the office,” Sessions said.

Sessions said that he has worked for Republican values since he was a teenager, worked in elections when the GOP did not win anything all the way to the point today where, “Now Doug Jones is the only statewide elected Democrat in Alabama and he needs to go.” Sessions said that Tuberville in his entire adult life had not endorsed a candidate or given one political speech.

Sessions called incumbent Doug Jones, “A minion of Chuck Schumer. It was a bad thing when he managed to slip in there.”

“I know how to win that race,” Sessions said. Doug Jones if re-elected, “Will vote for Chuck Schumer to be leader of the Senate and he will vote against every Republican Senate Chairman, including Senator Shelby who is supporting me and I am grateful for that support.”

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“There were 30 in my senior class in Camden, Alabama,” Sessions said. “Judy Bonner was in my graduating class and she went on to head the University of Alabama System. Kay Ivey was two years ahead of me.”

Sessions said that he grew up in the country outside of Camden in a one thousand square foot house that is still standing. A CBS correspondent met with him there recently, “I think she was shocked that I did not live in an antebellum mansion or some such.”

“I went to Huntingdon College and law school at the University of Alabama,” Sessions added. “Every one of my grandfathers was born in Alabama and every one of my great grandfathers was here by 1850.”

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“I know what I believe,” Sessions said. Someone who is not so experienced, “I don’t know that we want to launch them into that zoo. They will start drifting because the pressure is so great on the other side.”

Sessions was critical of China’s Communist Party leaderships. “Communists lie. We need to take the rose colored glass off. They have not gotten softer they have gotten tougher.”

“Xi Jinping is more dictatorial than the last four leaders they have had,” Sessions said. “He is more hostile to religion.”

Sessions said that he has the endorsement of the Alabama Forestry Association. “The National Rifle Association gave me an A+ rating for my whole career.” The ICE officers they say I am the number one member of Congress out of the whole 535. I also was endorsed by Eunie Smith with Eagle Forum, Tony Perkins, and the Family Research Council.

“I stopped the bogus amnesty bill,” Sessions said.

Sessions touted his role as a member of the Trump presidential campaign in 2016. “We worked tirelessly to rally conservatives. I endorsed Donald Trump. I was the first one in Congress to do so.”

“I thought he would deliver for us,” Sessions said. “I thought he could get elected. Some of the others could not.”

“I know how to fight for police officers,” Sessions added. “I never imagined they would be so under attack.”

“I have earned to be more careful about committing our troops to battle,” Sessions said. “They will win the battle. but we have got to be sure about what comes after.”

“I recommended that (James) Comey be terminated,” as head of the FBI at the beginning of the Trump Administration Sessions said. “That was not done. I thought we needed a fresh start. I didn’t have confidence in him.”

Numerous participants submitted questions asking Sessions about why as Attorney General he recused himself from the Russia collusion investigation.

“After I was confirmed I was being investigated,” Sessions explained.

“There is a Department of Justice rule that if you have a role in the campaign you can not investigate the campaign,” Sessions said. “That rule came in after Watergate. Every U.S. attorney knows that you can not investigate a campaign that you were a part of and I had a role and a title with the Trump campaign. You might be implicated yourself.”

“Doing the right thing, Tommy Tuberville, that is not weakness,” Sessions said.

Sessions said that he believed that the Department of Justice had gotten to be too partisan and we wanted to avoid that.

Sessions was asked why he appointed Rod Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General.

“I don’t believe in going back and second guessing everything. The President appointed Rod Rosenstein.” We both had been given information about Rosenstein. He had worked with Ken Starr on the Whitewater investigation. President Trump had appointed him as U.S. Attorney for the entire state of Maryland. “Pres. Bush had nominated him as a federal judge; but the Democrats blocked him because they said he was too conservative and a member of the Federalist Society. He was subject to the President’s removal at any time.”

“Trump’s judges are the best in my lifetime,” Sessions said.

Sessions was asked if the federal government could prosecute people for looting and burning our cities.

Sessions said that there is a statute we can look at for Antifa and some of these groups that organize riots across state lines; but as for looting, arson, etc. “That is outside of federal jurisdiction. We don’t want the federal government taking over all of that. The FBI has great skills; but we don’t want them” having authority over investigating all of that.

“Antifa started out with War on Wall Street,” Sessions said. “They are squarely coming out of the Marxist tradition. They are Marxists, anarchists, they are not good people.”

Sessions said that many people are marching so that things like what happened to George Floyd don’t happen again; but Antifa who is organized the riots and destruction “They hate the police. I am totally opposed to that. Antifa are not people of good faith. They often put up local young people to commit criminal acts while they lay in the back. I agree with Rudi Giuliani that you should prosecute the first rock thrown.”

“If I am in the Senate there will not be a stronger defender of law enforcement,” Sessions said. “When I became Attorney General, I met with our local police and our local sheriffs as well as federal officers. You protect the country and we want to help you. I told them we are going to be partners and we have your backs. We made sure whose side we were on. Everyday they are out there defending us.”

Sessions said that much of the violence and murders in Chicago trace back to an ACLU lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department. They entered into a consent decree with the ACLU. They agreed not to stop and ask people for their identification. They told them they made too many arrests and were locking up too many people. The first year after implementing those ACLU recommendations “Murders went from 450 to over 800. That was a direct result of not defunding but defanging the police. Most of those victims are minorities and poor people in poor communities.”

Sessions was asked about the University of Alabama removing Confederate plagues and other Confederate monuments being removed.

“History is what it is,” Sessions said. “My great grandfather left Alabama as a private. He was killed by a musket ball to the head at Antietam. We know the story of slavery and the Civil War and how that happened. We should discuss these things I don’t think we want to be erasing history.”

“I do think that the snowflakes today are projecting the things that they believe today on people who lives 100, 150, 200 years ago,” Sessions said. They have trashed the western tradition. I think it is dangerous to be persistent in seeking to erase everything.

The Republican Primary runoff is July 14.

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

Coalition of attorneys general file opposition to Alabama attempt to ban curbside voting

The AGs argue that Alabama’s suggestion to the courts that curbside voting invites fraud is “unfounded.” 

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

A coalition of 17 state attorneys general have filed an opposition to Alabama’s attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to ban curbside voting. 

In a friend-of-the-court brief, led by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine, the attorneys general argue to that curbside voting is safer for those at greatest risk from COVID-19, and that a ban on the practice would disproportionately impact the elderly, the disabled and Black Alabamians.

They also argue that Alabama’s suggestion to the courts that curbside voting invites fraud is “unfounded.” 

“The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, established by President Trump following the 2016 election, ‘uncovered no evidence to support claims of widespread voter fraud,’” the brief states, adding that there is no evidence that curbside voting in the many states that allow it invites fraud. 

“The practice is longstanding and widespread—as noted, more than half of states have historically offered curbside voting in some form,” the brief continues. 

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Oct. 13 said the state will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a federal appeals court ruling allowing curbside voting in the Nov. 3 election. 

A panel of federal appeals court judges on Oct. 13 reversed parts of U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon’s Sept. 30 ordered ruling regarding absentee voting in the upcoming Nov. 3 elections, but the judges let the previous ruling allowing curbside voting to stand. 

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The lawsuit, filed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Alabama and Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, was brought on behalf of several Alabamians with underlying medical conditions. 

“Curbside voting is a longstanding, secure voting option that local jurisdictions have made available to protect the health of vulnerable voters, including elderly, disabled, and voters with underlying health issues,” Racine said in a statement. “Curbside voting minimizes the risk to persons who are particularly susceptible to COVID-19, and local jurisdictions should be able to offer this common-sense accommodation to voters. State Attorneys General will keep fighting to ensure that voters can safely make their voices heard at the ballot box this November.”

The brief filed by the coalition of state attorneys general comes as the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across Alabama has been ticking upward.

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Racine is joined in the brief by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

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Elections

Tuberville, Sessions campaign together

The two former Republican primary opponents participated in a series of campaign events across the Tennessee Valley area.

Brandon Moseley

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Former Sen. Jeff Sessions, left, and Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville, right.

The Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate campaign released a social media video Thursday featuring Tuberville alongside former U.S. Sen. and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The two former Republican primary opponents had participated in a series of campaign events across the Tennessee Valley area.

Tuberville and Sessions on Wednesday met with representatives of Huntsville’s defense and technology sectors, participated in an event sponsored by the Republican Women of Huntsville and headlined multiple campaign fundraising events.

Sessions said, “Tommy, I support you 100 percent. Alabama must send you to represent us in the Senate. We cannot allow a Chuck Schumer acolyte – Doug Jones – to represent Alabama in the Senate.”

“You see it on his vote on the judges and Kavanaugh and the way he’s behaved about the new nominee, so I think … it would be shocking that Alabama would reelect a Doug Jones,” Sessions continued. “I know you’re going to win. I feel really good about it, and I’m glad that you’re traveling the state hard and that you’re here in this important community.”

The night after Tuberville won the Republican primary runoff election, Sessions committed to doing his part to help defeat Jones and reclaim the Senate seat for the ALGOP.

“After we won the runoff, Jeff Sessions called and told me, ‘Coach, I’m all in,’ and today’s joint events certainly demonstrate that he is a man of his word,” Tuberville said following the video shoot. “Jeff Sessions understands that it’s time we once again had a U.S. senator whose votes reflect our conservative Alabama values, not the ultra-liberal Hollywood and New York values of Doug Jones’s high-dollar, out-of-state campaign donors.”

Tuberville faces a determined Jones, who is flooding the airwaves with ads. Democrats are desperate to hold on to Jones’ seat, believing that his seat could tip control of the Senate to the Democrats.

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Democrats hope to hold onto their control the U.S. House of Representatives and a recent poll by Rasmussen shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a five point lead over incumbent Donald Trump.

Sessions left the U.S. Senate to accept an appointment as Trump’s first attorney general.

Jones defeated former Chief Justice Roy Moore to win the seat in the special election.

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Sessions was fired by Trump in 2018 and announced his candidacy for Senate the day before qualifying ended. Tuberville had already spent ten months on the campaign trail at that point.

Tuberville defeated Sessions, Moore, Congressman Bradley Byrne, State Rep. Arnold Mooney and businessman Stanley Adair in the crowded Republican primary. Tuberville is a former Auburn University head football coach. He also coached Texas Tech, Cincinnati and Ole Miss. Tuberville won a national championship as the defensive coordinator at the University of Miami. Tuberville lives in Auburn.

The general election is Nov. 3.

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Education

Report: Alabama is fourth-least politically engaged state in 2020

The study scored states based on 11 key indicators of political engagement. Those included things like voter turnout, political donations and voter accessibility policies.

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Alabama was ranked fourth from last in political engagement in the country in 2020 in an analysis done by the personal finance website WalletHub.

The study scored states based on 11 key indicators of political engagement. Those included things like voter turnout, political donations and voter accessibility policies.

A record 137.5 million Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election, but that only accounts for 61.4 percent of citizens who are old enough to vote. The U.S. ranks 26 in voter turnout among the world’s 35 developed nations. 

“That’s no surprise, considering most states don’t emphasize civic education in their schools,” the report points out. “Large proportions of the public fail even simple knowledge tests such as knowing whether one’s state requires identification in order to vote.”

One of the study’s metrics where Alabama scored lowest was the percentage of the electorate that voted in the 2016 election, which was 57.4 percent. That number is low, said Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst, and is 4.5 percent lower than it was in the 2012 presidential election.

She said that other factors responsible for the state’s low rank were its preparedness for voting in a pandemic and the low percentage of residents who participate in local groups or organizations.

The report’s assessment of the state’s preparedness for voting in a pandemic included voting accessibility metrics.

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“Alabama actually received a negative score here because of the unnecessary obstacles created for voter access, such as: voters need a notary or two witnesses to complete an absentee ballot, voters are required to provide a copy of a photo ID for the mail application and/or ballot, and mail ballots are due before close of polling,” Gonzalez said in an email.

She said that states ranked at the top of the list, like first-place Maine, have higher engagement due to measures taken by state legislatures. 

“Making it easy for people to vote increases engagement,” Gonzalez said. “This can be done through things like automatic voter registration, early voting, or voting by mail. The existence of local civic organizations involved in voter mobilization also plays a part in this.”

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A federal judge ordered Alabama on Sept. 30 to do away with its witnesses or notary requirement for mail-in ballots, and to allow curbside voting for the Nov. 3 election. An appeals court reversed the former ruling on Tuesday, a decision which Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill applauded. It upheld the latter decision, about which Merrill said, “we intend to appeal to the Supreme Court to see that this fraudulent practice is banned in Alabama, as it is not currently allowed by state law.”

Metrics where Alabama ranked below average, with a score of one being best and 25 being average, were as follows:

  • 26th in percentage of registered voters in the 2016 presidential election
  • 35th in voter accessibility policies
  • 37th in percentage of the electorate who voted in the 2018 midterm elections
  • 38th in total political contributions per adult population
  • 42nd in percentage of the electorate who voted in the 2016 presidential election
  • 45th is the change in the percentage of the electorate who actually voted in the 2016 elections versus the 2012 elections

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Elections

Alabama Retail Association endorses Mike Rogers

“Proud to receive the endorsement of the Alabama Retail Association’s PAC!” Rogers said.

Brandon Moseley

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Congressman Mike Rogers

Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, this week thanked the Alabama Retail Association for their recent endorsement. Rogers is seeking his tenth term representing the 3rd Congressional District.

“Proud to receive the endorsement of the Alabama Retail Association’s PAC!” Rogers said. “Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, the retailers’ 4,300 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living.”

Rogers was first elected in 2002 after previous service in the Alabama House of Representatives and the Calhoun County Commission. He currently serves as ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security and is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. Mike also serves as a member of the Strategic Forces subcommittee.

Rogers summarizes his conservative ideology with the old adage “the government that governs best, governs least.”

Rogers is a graduate of Saks High School and earned both his undergraduate degree in political science and masters of public administration at Jacksonville State University. He was a practicing attorney and is a small business owner in Calhoun County.

Rogers faces Democratic nominee Adia Winfrey in the Nov. 3 general election.

The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, the association’s 4,300 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living.

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Rogers is a sixth generation East Alabamian and native of Calhoun County. He has been married to his wife, Beth, for 35 years. They have three children. Mike grew up in the small mill village of Blue Mountain. His mother worked in the local textile mill and his father was a firefighter.

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