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Elections

A brief look at candidate Barry Moore

Bill Britt

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Former state Representative Barry Moore will face Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman in a Republican primary runoff for Alabama’s Second Congressional District on July 14.

Moore entered politics in 2010, at the urging of then-Chair of the Republican Party Mike Hubbard.

(Hubbard is a convicted felon who is sentenced to four years in state prison for using his office for personal gain).

In his book “Storming the State House,” Hubbard said of Moore’s recruitment, “I delivered my best sales pitch.”

With the help of over $150,000 contributed by Hubbard-controlled PACs, Moore defeated Democrat incumbent, Terry Spicer, in 2010.

In his book, Hubbard also wrote, “I told the Moore’s that this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the two of them to do the State a tremendous service—first of all by defeating a double-dipping Democrat like Spicer and secondly by being a part of a historic Republican majority that would fundamentally change the way Montgomery operates.”

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But Hubbard didn’t fundamentally change the pay-to-play scheme that has fed both Democrats and Republicans for years. He enhanced the scheme to reward himself and his cronies.

Just two months after being elected, Moore received a contract with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) for $27,500. The contract was executed in the name of Hopper-Moore, Inc., doing business as Barry Services. Hooper-Moore is registered as a “minority-owned business” because Moore’s wife, Heather, is purportedly part-Native American.

On December 15, 2011, two additional payments were made to Hopper-Moore from ADEM, one for $8,950, and the other $16,900. The three contracts in FY 2011 and FY 2012 were for “solid waste.”

In the Fiscal year 2013, Moore’s company received another contract with ADEM, which was $11,262 for “sanitation services.” Added up the four payments made to Hopper-Moore since January of 2011, and the total came to $64,612.

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Before Moore was elected State Representative in District 91, neither he nor his wife had ever done business with the State.

Moore was always one of Hubbard’s faithful lieutenants, and while he never scored plum committee assignments, Hubbard leaned on Moore as someone he could count on politically.

Even today, a picture of the pair hangs in a prominent position at Moore’s home.

One of Hubbard’s economic development plans in 2012 was to bring 100 new jobs to Moore’s district in an expansion deal with Enterprise Electronics Corporation.

A deed from Coffee County signed on August 15, 2012, shows that Moore and his wife, Heather, sold their suburban home to Enterprise Electronics Corporation for $650,000.

The real estate estimate for the five bedroom, 4.5 bath home was listed at $424,898. Neither Moore nor Enterprise Electronics Corporation answered why the company paid $200,000 over market value.

Also, in 2012, along with other House members, Moore sought to insert language into State law that would benefit private companies who provided solid waste management within certain counties and/or municipalities, including a company owned by Moore.

HB274 would have “prohibit a county, municipality, or solid waste authority from providing commercial front-end loader, roll-off, or commercial recycling collection services within the county or the municipality if there are two or more private solid waste providers offering those services in the county.”

Moore, along with fellow Republican legislators, proposed this bill, even though Moore owned a solid waste management company (Barry Moore Industries) that would have stood to gain personally from this bill’s passage.

Moore was arrested in April of 2014, on felony perjury and lying to authorities charges. He was accused of providing false statements to a grand jury during a grand jury probe that eventually led to Hubbard’s indictment.

While Moore would be acquitted of the charges, it was Hubbard who facilitated Moore’s legal defense.

On his weekly FPCA filing for May 9, 2014, Moore listed an expenditure of $25,000 to Baxley, Dillard, McKnight & James, the law firm that would represent him at trial.

Hubbard’s Storm PAC gave Moore $10,000 on the day that Moore was served his indictments from the AG’s office and $15,000 just days after his arrest. Moore posted $10,000 in cash for his bail on April 24.

Moore also received significant donations from Hubbard’s closest allies, including Alabama 2014 PAC, managed by former Gov. Bob Riley.

According to that year’s April filings with the Secretary of State, Riley’s PAC gave Moore $25,000. Donations made to Moore by Hubbard and Riley were the largest donations either PAC gave any single candidate.

Moore rewarded Hubbard’s cash contributions by standing with him on a stage in Auburn the day Hubbard was indicted on 23 felony counts of public corruption.

He was also among the lawmakers who signed a letter to then-US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking her to investigate State’s Attorney General Luther Strange. There were ten accusations against Strange of “misconduct…incompetence or willful neglect of office.”

The letter was one of many attempts to derail Hubbard’s prosecution, and like the others, it failed.

The request for an investigation was answered by then-US Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, George L. Beck Jr. Beck found irony in the call for a federal investigation into the actions taken by Attorney General Luther Strange, Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart, against Hubbard.

“First issue is whether or not the misconduct of the State prosecutor has caused the illegal the indictment of Speaker Hubbard,” Beck said at a widely attended press conference. “It is somewhat ironic that a largely white, largely Republican, largely conservative group of legislators, have reached out to the Obama Administration to bail out the leader of legal entanglements he finds himself in,” Beck remarked.

Moore was a Hubbard loyalist who benefited financially from his time in public office. Now, he wants the voters of District Two to reward him with their vote.

It was Hubbard who gave Moore his start in politics, and it was Hubbard who enabled and protected him.

Hubbard awaits prison, while Moore seeks a win in the July 14 Republican primary.

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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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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