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3 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.

2 hours ago

Krispy Kreme offering coffee-glazed doughnuts this week only: Here’s where you can get them in Alabama

Krispy Kreme will offer their new “Coffee Glazed” doughnut and “Original Glazed” flavored coffee starting Monday, and 13 Alabama locations will participate.

While the new coffee will become a permanent fixture on the menu, the coffee-glazed doughnuts will only be available through Sunday.

In addition to enjoying both new products throughout the week, Alabamians can grab a free Krispy Kreme coffee, of any size, on National Coffee Day – Saturday, September 29 – at participating locations, with no purchase necessary. Krispy Kreme Rewards members receive the extra perk of a free doughnut with their coffee on that day.

Here are the participating locations:

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  • Auburn
  • Birmingham
  • Decatur
  • Dothan
  • Florence
  • Foley
  • Gadsden
  • Hoover – New Patton Chapel Road
  • Hoover – Highway 280
  • Huntsville
  • Mobile
  • Montgomery
  • Tuscaloosa

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

4 hours ago

AL House Speaker Mac McCutcheon ‘can say for sure that you’ll see a lottery bill’ in 2019

With Mississippi recently adding sports betting to its legal gambling options, the pressure is on for Alabama to not only follow that lead, but to institute a state lottery as well.

While one prominent Republican state lawmaker already has predicted a sports gaming bill will be considered by the Alabama Legislature in 2019 yet be a long-shot to pass, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) told WHNT that a lottery bill will definitely be on their agenda. However, its fate will be determined by the specifics of that now-hypothetical bill.

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“I can say for sure that you’ll see a lottery bill in the first session coming up,” McCutcheon said. “Now, I can’t determine what the vote’s going to be because I’ve got to see the bill.”

A sizable part of the debate will revolve around where the lottery proceeds would go: to education, the general fund or a combination of the two.

“Could be both, it’s hard to say at this point,” McCutcheon advised.

State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), who chairs the important senate appropriations committee entitled Finance and Taxation Education, echoed that specifics will shape a lottery’s case, adding that education should be a part of the equation.

“I do think if you’re going to have a lottery, earmarking money for educational purposes tends to generate a more successful lottery than monies just going to the government,” Orr explained.

While McCutcheon knows a lot of the details are yet to be determined on a proposed lottery, he outlined what could sink the bill-to-be.

“If we have a lottery bill out there, it must be clearly defined so that the people of Alabama have no doubt what the lottery issue is going to be,” McCutcheon emphasized. “We don’t want to confuse that bill with other gambling interests. If it’s going to be a lottery, let’s make it a statewide lottery, so the people can look at it, and then let’s make a determination on how we’re going to vote on it.”

The lottery would go to a referendum of the people as a constitutional amendment if it was passed by the state legislature. The governor has no power to sign or veto a lottery bill.

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

6 hours ago

VIDEO: Alabama Sen. Doug Jones’s easy out on Kavanaugh, Democrats must navigate state’s love of Trump, Alabama Socialist seek municipal office and more on Guerrilla Politics…

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will Judge Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed or not based on the he said/she said accusation?

— Does Sen. Doug Jones view his issues as a reason to vote against him or an excuse?

— How much does Alabama’s love of Trump effect Alabama Democrats’ chances?

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Jackson and Burke are joined by Republican candidate for State House (District 3) Andrew Sorrell.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” directed at those who judge Kavanaugh’s accuser as telling the truth with no evidence.

8 hours ago

Rep. Gary Palmer warns Brett Kavanaugh brouhaha threatens America’s ‘experiment in self-government’ — ‘I think this is going to have consequences for the Democrats’

On Friday’s broadcast of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) expressed his skepticism over the sincerity of Senate Democrats regarding the sexual misconduct allegations aimed at U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Palmer warned that weaponizing a “scandal” in these situations may impact the country’s ability to self-govern.

“It looks to me like since the Democrats had this information as early as July, or maybe earlier than that, and they didn’t bring it forward — this was intended to derail the confirmation, not to do justice for an individual who claims to have been harmed,” he said. “And the thing that really concerns me about all of this, regardless of what side of the aisle you’re on, is how this impacts our ability to continue this experiment in self-government because when you weaponize scandal as a political weapon  — it’s very destructive to the process, not just the individuals involved, but the entire process.”

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He added that ultimately, this could backfire on Democrats.

“I think this is going to have consequences for the Democrats,” Palmer added. “At some point, you can cry wolf too many times. And again, I think this is dangerous for people that have been harmed. It will get to the point where it’s just another claim. And at the same time, you’ve got Keith Ellison, who I serve with in the House, who has a claim against him by a woman who is being totally dismissed by the left, even though there’s more evidence there. There’s text messages, documentation from her doctor — you see where this is heading? I’m very concerned for our country and what we’re doing to ourselves. I think it has dire consequences down the road.”

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

10 hours ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Tax reform 2.0 gains momentum

Less than a year ago, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to simplify our complicated tax code and lower rates for all Americans. Thanks to tax reform and other pro-growth policies, our economy is booming. You don’t just have to take my word for it – here are some numbers from the month of August:

–U.S. employers added more than 200,000 jobs as wages increased at the fastest year-on-year pace since June of 2009.

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–Unemployment claims reached a 49-year low. The last time jobless claims fell to this point, it was December of 1969.

–Small business optimism hit a new record high.

–The number of individuals employed part-time who would prefer full-time work but could not find it has fallen to the lowest level since before the 2008-2009 recession.

–U.S. manufacturing grew at the fastest pace since May of 2004.

These numbers all serve as proof that the American people are better off now than they were just two years ago. I am eager to see this strong momentum continue, and I am glad to report that we aren’t slowing down our efforts to foster economic growth right here in the United States. Recently, the House Ways and Means Committee passed Tax Reform 2.0, a series of bills that would modify and build upon the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The first bill in the series, H.R. 6760, the Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act of 2018, would put in place several changes to the individual income tax rate. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provisions are set to expire at the end of 2025, perhaps the most important changes H.R. 6760 would implement are making the tax rate changes and the Child Tax Credit permanent.

According to a Tax Foundation study, making these individual income tax changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent would increase long-term Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2.2 percent and create 1.5 million new full-time equivalent jobs.

The second bill in the series, H.R. 6757, the Family Savings Act of 2018, includes a number of important reforms to retirement accounts. For example, individuals would be able to contribute up to $2,500 into a savings account annually, and any withdrawals would be tax free.

The third bill in the series, H.R. 6756, the American Innovation Act of 2018, would allow businesses to deduct their start-up costs. Businesses could either deduct the lesser of their start-up expenses, or for firms with more than $120,000 in expenses, deduct a flat amount of $20,000.

Our tax reform overhaul provides much needed relief to American families, creates jobs here in the United States, grows our economy, and allows hardworking taxpayers to keep more of their own money in their pocket. We now have a unique opportunity to continue delivering on our promise to give the American people more of the results they deserve.

Committee passage of Tax Reform 2.0 is just the first step in the legislative process to make parts of our tax overhaul permanent. I will continue to listen to the people I represent in Alabama’s Second District and work alongside my colleagues in Congress to improve this package of legislation as we move towards advancing these pro-growth policies to the House floor for a vote.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.