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2 weeks 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.

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27 mins ago

Alabama airman killed in WWII to be buried in Florida this week

An Alabama man who was killed during World War II is being buried in Florida after his remains were identified decades following his death.

The Pentagon says a funeral is scheduled for Thursday in Pensacola for Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Percy C. Mathews of Andalusia.

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Mathew was 25 and serving on a B-17 bomber when it was struck by enemy fire while attacking a German submarine base in France on May 29, 1943. Mathews went down with the aircraft.

A statement from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says a set of unidentified remains were determined to be those of Mathews thanks to genetic testing and the work of a French researcher, Daniel Dahiot.

Mathews was a member of the 422nd Bombardment Squadron, 305th Bombardment Group, 8th U.S. Air Force.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 hour ago

Ex-NFL, Alabama player Keith McCants arrested on drug charge

A former defensive end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the University of Alabama has been arrested on drug charges in Florida.

Pinellas County Jail records show 50-year-old Keith McCants was arrested early Monday near St. Petersburg.

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He’s charged with a felony count of possession of crack cocaine and driving with a revoked or suspended license.

He bonded out of jail, but records don’t list a lawyer.

Jail records show multiple arrests since 2010. His most recent arrest was in January, for driving with a suspended license.

Court records show he faces a July 10 court date.

McCants made the All-America Team at Alabama and was selected fourth overall by the Buccaneers in the 1990 NFL Draft.

His career ended in 1995. He also played for the Oilers and Cardinals.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 hours ago

Former news production building in Birmingham sells for $1.5 million

The former Birmingham News production building has been sold for $1.5 million.

Al.com reports the buyer is looking to transform the 97,000-square-foot building into a self-storage facility.

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The Birmingham Design Review Committee approved the concept in February.

“As a Birmingham native we are excited to be a part of the continued revitalization of downtown Birmingham.

We look forward to providing first class service in this self-storage project for the business community and the growing residential population in the city center,” Brent Fields, one of the owners of News Properties LCC, said in a statement.

The former news production building was built in 1982 on 1.60 acres.

Alabama Media Group moved the printing of the Birmingham News to Atlanta last year.

Eddie Greenhalgh, first vice president of investments, for Marcus & Millichap’s Birmingham office, says the conversion of the building to self-storage represents a wider revitalization of Birmingham’s downtown area.

Birchfield Penuel & Associates is the architect.

Christy Roddy and William Ledbetter of Cushman & Wakefield-EGS Commercial Real Estate represented the seller, Advance Local Media, the parent company of Alabama Media Group. Greenhalgh also represented the seller.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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Bill ‘Bubba’ Bussey receives heart stent, shares special moment with nurse

Bill “Bubba” Bussey, beloved radio co-host of the Birmingham-based and wildly popular “Rick and Bubba Show,” said his Friday morning procedure went well and was all smiles in an Instagram photo he shared after a successful heart stent placement.

“We are out! All good, now just a lot of recover time and being very very still. Your prayers have been heard and felt!!!” he wrote on Instagram.

Bussey is in his early fifties and was on his feet Friday, writing on Instagram that “Bubba seems to be feeling better,” sharing a playful moment with an “unnamed nurse” he helped with her “volley.”

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Early this morning, Bussey said in an Instagram post with the St. Vincent’s East location stamp that he shared a special moment with a retiring nurse:

“So many people to thank for the great care I got this weekend… but this lady ‘Miss Sandra’ was retiring after 30 plus years of nursing. I was her last patient, of her last shift!! She checked my pulse on the way out the door! Happy retirement Sandra! Thanks for letting me be a part of this special moment.”

From all of us at Yellowhammer News, get well soon, Bubba!

3 hours ago

Alabama college ending aquaculture program after 27 years

An Alabama college is citing declining enrollment for a decision to ends its aquaculture program after 27 years.

Gadsden State Community College says it will discontinue the courses next spring.

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School spokeswoman Jackie Edmondson tells The Gadsden Times the program was one of the few of its kind in the nation.

The program teaches students to care for aquatic life in natural and captive environments.

Enrollees work with fresh- and saltwater fish and plants in tanks and ponds.

But the program can’t support itself any longer because enrollment is down.

Statistics show 27 students have completed the program in the last five years, or slightly more than five per year.

The teacher, Hugh Hammer, says only one of the last 10 graduates is employed in the area.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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