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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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Jones campaign director blasts Tuberville for saying $600 “too much” for out-of-work Alabamians

Eddie Burkhalter

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Incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, left, and Republican challenger Tommy Tubberville, right.

The communications director for U.S. Sen. Doug Jones’s re-election campaign on Wednesday called out Tommy Tuberville for saying that $600 in emergency unemployment aid was too much for Alabamians. 

“Tommy Tuberville once again proves he’s out of touch with Alabama. When he ‘resigned’ from his job as a football coach he took a $5.1 million payout for himself. To this day, he receives $800 a week in State Retirement funds for a coaching job he ‘quit’ in 2008,” said Owen Kilmer, communications Director for Jones’s Senate campaign, in a statement Wednesday. 

“But he says $600 in emergency benefits is ‘way too much’ for people in Alabama who lost their jobs in this crisis through no fault of their own. Tuberville says $600 is ‘way too much’ to help people put food on the table and pay utilities,” Kilmer continued. “No wonder, when asked about how to handle this crisis, he said ‘I wouldn’t have a clue.’ It’s true. He doesn’t.”

Tuberville, the Republican Senate nominee, is trying to unseat Jones in the November general election. Jones has called the former Auburn football coach and first-time political candidate an unprepared hyper-partisan.

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Mimi Penhale, Russell Bedsole advance to GOP runoff in HD49

Brandon Moseley

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Miriam "Mimi" Penhale, left, and Russell Bedsole, right, are vying for the vacant Alabama House District 49 seat.

Republican voters in House District 49 went to the polls Tuesday to nominate their next representative. Miriam “Mimi” Penhale and Russell Bedsole received the most votes and will advance on to the special Republican primary runoff scheduled for Sept. 1.

“What an incredible day!” Bedsole said. “Thank you friends and family for your love, support, and prayers. We had a great showing today and we are on to a runoff. Looking forward to getting back out and winning this thing on September 1st.”

“THANK YOU Bibb, Chilton and Shelby County!” Penhale said on social media. “I’m looking forward to earning your vote, again, on September 1 in the runoff.”

The election was very tight between the two. Mimi Penhale received 829 votes, or 31.4 percent of the votes. Russell Bedsole received 919 votes, or 34.8 percent.

The rest of the votes was split among the other four candidates. James Dean received less than 1 percent, Chuck Martin received 24.3 percent, Jackson McNeely received 2.16 percent and Donna Strong received 6.71 percent.

There were 2,639 votes cast on Tuesday. Voter turnout was 8.88 percent.

Bedsole serves on the Alabaster City Council, Pemhale is the director of the Shelby County Legislative office.

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The eventual winner of the Republican nomination will face Democrat Cheryl Patton in the special general election on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

The vacancy in House District 49 was created when State Rep. April Weaver, R-Briarfield, announced her resignation to accept an appointment as a regional director of the Department of Health and Human Services.

House District 49 consists of portions of Bibb, Shelby and Chilton Counties. The winner will serve the remainder of Weaver’s term, which ends in late 2022.

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Jimmy Reynolds, Ben Robbins qualify as Republicans for Alabama House District 33

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The Alabama Republican Party on Tuesday closed its candidate qualifying period for the Alabama House of Representatives District 33 special primary election scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Jimmy Reynolds Jr. and Ben Robbins have qualified to run for the District 33 seat in the special Republican primary.

“Our district is a wonderful place to raise a family,” Robbins said in a statement. “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave them with more opportunities than we had, and I believe fresh ideas, bold leadership and true conservative values are the foundation of that success.”

Robbins serves on multiple community boards, including Habitat for Humanity, as co-president of Leadership Sylacauga and serves the Talladega Rotary Club as a past-president. He is also active with several local Chambers of Commerce and the Sylacauga Young Professionals. He is a seventh-generation Talladega County resident and the grandson of former Childersburg Mayor Robert Limbaugh. He and his wife Melanie have one son.

Jimmy Reynolds Jr. is a visual arts teacher at Sylacauga City School System. He previously worked for HHGregg Inc. and Tweeter Home Entertainment. Reynolds has a business management degree from Auburn University and lives in Hollins.

The Republican Special Primary Election will be held on Oct. 6, 2020, with the General Election scheduled for Jan. 19, 2021.

The vacancy in House District 33 occurred following the sudden passing of State Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga, in July.

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House District 33 consists of portions of Clay, Coosa and Talladega Counties.

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New poll: Tuberville has big lead over Jones in Senate race

Josh Moon

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Incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, left, and Republican challenger Tommy Tubberville, right.

Team voting still rules in Alabama. According to a new Morning Consult poll of Alabama voters, Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville has a double-digit lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, virtually mirroring the advantage President Donald Trump has over Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the state.

The poll of approximately 650 likely Alabama voters shows Tuberville leading 52-35, with a large number of purported “independent” voters still undecided. 

Trump’s lead in that same poll is 58-36. 

The big lead for Tuberville would be a bit of a surprise, given that most polling up to this point has shown Jones performing favorably against both an unnamed Republican challenger and Tuberville specifically. 

Many of the polls documented on the polling tracking website FiveThirtyEight through June and July had Jones trailing Tuberville consistently, but typically falling somewhere between 3 and 10 percentage points behind. Only a Cygnal poll in late June showed him trailing by 14 points — his largest deficit by far at the time. 

While the Morning Consult poll was mostly negative for Jones, the breakdown of responses and the difference between loyalties in the presidential race and the Senate race could prove worrisome for Tuberville’s camp. 

A much higher percentage of respondents in the Senate race identified as “independents,” and 23 percent of that group said they had yet to make up their mind. In fact, among Republicans, while Trump pulled 96 percent of those voters, Tuberville managed just 87 percent. 

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Among those independent voters, Tuberville held just a 7-point lead, 34-27. 

Overall, 9 percent of the respondents were undecided or didn’t plan to vote in the Senate race.

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