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6 months ago

About last night’s upset in South Carolina and Alabama’s 2nd congressional district runoff: No, Martha Roby isn’t Mark Sanford

Last night, South Carolina State Rep. Katie Arrington pulled off what a lot of candidates in Alabama have attempted but haven’t entirely pulled off: She ran a race for and about President Donald Trump against an incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who apparently wasn’t sufficiently onboard with the so-called “Make America Great Again” agenda.

Then she won.

She narrowly took the 50-plus percent necessary to avoid a runoff race and will likely be elected to Congress in the heavily Republican congressional district in November.

Predictably, outside observers from national media are suggesting the same scenario is shaping up for Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery), who faces a run-off contest next month for the Republican Party’s nod against former Montgomery mayor and one-term Democratic Congressman Bobby Bright.

“[S]anford is the second Republican Trump critic in two weeks to run into primary trouble; last week in Alabama, Rep. Martha Roby fell below 50 percent of the vote and was pulled into a runoff in her first primary since declaring she would not vote for Trump in 2016, following the publication of his vulgar comments in the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape. Roby has since tried to mend fences, but she still suffered a sharp drop in Republican primary support this year,” Politico’s Elena Schneider wrote in her wrap-up of Sanford’s loss.

Likewise, before the first vote was even cast on Tuesday, The New York Times offered a similar assessment.

Both the Times and Politico are wrong, and they are wrong for multiple reasons.

Roby beat already the three of the Trumpiest pro-Trump candidates last week in the Republican primary single-handedly. Roby received 36,509 votes, roughly 39 percent of the vote. The three candidates running on the so-called pro-Trump platform, State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise), Roy Moore ally Rich Hobson and Army veteran Tommy Amason, received a combined vote total 30,826, which is 32.9 percent of the vote.

The other 28.1 percent went to Bright, the former Democrat, with 26,297 votes.

If Roby were as vulnerable as we were to believe, how come the combined forces of three pro-Trump candidates still came up short?

Furthermore, there’s more to understanding Alabama’s second congressional district than operating on the assumption it’s just all pro-Trump Republicans. As is the case with the last century of Alabama politics, there is a degree of tribalism and distinct geographic loyalties within AL-2.

In other words, the typical Montgomery media market-River Region Republican voter isn’t a carbon-copy of the typical Dothan media market-Wiregrass Republican voter.

Indeed, they are similar. But for a campaign to succeed in this congressional district, it requires having a strategy that appreciates the distinctions.

There are different turnout patterns. In recent elections, the Wiregrass has struggled with turnout. Additionally, the Wiregrass tends to be a little more conservative than the Montgomery parts of AL-2.

Montgomery has the numbers. It’s no coincidence that two Montgomery candidates, Roby and Bright, are in the runoff and the two Wiregrass candidates, Moore and Hobson are out.

For the sake of argument, let’s say the populated Montgomery parts of Alabama’s second congressional district (Autauga, Elmore, the gerrymandered portion of Montgomery) are a jump-ball that can go either Bright and Roby.

Are we to believe Bobby Bright can run as the Donald Trump-esque candidate with a well-funded Roby campaign carpet-bombing the airwaves with reminders Bright voted for Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker?

Outside of Montgomery, Bright will do well in Dale County, the site of his birthplace. But beyond that specific geographic loyalty, Bright has a much more difficult path in convincing Wiregrass voters he is the most pro-Trump, or perhaps more importantly, the most-Republican candidate.

South Carolina’s first congressional district, where Sanford lost Tuesday night, is dominated by the city of Charleston, S.C. For that reason, there is a higher degree of homogeneity among Republicans voters than in Alabama’s second congressional district.

Nonetheless, the national political media and our hometown media seeking the praise of the national media will still try to build upon the “Roby is anti-Trump” narrative.

It’s a good story for them, especially if Roby wins, as she likely will. They’ll speculate that Alabama’s pro-Trump leanings are exaggerated. (They’re probably right about that, but for the wrong reasons.)

It’s possible Roby would like to have a do-over for her October 8, 2016 “Billy Bush weekend” condemnation of Donald Trump, in which she called on him to “step aside and allow a responsible, respectable Republican to lead the ticket.”

She wasn’t the only one to make that call among her Alabama colleagues. Rep Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) had the same ill-advised instinct. Yet, he remains bulletproof in Alabama’s first congressional district and is rumored to be looking to a run against Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) in 2020 for U.S. Senate.

What’s the bigger sin in the eyes of Republican voters: a confounding hastily released statement condemning Trump in October 2016, or an actual vote for Nancy Pelosi in January 2009?

My guess is the latter.

The most significant difference between Mark Sanford and Martha Roby regarding Trump is Sanford continued to be outspoken against Trump after his 2016 election win. On the other hand, Roby has avoided public disagreements with Trump.

Even during the entire Roy Moore-Luther Strange-Doug Jones saga, Roby managed to dodge situations that would offer even a hint of being against Trump.

The Roby-Bright runoff isn’t Never Trump against Trump. It’s maybe-Never Trump against Pelosi.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

4 hours ago

Christmas with Can’t Miss Alabama has spectacular entertainment with ZooLight Safari and Galaxy of Lights

It’s that time of year to eat, drink and be merry.

ZooLight Safari

Christmas magic is at the 25th annual ZooLight Safari with seasonal songs and holiday classics. Celebrate with writing letters to Santa, crafts, ornament decorating, train and carousel rides and holiday games. Join in the fun Dec. 14-23 and Dec. 26-31 from 5-9 p.m. Admission is $10 and ride tickets are $3.50. Parking is free.

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Learn more at https://www.birminghamzoo.com/.

Holiday Spectacular 2018

Enjoy holiday songs at the Red Mountain Theatre Company (RMTC) through Sunday, Dec. 16. Conservatory students will perform at the Holiday Spectacular with local artists to warm your heart and set the stage for a magical season. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Free parking is available on the street in front of the theater and the Park Rite deck, or on the corner of Fourth Avenue North and 19th Street. Paid parking is available in front of the building on 19th Street.

The RMTC is at 301 19th St. N. in Birmingham.

Tickets are available at RMTC.

Christmas at the Falls

It is a wonderful time of the year at Noccalula Falls. Regular park activities are closed to accommodate nightly Christmas entertainment through Sunday, Dec. 30. Festive holiday lights with a visit from Santa will create a magical adventure for all. Admission is $15 and children 3 and under are free. The venue is at 1500 Noccalula Road, Gadsden, 35904.

Call 256-549-4663 or visit www.noccalulafallspark.com.

Galaxy of Lights

Drive through Galaxy of Lights at the Huntsville Botanical Garden through Monday, Dec. 31. The light display and other traditional holiday scenes will be enjoyable from the comfort of your car. Admission is $25 for up to 10 people. Information about vans, buses and discounts are found here.

For details, go to Driving Night FAQ.

The venue is the Huntsville Botanical Garden at 4747 Bob Wallace Ave.

Just Josh – A Chili Country Christmas

Grammy-award nominee Josh Goforth will be in concert at the annual Chili Country Christmas at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge Dec. 14-15. Goforth is a traditional musician and one of the finest fiddle, banjo and guitar players in the country. Audiences will stomp and clap to his fiddle with stories of his grandpa and life in Appalachia. He has performed at the Grand Ole Opry, Carnegie Hall, throughout Europe and Japan and every state except Hawaii. Tickets are $20, which include the pre-show and chili supper.

Doors open at 6:20 p.m.

For tickets or more information, call 334-685-5524 or 334-670-6302.

Santa’s Underground Workshop at Rickwood Caverns

Santa’s Underground Workshop is underway through Sunday, Dec. 23 from 2-8 p.m. at Rickwood Caverns State Park. Visitors can experience the magic of the season, by viewing over 30,000 colored lights and holiday ornaments, as they walk 175 feet down into the cave. “We had a wonderful time last year with our first Santa’s Underground Workshop,” said Rickwood Caverns State Park Manager Amanda White. “We’re looking forward to sharing the amazing cave with our friends who are regular visitors, as well as those who may have never been here before. Admission is $10 per person, ages 4 and older. Groups of 20 or more can get tickets for $8 each.

For more information visit: https://www.alapark.com.

Lawson State Community Choir in concert

The Lawson State Community College (LSCC) Quartet Christmas Concert is Sunday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. at the Birmingham Public Library downtown in the East Grand Reading Room. The performers include the LSCC Quartet, comprised of Kayla King, Heavyn Leigh Whiteside, Javaris Williams, and Jemanuel Pullom. The choir will perform popular Christmas songs and carols, such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Silent Night.” LSCC is led by Dr. Jillian Johnson.

For more details, call 205-226-3746 or visit www.bplonline.org.

2018 Governor’s Mansion Christmas in Montgomery

The Alabama Governor’s Mansion holiday tour is Monday, Dec. 17 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Visitors will view the holiday décor, listen to live choir performances and have access to Alabama-made goods in the gift shop.

Call 334-242-7100 to inquire about free tickets.

Enjoy an evening with ‘Dancing with the Stars’

“Dancing with the Stars: Live!” returns to Birmingham Tuesday, Dec. 18 featuring Bobby Bones.  Enjoy everything from ballroom to jazz to modern to hip-hop dance styles. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival presents “The Sound of Music” through Sunday, Dec. 30 as a part of its 2018-19 season. The production tells the beloved story of Maria, a young and spirited nun-turned-governess, and the Von Trapp family. The 1965 film adaption starring Julie Andrews won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Other adaptions have won Tony and Grammy awards.

For tickets, click here.

Ice Skating

Ice skating at Railroad Park continues through Sunday, Jan. 6. The 50-by-80-foot rink will open seven days a week, Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.. Ticket prices include skate rental, tax and unlimited time on the ice. Children 12 and under are $10, adults are $12 and groups of 20 or more skate for $9 per person. Tickets are available online or at the rink. Tickets are valid for the entire day. Although skates are included in the ticket price, individuals are welcome to bring their own skates. The rink will be closed Christmas Day.

Visit www.railroadpark.org/iceskating for season passes.

For details, email info@railroadpark.org or call 205-521-9933.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

5 hours ago

On this day in Alabama history: Alabama admitted to the Union

December 14, 1819

Alabama became the 22nd state on Dec. 14, 1819, the only state added to the United States that year. The young United States acquired the British claims to all lands east of the Mississippi River, including present-day Alabama, as part of the treaty that ended the American Revolution. Alabama was originally part of the Mississippi Territory, which up until then was claimed by the colony of Georgia. Under pressure from white Southerners to see two slave states emerge, Congress created the Alabama Territory out of the eastern half of the Mississippi Territory on March 3, 1817. William Wyatt Bibb was named governor. The population grew rapidly, which led to petitions for statehood, which was granted two years later.

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Read More at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

6 hours ago

Ivey’s inaugural events to promote children’s literacy

In keeping with the theme “Keep Alabama Growing,” Governor Kay Ivey’s inaugural committee on Friday announced plans to promote children’s literacy throughout the January 2019 inaugural festivities.

“Investing in the next generation is critical to our ability to keep Alabama growing,” Ivey said in a press release. “As we prepare for four more years of growing opportunities for Alabamians, I can’t think of a better place to begin than with our children’s literacy, ensuring they get a strong start.”

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As part of this effort, the governor’s inaugural committee will be hosting book drives at the Gulf Coast Inaugural Celebration on January 12 and the Inaugural Gala in Montgomery on January 14. The books collected will be donated to the Alabama Literacy Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to improving literacy in communities across the state.

Tickets to the Gulf Coast Inaugural Celebration are available to the general public here. The $25 ticket price will be waived for attendees who bring four children’s books to the celebration.

The Inaugural Gala in Montgomery is invitation only.

More details will be announced in the coming weeks and posted here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 hours ago

Ohio-based Gregory Industries set to invest $4.21 million in Decatur steel plant

Ohio-based galvanized steel company Gregory Industries plans to make a $4.21 million capital investment in a Decatur steel plant, according to Decatur Daily.

The investment will consist of the purchasing of 100,000 square feet of the Willo Products building and 13 adjacent acres at the site for a galvanized steel tubing plant.

Gregory Industries recently purchased Mid-Ohio Tubing. Once the Morgan County plant undergoes renovations and begins operations, it will carry the name Mid-Ohio Tubing.

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Company officials hope to have the plant open by June. The plan is to hire 20 employees at an average annual wage of $47,000 and add four more employees by the end of the third year.

According to Mike Rothacher, the Gregory vice president of corporate services, the company will hire a plant manager, maintenance workers, machine operators and general laborers.

The Industrial Development Board of Decatur approved $172,400 in state, city and Morgan County tax abatements for the company.

Morgan County Economic Development Association president and CEO Jeremy Nails connected with Gregory officials after Nucor found out the Ohio company was looking to expand by venturing into the south.

“We rely on existing industries to put us in contact with companies that they deal with,” Nails said. “We don’t have a lot of available buildings so we were fortunate that this building was available. It’s a win-win for Gregory and Willo.”

The Gregory plant will produce galvanized steel tubing that will be used in material called G-street metal framing. The plant will feature a tubing mill and a roll-forming mill.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

7 hours ago

Alabama House Speaker McCutcheon hospitalized with heart issue, expects to be released following treatment

Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) announced on Friday that he has been hospitalized with a heart issue but expects to be released following treatment over the weekend.

“Deb and I appreciate the prayers of healing that so many have made on my behalf, and I am well on the road to recovery,” McCutcheon said in a press release.

“Tests indicated that I had a blocked blood vessel in my heart, which resulted in the fatigue and shortness of breath that I felt, and the issue will be treated with simple medication,” he explained.

While returning home from the legislative orientation session at the Alabama State House on Thursday, the speaker suffered mild chest pains and shortness of breath and was driven to an emergency room for examination.

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McCutcheon outlined that he first assumed he was suffering from a case of bronchitis, but an EKG indicated a heart issue, which blood tests later confirmed.

His physician recommended a heart catheterization, and those results showed a blood vessel that had closed but did not require a stent and could be treated with medication.

During his recovery, the speaker said he will continue working on House committee assignments and other legislative issues in preparation for the upcoming organizational and regular sessions of the Alabama Legislature. The organizational session begins on January 8.

During the 2014 legislative session, McCutcheon underwent heart bypass surgery and returned to work before the session ended.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn