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3 years ago

As gambling debate rages, Alabamians win $1 million in Georgia lottery

YH Lotto tickets

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — As Alabama House and Senate leadership rolled out dueling pieces of gambling legislation, eleven Alabamians found out they will be splitting the winnings of a $1 million Georgia Powerball lottery ticket.

WSFA reported Tuesday afternoon that a winning Quik Pik ticket was bought at a gas station in West Point, Georgia, just on the other side of the Alabama-Georgia state line.

Lottery proponents have often argued over the years that even though Alabama does not conduct a state-sponsored lottery, Alabamians are playing anyway by crossing state lines. This, they argue, results in the state missing out on tax revenue that could be used to fund various education initiatives or, under more recent proposals, patch the hole in the General Fund budget.

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) held a press conference Tuesday flanked by Birmingham Mayor William Bell officially rolling out a gambling expansion bill that inclues a provision allowing Alabamians to vote on a constitutional amendment legalizing a lottery.

Marsh and Bell argued that an expansion of gaming — whether in the form of a lottery or casinos, or both — would be preferable to tax increases.

“I have in my pocket three lottery tickets that were purchased by choice,” Bell said. “A tax is not by choice. If we place a tax on people they will have no choice in the matter, but if we have a lottery they can make their own decision as to whether or not they want to participate and play.”

Marsh’s plan was immediately met with opposition from Gov. Robert Bentley, who said it “makes Alabama look like Las Vegas. It is one of the worst bills I have ever seen.”

Bentley continues to urge lawmakers to pass his budget plan, which includes $541 million in tax increases.

A $100 million tax increase proposal was also floated by House Speaker Mike Hubbard and House General Fund Budget Chairman Steve Clouse on Tuesday as part of a larger package that includes a mixture of budget cuts, reform measures, and new tax revenues.

Hubbard favors granting the Poarch Band of Creek Indians exclusive rights to gaming in Alabama in return for the Tribe covering the state’s current budget shortfall in full for one year.

5 hours ago

Live blog: Alabama votes — Runoff Returns

The state of Alabama (well, likely an “extraordinarily low” percentage) is voting Tuesday, July 14.

The lieutenant governor race pits Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh against Will Ainsworth in the runoff, while incumbent AG Steve Marshall squares off with former AG Troy King for attorney general. Also on today’s ballot, Martha Roby faces Bobby Bright for House District 2 and the race for commissioner of Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries between Gerald Dial and Rick Pate.


Update 9:40:
It’s no longer Dial time

Update 9:22:

Update 9:08:
Still a tight one for Cavanaugh and Ainsworth

Update 9:05:
A touching tribute

Update 9:01:

Down goes the King

Update 8:36:

AP calls House District 2 for Roby. She will face Tabitha Isner in November

Update 8:22:

NY Times has Roby 19,651 (67.2%) and Bright 9,599 (32.8%)

Update 8:15:

Update 7:48:

Marshall party enjoying the MLB All-Star Game

Update 7:40:

Update 7:25:

Per Montgomery Advertiser:
Lt. Gov race is a tight one.
Ainsworth: 105
Cavanaugh: 104

AG race also close early on.
Marshall: 125
King: 93

AG Commissioner close early.
Pate: 108
Dial: 96

NY Times shows big lead early for Roby in House District 2:
Roby: 261
Bright: 101

Update 7:00:

Polls are closed. Now we wait as results come in.

Update 6:50 p.m.:

Listen Live: Yellowhammer’s Jeff Poor and Dale Jackson on with Mobile FM Talk 106.5’s Sean Sullivan 8-10 p.m. at

Preview stories:

Five things to watch for on Runoff Election Night
The anatomy of races for attorney general and House District 2: What a win might mean
Here are the Alabama candidates who won the money race ahead of runoff

7 hours ago

Republicans don’t have to oppose Trump because he refuses to admit Russia meddled and wanted him to win

Russia meddled in the 2016 election and President Trump’s Director of National Intelligence acknowledges it. Russia wanted Trump to win, Russian President Vladimir Putin even admitted it. This does not mean there was collusion, it does not mean the election was stolen, and it doesn’t mean you have to support Hillary Clinton in 2020 or Democrats in 2018. It also doesn’t mean I, nor anyone else, has to second guess our reasoning for voting for Trump in 2016.

My reasoning was the open Supreme Court seat that would become Neal Gorsuch’s and the one that will become Brett Kavanaugh’s. A good friend of mine messaged me last night taunting me about Trump’s performance at the Trump/Putin press conference:


You know what, it was.

But the game here is quite simple: Putin wanted Trump over Hillary, therefore you shouldn’t have.

The problem with that is Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are actually to blame for all the problems that are being brought to bear today, and Trump fails to acknowledge that.

Take this by former Congressman Mike Rogers (not Alabama’s) Tweet as a guide:

Let’s check the timeline…

— Waged continuous & increasingly aggressive cyber attacks against us – 2015(?)-present
— Interfered in our 2016 elections – 2015-2016
— Annexed Crimea – 2014
— Shot down a civilian airliner – 2014
— Supports Assad in Syria – 2013
— Invaded our ally Georgia – 2008
— Murdered opponents in London – 2018

A grand total of one of those events started during Trump’s term.

More interestingly, the media, Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continued to act as if Russia was an ally — or at best a nuisance.

Clinton offered a reset button:

Obama asked for space so he could win an election:

How is it that Trump’s failure to call out Russia’s acts before he was president is ushering in a more powerful Russian Federation, but years of straight-up weakness should have been rewarded with a third-term for team Obama? It makes no sense.

Now, I have been clear, President Trump should acknowledge Russian-meddling, but that meddling does not de-legitimize his win. He needs to acknowledge this, but so do his opponents.

There is more to the world than our relationship with Russia. The economy matters, the Supreme Court matters, controlling our borders matters, and no one can tell you that your choice in 2016 was wrong because Obama failed to do his job.

9 hours ago

Once a Trump critic, Roby looks for redemption in Alabama runoff

Rep. Martha Roby is seeking Republican redemption in an Alabama runoff election that hinges on her loyalty to President Donald Trump.

Roby is facing Democrat-turned-Trump Republican Bobby Bright on Tuesday, trying not to become the third congressional Republican to lose her job this primary season.


From the outside, the race shouldn’t be close. Roby is a four-term incumbent in deep-red Alabama. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have endorsed her. And her Republican opponent supported Nancy Pelosi when he served as a Democrat in Congress.

But as is often the case in the Trump era, the conventional rules of politics do not apply.

Roby’s political survival depends on whether Alabama voters are sufficiently convinced that she’s made amends for turning her back on Trump in 2016 after he was caught bragging about sexually predatory behavior in the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.

The remarks, she said at the time, made Trump “unacceptable” as a Republican candidate for president. She’s spent much of the last two years trying to convince her red-state constituents in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District that she is a reliable vote for the administration.

Roby failed to convince a majority of Republican primary voters back in June, earning just 39 percent of the vote in the first primary contest, which forced a runoff against the second-place vote getter.

Despite her past criticism, the Trump White House has emerged as Roby’s most powerful backer.

Trump himself endorsed Roby on Twitter, calling her a “reliable vote for our Make America Great Again Agenda” and bashing Bright as “a recent Nancy Pelosi voting Democrat.”

Vice President Mike Pence recorded automated calls for Roby distributed to district voters beginning on Saturday. He calls Roby a reliable vote for the Trump agenda and urged voters to send her back to Congress.

“We can always count on her vote,” Pence says in the call.

Armed with an endorsement from Trump, Roby has argued that she’s “a conservative Republican with a proven record.”

“I’ve worked with the administration to get conservative policies across the finish line. My opponent voted for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker,” Roby said during a campaign stop at a south Alabama lumber company. She also touted her support for a border wall and opposition to abortion.

Bright, who represented the district for two years as a Democrat, argues that he’s more conservative than Roby, whom he calls an establishment Republican who hasn’t “stayed connected” with the heavily agrarian and military district.

“I’m not an elitist. I’m not what they refer to as a blue blood. I’m a populist. I talk with the people and so does (Trump),” said Bright, the 13th of 14 children born into a sharecropping family.

Roby has enjoyed a 5-to-1 fundraising advantage over Bright. She’s used the arsenal to hammer Bright in television ads over his Democratic background — particularly his 2009 vote for Pelosi as House speaker.

A mailer distributed by Roby’s campaign promotes Trump’s endorsement and lists Pelosi’s name five times in attacking Bright.

While many Washington Republicans expect Roby to win on Tuesday, the anticipated low turnout in the midsummer affair offers an air of unpredictability. Less than 20 percent of eligible voters are expected to participate.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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10 hours ago

Five things to watch for on Runoff Election Night

Now that primary runoff Election Day is upon us, and we eagerly await the results that will finalize the slate of Republican candidates that will likely defeat Democrats in November in Alabama’s majority Republican state, here are a few tips for the highly engaged political watchers to keep an eye on as the results come in.

1) A good early indicator will be Limestone County: The last few elections, North Alabama’s Limestone County has been early with its returns, which is a credit to Limestone County Probate Judge Charles Woodroof.

Without a dominant North Alabama candidate like Mo Brooks or Tommy Battle skewing those returns, Limestone County could be an early bellwether.


2) Expect high turnout in Marshall County: With two hometown guys running, Steve Marshall for Alabama Attorney General and Will Ainsworth for Lieutenant Governor, Marshall County, which includes Guntersville, Albertville, Arab and most of Boaz, turnout will be higher than usual.

In a statewide election with a likely lower-than-normal turnout with no gubernatorial race at the top of the ticket, the Marshall County vote will be pivotal for Marshall and Ainsworth.

3) Although interest in the Roby-Bright race is somewhat exaggerated, a boost in the Wiregrass could play a role: There have been some national media lurking from Montgomery to Dothan looking for a Donald Trump angle on the race between incumbent Rep. Martha Roby and former Rep. Bobby Bright for the Republican nod.

It’s not clear a competitive race between the two is the case, but with both candidates engaging in get-out-the-vote efforts, that will drive turnout a little in the Wiregrass region.

If that turns out to be the case, that could favor lieutenant gubernatorial hopeful Twinkle Cavanaugh and Alabama attorney general hopeful Troy King.

4) Local races in Baldwin County could sway statewide races: Contentious races for Baldwin County Commissioner District 3 between incumbent commissioner Tucker Dorsey and Billie Jo Underwood, and for State Senate District 32 between Chris Elliott and David Northcutt could gin up some intrigue for heavily Republican Baldwin County.

Without a hometown candidate in the mix in southwestern Alabama, those votes are for grabs for the statewide candidates. Those in the Mobile media market have been subject to an onslaught of radio and TV spots from all candidates.

5) Alvin Holmes on the ropes? Probably not, but the incumbent state representative that has been a fixture in the Alabama legislature since 1974 is facing a runoff for the Democratic Party nod in Montgomery’s House District 78.

Holmes bested his current challenger Kirk Hatcher by nearly 400 votes in the Democratic primary but came up short in getting to the 50 percent-plus-one threshold required to avoid a runoff.

A Holmes defeat would send shockwaves through the Democratic Party, much like Doug Jones and Randall Woodfin’s victories had last year.

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

Rep. Byrne: Americans are better off now

Two years ago, I joined other Republican House members in unveiling our “Better Way” agenda. The agenda covered everything from national security to tax reform to the economy. It was a bold vision about a different path for America that wasn’t driven by a larger, more powerful federal government. Instead, we advocated for a better way where we got government out of the way and allowed the American people to flourish.

Working with President Trump, we have held true to our promises to the American people. Two years later and with many parts of the agenda in place, we can safely say that Americans are better off now. Our communities are safer. The economy is booming. Our military is being rebuilt. Our “Better Way” is paying off.


Our communities are safer because we have made supporting law enforcement a top priority. We have passed historic legislation to address the opioid crisis, which is having a horrible impact on communities in Alabama and throughout the country. In addition to better policy, we have invested $4 billion in grants and programs to help combat the opioid crisis.

We passed legislation to devote more resources to school safety, and we have made real progress in the fight against human trafficking. In fact, we have seen a 60 percent decline in online advertising for sex trafficking.

Also, important to keeping our communities safe, we set aside $1.5 billion for physical barriers and technology along the southern border and provided for over 90 miles of a border wall system. Border security is national security.

No one can deny that the American economy is booming. Just consider these numbers: 90% of Americans are seeing larger paychecks under our tax reform bill. 3.7 million jobs have been created since November 2016. There are 6.6 million job openings in the United States as of May 2018, meaning more jobs than job seekers. And, $4.1 billion has been saved in agency regulatory costs by rolling back burdensome government regulations.

One of my biggest concerns during the Obama Administration was the hollowing out of our military. We had planes that couldn’t fly and ships that couldn’t sail. We were not making the continuous critical investment in our military necessary to keep up with our adversaries. Thankfully, those days are over.

We have made the largest investment in our military in 15 years. This means 20,000 new troops, the largest pay increase for our service members since 2010, more training time, better equipment, new ships, and much more.

On the world stage, countries know that the United States means what we say. ISIS is on the run in the Middle East, North Korea has come to the negotiating table, and China is being held accountable for their dangerous trade practices.

Now, I want to make clear that much work remains. For example, we have to keep working to fix our broken immigration system and ensure that our borders are finally secure. We also cannot give up on our efforts to improve health care in our country. Costs remain too high and rural communities right here in Alabama are facing dangerous hospital closures.

But, despite what some on the other side of the aisle and the national news media want you to believe, the American people are better off now than they were two years ago. That is a testament to our pro-growth agenda, but, more importantly, it is a testament to the spirit and drive of the American people.

Want to know more? I encourage you to visit to learn more about the various ways the American people are better off now.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope.