The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

13 hours ago

Alabama AG Steve Marshall slams ‘Big Tech’ as greatest threat to free, fair elections in America

(Attorney General Steve Marshall/Facebook, YHN)

Attorney General Steve Marshall (R-AL) is continuing his leadership in calling on Congress to regulate tech monopolies’ control over the flow of information and political discourse in America.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Marshall commented on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s testimony that day to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. This comes after Twitter blocked the distribution of bombshell reports, beginning with the New York Post, regarding the Biden family’s foreign business dealings. The New York Post’s Twitter account has been locked for two weeks and counting.

In calling for change to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Marshall remarked, “Twitter is not the Ministry of Truth. It should concern us all when a platform that holds such tremendous power over information uses that power in contradiction of the principles of free speech and freedom of the press.”

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In a statement to Yellowhammer News on Wednesday afternoon, Marshall expounded on the topic in strong terms.

“In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that there is a need to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996,” Alabama’s Republican attorney general advised. “The egregious actions taken two weeks ago by Twitter and, to a lesser extent, Facebook to suppress a news report of significant public interest—along with speech about it—published in one of our country’s oldest and most-widely-read newspapers in the run-up to a presidential election, has only made the need for reform more evident than ever.”

“Big Tech holds tremendous power over information and brazenly wields that power according to its social and political biases,” he continued. “Indeed, social-media platforms oftentimes appear less guided by the principles of American democracy—such as free speech and press—than by the principles of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth: amplify favored voices and viewpoints, censor disfavored voices and viewpoints.”

Marshall noted, “I agree with Justice Thomas’s recent assessment that courts have expanded Section 230 ‘beyond the natural reading of the [statutory] text,’ and support the recent announcement by Chairman Pai that the Federal Communications Commissions will undertake rulemaking to clarify the meaning of Section 230. But there are issues inherent in Section 230 that can only be fully cured by legislative action.”

“At today’s hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Ted Cruz opined that Facebook, Google, and Twitter ‘collectively pose … the single greatest threat to free speech in America, and the greatest threat we have to free and fair elections.’ I concur and urge Congress to take action,” he concluded.

Marshall also published a must-read op-ed in Real Clear Policy on this same issue, calling Twitter’s and Facebook’s censorship of the New York Post’s reporting “un-American.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

‘Nailed it’: Alabama girl dresses up as Gov. Kay Ivey’s ‘mini-me’ for Halloween

(@MissyCarter/Twitter, YHN)

When Governor Kay Ivey in 2018 became the first Republican woman to ever be elected governor of Alabama, she took the stage to the country staple “This One’s for the Girls” ringing out in the background.

However, Ivey’s status as a role model for girls across Alabama has very much been in the forefront during her tenure as the state’s chief executive.

There may be no greater evidence of this than one young Alabamian’s choice for her Halloween outfit this year.

Missy Carter on Tuesday posted a picture to Twitter of her “adorable niece,” who opted to be Ivey’s “mini-me for her school costume party.”

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Ivey was quick to respond to the tweet, saying the girl, “Nailed it…to a T.”

CBS 42 has since reported that the girl, Cate McGriff, is nine-years-old and lives in Rainbow City.

The original tweet has caught the attention of many across Alabama already, with Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth calling the outfit “great,” for example.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

Tuberville: Jones’ vote against Barrett ‘represented the liberal beliefs of his high-dollar campaign donors in California and New York’

(Doug Jones for Senate, Tommy Tuberville/Facebook, White House/Flickr, YHN)

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) on Monday evening joined his Democratic Caucus colleagues in voting against confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be the next associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Nevertheless, Barrett was confirmed in a 52-48 vote; those in the affirmative included U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL).

Praise for Shelby — and criticism for Jones — poured in from across Alabama.

This included Republican nominee Tommy Tuberville, who will face Jones in November 3’s general election.

In a video released after the confirmation vote, Tuberville said, “[W]ell… liberal, Socialist Doug Jones has done it again.”

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“Instead of standing up for our conservative Alabama values and voting to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Doug Jones voted against her nomination and represented the liberal beliefs of his high-dollar campaign donors in California and New York,” the former Auburn University head football coach remarked.

“But Doug can’t help himself because he’s a liberal to his core – just like Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, and AOC,” he continued. “Take a look at his record.”

Tuberville then emphasized that Jones previously voted against confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh, among other hot-button votes in which Jones has backed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

“Ever since becoming our temporary senator, Doug Jones has opposed everything Alabamians support and supported everything Alabamians oppose,” Tuberville added. “It’s time Alabama had a U.S. senator who represents our conservative beliefs and traditional values. It’s time Alabama had a U.S. senator who supports the Second Amendment, the right to life and putting God back in the classroom. It’s time Alabama sent Doug Jones packing so he can move to California and live among his campaign supporters. I’m excited about the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and the promise it holds for our nation.”

The GOP candidate advised, “We need more justices like Amy Coney Barrett and less senators like Desperate Doug Jones.
With your help and God’s blessings, Alabama can reclaim its U.S. Senate seat from the liberals and put our state back in the Republican column on November 3.”

Watch his full remarks:

This comes after a poll released Monday morning showed Jones losing to Tuberville by 14 percentage points.

Jones, in voting against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, said that representing the majority of his constituents is not “the be all to end all.”

“Anti-Trump Democrat Doug Jones has long since given up on representing Alabama, and his vote against Amy Coney Barrett is no different,” stated National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Paige Lindgren. “Alabamians overwhelmingly support Justice Barrett’s place on the Supreme Court and yet their junior Senator has obstructed President Trump at every turn. Jones has once again shown that his loyalty lies with Washington Democrats and not Alabama families.”

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan blasted Jones’ vote in a statement of her own.

“Once again, the U.S. Senate has confirmed one of President Donald Trump’s eminently qualified nominees to the United States Supreme Court. Amy Coney Barrett is an excellent addition to the high court. A jurist out of the originalist model, Justice Barrett will decide each case on its merits by overlaying it with the Constitution and not legislating from the bench,” Lathan commented.

“We offer our thanks to Senator Richard Shelby who consistently listens to the majority of his constituents. Senator Shelby wisely considered Justice Barrett’s sterling credentials and voted ‘yes’ on her confirmation,” she continued.

Lathan concluded, “In stark contrast, Senator Doug Jones continued to thumb his nose at our state’s majority with his ‘no’ vote. He has once again put the interests of his left wing groups first while ignoring those he is supposed to represent. The ‘third senator from California’ has repeatedly failed to remember the majority of our state. Alabama will relieve him of his duties on November 3rd when Tommy Tuberville is elected as Alabama’s new U. S. Senator. Doug Jones will be a paragraph in a history book as future political pundits study how to be a failure in the arena of public service – ignoring the majority ends your tenure.”

Monday’s vote comes after one group alone, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), organized a campaign in which Alabamians wrote 25,000 letters and made 6,500 calls to Jones in support of Barrett.

Unfortunately, Jones did not meet with Barrett and admitted he did not even watch her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Alabama’s junior senator also voted on Sunday against even considering Barrett’s nomination.

Last summer, Jones committed to opposing any hypothetical SCOTUS nominee during the final year of President Donald Trump’s current term. Following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month, Jones announced his opposition to anyone Trump would nominate, regardless of merits.

Casey Mattox, an Alabama native and AFP’s vice president for Legal and Judicial Strategy, stated to Yellowhammer News, “All Americans will benefit from having Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court. She is a highly-qualified and independent minded judge who will help ensure the Supreme Court upholds the Constitution and preserves our fundamental civil liberties for years to come. We thank President Trump for nominating, and the Senate for confirming, Justice Barrett to the high court.”

“Most importantly, we thank our grassroots for keeping the pressure up. We are in awe of our activists’ incredible work over the last several weeks, mobilizing across the country, at a moment’s notice, to talk with their fellow Americans about Justice Barrett’s judicial philosophy and record that puts the Constitution first,” Mattox added.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

NFIB names Alabama’s congressional Republicans as ‘Guardians of Small Business’

(Wikicommons, YHN)

Alabama’s Republican U.S. Senator and GOP members of the U.S. House of Representatives have each been named a 2020 “Guardian of Small Business” by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

NFIB is the nation’s largest small business association, advocating for job creators nationwide.

“NFIB’s prestigious Guardian of Small Business Award is reserved for legislators who vote consistently with small business on the key issues identified by small business owners,” a release from the organization explained.

The 2020 awards were earned by legislators for votes in the 116th Congress, which began in 2019 and is currently in session.

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In Alabama, honorees were U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Reps. Bradley Byrne (AL-01), Martha Roby (AL-02), Mike Rogers (AL-03), Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Mo Brooks (AL-05) and Gary Palmer (AL-06).

“The NFIB Guardian of Small Business Award is awarded to lawmakers who small businesses can truly count on,” stated Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB vice president of Federal Government Relations.

Shelby, Byrne, Roby, Brooks and Palmer boasted 100% NFIB voting records during the period.

“Our policy positions are driven by our members, and we report NFIB Key Votes back to our membership,” Kuhlman added, calling the honorees “real champions for small business.”

“We are proud to recognize the elected officials from the 116th Congress who earned this distinction by taking pro-small business votes… Small business owners across the country need their support now more than ever during these unprecedented times, and we are grateful to these lawmakers for their leadership,” he concluded.

On the opposite end of the report card, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) came in at 38% and U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) scored only 25%.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 days ago

Poll: Ainsworth has best fav:unfav ratio with Republicans among Alabama’s constitutional officeholders

(Screenshot/Twitter)

Polling results released by an Alabama-based, nationally respected data firm on Monday show that Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) is uniquely popular with Republican voters in the Yellowhammer State.

Cygnal, recognized as the nation’s most accurate polling firm during the 2018 midterm cycle, conducted a survey of 645 likely Alabama general election voters from October 21-23.

The advanced mixed-mode survey had a margin of error of ±3.86%, utilizing live agents calling cell phones and landlines, an online sample acquired via SMS and email invitations sent to known registered voters.

Included in the survey was a measurement of name identification and favorability ratings for Governor Kay Ivey, Ainsworth, Attorney General Steve Marshall, Secretary of State John Merrill and former Chief Justice Roy Moore.

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Overall, 58.8% of respondents viewed Ivey favorably, compared to 29.8% unfavorably. She had 96.9% name ID in the survey.

Breaking that down, Ivey had a favorable image among 71% of Republicans, 59.2% of independents and 39.8% of Democrats; she was viewed unfavorably by 20.2% of Republicans, 29.4% of independents and 48.5% of Democrats. Among Republicans, Ivey’s favorable:unfavorable ratio was 3.51:1.

Ainsworth’s name ID (61.3%) is significantly lower than Ivey’s, with a lot of room to grow for Alabama’s first-term lieutenant governor. However, his favorability ratio among GOP voters is especially impressive.

The survey showed 21.3% of total respondents viewed Ainsworth favorably, and 11.8% held an unfavorable view of him.

Among Republicans, 30.3% reported a favorable view of Ainsworth, with only 5.4% viewing him unfavorably. That equated to a ratio of 5.61:1.

Ainsworth was viewed favorably by 21.6% of independents and 6.6% of Democrats; meanwhile, 12.1% of independents and 23.5% of Democrats held an unfavorable view of him.

A total of 28.2% of overall respondents had heard of Ainsworth but held no opinion, again indicating tremendous opportunity for improvement in his favorability numbers.

Next, Marshall was viewed favorably by 18.1% of respondents overall, compared to 10.9% unfavorably. He had 54.9% name ID.

Among Republicans, 22.4% held a favorable view of Marshall; that number was 20.3% and 9.7% for independents and Democrats, respectively. In comparison, 5.4% of Republicans, 10.9% of independents and 21.3% of Democrats viewed Marshall unfavorably. His GOP favorability ratio was 4.15:1.

Merrill had the lowest name ID of those measured, standing at 54.2%. Overall, 18.8% viewed Merrill favorably, and 9.7% held an unfavorable view of him.

Looking at Republicans, 22.6% viewed Merrill favorably, and 5% viewed him unfavorably. That amounted to a 4.52:1 ratio. Meanwhile, 19.8% of independents and 11.6% of Democrats held favorable views of Merrill; 11.8% of independents and 17% of Democrats viewed him unfavorably.

Last — and least popular among voters — was Moore, who had a name ID of 89.8% among overall respondents. The survey showed that 22.2% viewed him favorably, while a majority (50.7%) held an unfavorable view of Moore.

Moore finished fourth in the 2020 U.S. Senatorial GOP primary in Alabama, and his numbers show why. Among Republicans, 35.2% viewed him favorably, and 35.9% held an unfavorable view of the ex-judge (ratio of 0.98:1).

He is even deeper underwater outside of his own party. Moore was held in favorable standing by just 12.3% of independents, while 65% of the same demographic viewed him unfavorably. Among Democrats, 7.9% viewed him favorably, and 69.5% viewed him unfavorably.

These kinds of numbers also explain Moore’s 2017 special election loss to now-U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

The Cygnal poll further showed Republican U.S. Senatorial nominee Tommy Tuberville with a 14-point lead over Jones in November 3’s general election contest.

“The 2017 special election was always sort of a fluke occurrence and Alabama voters are poised to send Doug Jones packing after a short stint in office, ” stated Brent Buchanan, Cygnal’s CEO and founder. “Republicans have a 17-point edge on the generic ballot in Alabama and with President Trump up for re-election, Jones doesn’t have a plausible pathway to victory.”

Read more about the survey here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 days ago

Facebook takes down ad from Jones campaign that mixed up key absentee ballot information

(Doug Jones for Senate/Facebook)

Facebook recently removed an advertisement from the campaign of U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL). The reason for the removal appears to be that the ad incorrectly stated the last date to return an absentee ballot in Alabama.

The ad urged voters to mail their absentee ballots by November 2 or drop it off by October 29.

In reality, October 29 is the last day a voter in Alabama can apply for an absentee ballot, not the last day they can return one.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, the last day for a citizen voting absentee to return their absentee ballot to their county’s absentee election manager is at the close of business on November 2.

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Facebook does not issue public comments on why they take down individual ads, but they affixed a message reading, “This ad was taken down because it goes against Facebook Advertising Policies,” to the ad, which is visible in Facebook’s ad library.

(Facebook Ads Library/Screenshot)

The company’s standards prohibit “Misrepresentation of the dates, locations, and times, and methods for voting or voter registration.”

Data from the Facebook ads library shows that the ad was taken down with less than 1,000 views; though it also says the “potential reach” of the ad was between 500,000 and 1 million people.

Jones’ campaign has spent nearly $800,000 advertising on Facebook during the 2020 election cycle, including $58,034 between October 18 and October 24.

His Republican opponent, former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, has spent $256,727 on Facebook ads.

Yellowhammer News perused the Tuberville campaign’s Facebook ads launched in the year 2020 and found that none had been removed by the social network.

Neither campaign will be allowed to create any new ads beginning Tuesday, October 27, because of a Facebook rule for the 2020 election banning new advertisements in the last week before election day. Advertisements the campaigns have previously created will be allowed to keep running.

Most polls on the race show Tuberville with a double-digit lead among voters.

A complete guide to Alabama’s absentee voting process can be found here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

6 days ago

Where in the world is Doug Jones? Alabama’s junior senator absent from Senate for second straight day

(Face the Nation/YouTube, Pixabay, YHN)

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) had time to vote for himself on Friday, however, he was missing in action when it came time for the senator to represent the people of Alabama on the floor of the United States Senate the same day.

Jones touted that he voted on Friday morning in the upcoming general election via in-person absentee ballot in Jefferson County.

It is unclear why Jones did not do this when the U.S. Senate was not in session. Absentee voting has been open in Alabama since September 9, and Jones’ campaign even has launched a website touting that “Every day is Election Day in Alabama.” In-person absentee voting in Alabama is open through October 29; the same date is the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot via mail.

While Jones voted for himself and the Democratic presidential ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Friday, the Senate conducted seven roll call votes. Jones was marked as “not voting” for each of these votes.

This comes after Jones also missed all votes in the Senate on Monday and Thursday. In total, Jones has now been absent from the Senate for 67% of the chamber’s votes this week.

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For the votes he did take, Jones supported Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) position all but one time (86%).

RELATED: Jones votes to block consideration of $500B COVID-19 relief bill, GOP bill protecting pre-existing conditions coverage

The only other members of the upper chamber to miss as many votes as Jones this week have been U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, has missed all of the Senate’s votes this week.

This comes after Jones last week admitted he did not watch any of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s four-day confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Alabama’s junior senator said at the time, “I have not watched the hearing. I’m in the middle of a campaign. I have not watched the hearings, and I left D.C. when we were there.”

However, Jones last Thursday did have time during business hours to instead campaign for the Biden-Harris ticket virtually in Ohio. This week, Jones also fundraised for Biden’s campaign, and on Friday Jones is set to campaign with the cast of the TV show “Will & Grace.”

Jones is set to face Republican nominee Tommy Tuberville on November 3.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 days ago

Alabama Democrats fundraise off Republican COVID illnesses, lie about Ainsworth’s position on masks

(Will Ainsworth/Facebook, YHN)

A Friday morning email from Alabama Democratic Victory distorts Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth’s (R-AL) position on following health and safety protocols, while also fundraising off of Ainsworth’s current illness.

Ainsworth on Wednesday afternoon announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19, and as of Friday, he is still asymptomatic. However, Ainsworth’s wife, Kendall, has also tested positive and was exhibiting “mild symptoms” as of Friday.

Alabama Democratic Victory’s email was funded by its state-registered PAC, Alabama Democratic Victory Fund. Alabama Democratic Victory is the political arm of the Alabama House Democratic Caucus, which even shares the same public P.O. box disclosed at the bottom of Friday’s email.

With the subject line “GOP Lt. Gov. and COVID-19,” the email began by mentioning Ainsworth’s diagnosis, as well as saying a Republican state senator recently contracted coronavirus.

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“Indeed, we wish them a speedy and full recovery, but we must also point out the big ol’ elephant in the room, as they say,” the email’s first paragraph concluded (emphasis added in the email, not by Yellowhammer News).

The email then continued to mock Ainsworth’s opposition to a one-size-fits-all mask mandate while also completely fabricating his position on mask usage and social distancing.

“[H]e doesn’t believe in science and doesn’t understand that wearing a mask is about social responsibility and public safety,” the email incorrectly claimed.

Ainsworth has stressed that he personally wears a mask and social distances whenever possible; he has also encouraged others to voluntarily do so and modeled mask-wearing on his social media pages and in a PSA.

“I think everybody needs personal responsibility. … I think it is smart to wear a mask,” Ainsworth said on Thursday’s broadcast of FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show.”

This is not a new position for him, either. Ainsworth has been consistent for months on the issue.

“Wearing a face mask and maintaining social distancing are among the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19, and I have tried to set a public example in those regards,” the lieutenant governor said in July. “Masks should be worn to combat further outbreaks…”

Unfortunately, Alabama Democratic Victory’s fundraising email subsequently spouted even more falsehoods.

“Just like Trump, when confronted with hard facts that don’t fit his partisan narrative, Ainsworth doubled down after his diagnosis and said he stood by his original position,” the email said, ignoring what Ainsworth’s “original position” actually is. “This, as scientists are warning of an impending massive spike in cases and deaths. So, you have to ask yourself- is that sound leadership? Is that responsible? What kind of example does that set?”

It added, “This is why it’s time to break up the Republican Supermajority in Alabama and elect Democrats who believe in facts, science, truth, and are committed to doing everything it takes to protect people during a crisis. Republicans continue to mismanage the pandemic and think that downplaying the reality of the virus will benefit them politically. It’s time to send them packing.”

It should be noted that the state’s mask mandate — which the Democratic email touted — was put in place by Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican, along with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

“Donate NOW to the Alabama Democratic Victory Fund and let’s elect leaders who will do the right thing and set an example for others to follow,” the email proclaimed. “The GOP will continue to suffer the consequences of it’s own hubris, but it should be abundantly clear to anyone paying attention that they are failing the people of Alabama.”

The bottom of the email concluded ironically by saying, “Facts and Science Matter,” and “#WeAreInThisTogether.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 days ago

Following the money on Alabama New South Coalition’s $6-per-early-vote operation

(APTV/YouTube, Pixabay, YHN)

Yellowhammer News earlier this week broke the story about a group supporting the respective campaigns of U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden offering Black Belt pastors $6 “per person” they get to vote early ahead of November 3’s general election.

Now, newly filed federal campaign finance reports shed light on where the funding for this group, the Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC), is coming from.

Yellowhammer News examined FEC reports filed this week after the original story broke.

Senator Jones’ campaign reported transferring $1,100,000 to the federal account of the State Democratic Executive Committee of Alabama — the Alabama Democratic Party — on October 2.

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The Party’s FEC filings reported that they received the same sum from Jones’ principal campaign committee that day. A separate FEC filing by the Party this week shows that they also received $87,300 from the Jones Victory Fund on September 29. The Jones Victory Fund is the official joint fundraising committee for Jones’ campaign.

Five days after the October 2 transfer, the Party reported sending $75,000 to “New South Alliance, LLC” for “GOTV” — which is short for “get out the vote.” The Alabama New South Alliance is the ANSC’s political arm and has endorsed Jones’ and Biden’s respective campaigns this cycle.

The same day, on October 7, the Party also sent $10,000 to the local Jefferson County chapter of the Alliance. This expense was simply listed as a “contribution” rather than being for GOTV. That local chapter’s Facebook page shows that it is distributing sample ballots simply advising people to vote the straight Democratic ticket.

Seven days later, ANSC on October 14 ran an advertisement in a local Choctaw County newspaper advertising its $6-per-ballot operation. At the bottom of the advertisement, ANSC disclosed that it had indeed paid for the ad, listing an address in Montgomery in the disclosure. That exact same address was listed in the Party’s FEC filing for the Alliance expenditure.

The Party’s most recent FEC filing also showed a bevy of other related spending for GOTV efforts, as well as “contributions” to civic organizations in the Black Belt and Birmingham. In total, this spending amounted to $1,104,531.36. Combined with the two ANSC expenditures, that total rises to $1,189,531.36 — almost a perfect match for the recent influx of Jones campaign money into the Party’s account.

This included sending $40,000 as a “contribution” to the Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention, which is comprised of historically and predominantly Black churches across the state.

Another “GOTV’ expense by the Party that stuck out was $3,000 to “Gray Family Limited Partnership” in Tuskegee.

As reported by Yellowhammer News this week, under the leadership of Chairman Fred Gray, Jr., the Macon County Democratic Party has paid for and is distributing signs that proclaim, “Racism is on the ballot.” This text is displayed over a Confederate flag and Trump campaign flag.

“Vote the straight Democratic ticket on Nov 3 and make a difference,” the signs add.

These FEC filings come after Yellowhammer News reported how little Jones’ reelection campaign had spent directly with Black-owned businesses and other organizations through the second quarter of this year.

Jones’ campaign has still not responded to separate requests for comment on the three Yellowhammer News stories from earlier this week referenced in this article.

Background

Looking back at the ANSC’s financial ties to Democratic campaigns and political entities, it should be noted that the respective campaigns of Jones and Biden have directly given the group and its political arm at least $296,200 combined, starting with Jones’ 2017 special election victory.

Each campaign reported giving the Alliance $25,000 this spring for “printing & distributing sample ballots.”

In 2017, Jones paid the Alliance $49,000 for serving as a “consultant.” His campaign that cycle also paid the Alliance $192,000 for “canvassing.”

On the state level, the group has received funds from the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee and the Alabama AFL-CIO. Democratic gubernatorial Walt Maddox’s campaign paid the Alliance a total of $102,400 in the 2018 cycle. While $50,000 of that total was purportedly for “GOTV” (get out the vote), $35,000 was labeled for “consultants/polling” and $15,000 was designated as being for “advertising.”

A difference between the ANSC and Alliance between that 2017 Jones cycle and the current one comes down to transparency. During the 2017 and 2018 cycles, Alabama New South Alliance was registered as a federal “Super PAC,” technically known as an independent expenditure-only committee. It thus had to report federally related expenditures. The group terminated its FEC registration in summer 2019, so it is unclear exactly how all of its money — or how much — is being spent this time around.

The ANSC website says the organization has local chapters in 40 Alabama counties.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 days ago

Doug Jones misses all five Senate roll call votes on Thursday, 50% total so far this week

(Office of Sen. Doug Jones/Facebook)

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) continues to prioritize campaigning for reelection over his job representing the people of Alabama.

Jones was marked as “not voting” for all five roll call votes taken in the U.S. Senate on Thursday. He also missed all of Monday’s Senate floor votes; combined, he has now missed 50% of the week’s votes.

For the votes he did take, Jones supported Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) position all but one time (86%).

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RELATED: Jones votes to block consideration of $500B COVID-19 relief bill, GOP bill protecting pre-existing conditions coverage

Thursday’s missed votes for Jones included a bipartisan confirmation of a federal judge on a 67-30 vote.

The only other members of the upper chamber to miss as many votes as Jones this week have been U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, has missed all of the Senate’s votes this week.

This comes after Jones last week admitted he did not watch any of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s four-day confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Alabama’s junior senator said at the time, “I have not watched the hearing. I’m in the middle of a campaign. I have not watched the hearings, and I left D.C. when we were there.”

However, Jones last Thursday did have time during business hours to instead campaign for the Biden-Harris ticket virtually in Ohio. This week, Jones also fundraised for Biden’s campaign.

Barrett received a unanimous favorable recommendation from the Senate committee on Thursday and is expected to receive a vote by the full Senate on Monday. Jones has pledged to vote “no” on confirmation and has not even met with the nominee.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan has lamented that Jones “has embarrassed our state and shirked one of his most important duties as a senator – represent our state in this nomination process.”

“Our state has been sidelined by his absence. Funny how he said the American people need a ‘full, fair and complete trial’ when it came to President Trump’s impeachment proceedings. He promised Alabama he would be an independent voice,” she added. “On Judge Coney Barrett’s proceedings, he has failed on all of his own promises to Alabama. His slogan is ‘One Alabama’ – it should be changed to ‘Ignoring Alabama.’”

Jones is set to face Republican nominee Tommy Tuberville on November 3.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 days ago

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer: Joe Biden ‘highly, highly compromised’ by China

(Joe Biden, Congressman Gary Palmer/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06) on Wednesday interviewed on Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Aunie Show,” discussing the recent bombshell stories that have come out indicating that former Vice President Joe Biden was potentially involved in certain lucrative foreign business dealings of his son, Hunter.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe this week announced the assessment that Hunter Biden’s laptop and the emails on it “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.” The FBI has said that it has “nothing to add” to this assessment.

Palmer, speaking to radio host Matt Murphy, emphasized that the questions raised involving the Bidens are serious and “real.”

“This is a real story. The FBI has the laptop. This is not a Russian hoax. This is real,” the central Alabama congressman said.

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“And the most concerning thing is, it’s not what Hunter Biden did — we’ve known about Hunter Biden’s corrupt activities with Russia, with the money he got from the widow of the mayor of Moscow, we’ve known about the corrupt deal he had with Burisma, and there are other people that I think at some point we will be able to talk about that may have been involved, and we’ve known about what he did in China. What is new about this is the possibility, the allegation, that Joe Biden himself benefited personally, that he was taking money off the top for himself,” Palmer continued. “And I think that’s what’s got to be investigated.”

He lamented that “the mainstream media is ignoring this” and that “they think they can keep people from finding out about it.”

On Thursday, a business partner of Hunter Biden told Fox News that Joe Biden was indeed involved in his son’s foreign business dealings and profiting monetarily. The business partner also confirmed the authenticity of emails previously publicized by The New York Post and has provided outlets on Thursday with further electronic communications involving the Bidens not found on Hunter’s laptop.

Palmer in a subsequent part of Wednesday’s interview commented on what would be the consequence of Joe Biden becoming president while potentially compromised by China.

“You are in danger of being held hostage,” the congressman warned. “The whole world would suffer if Biden gets elected president. Because the Chinese have the goods on him.”

“Now think about that,” Palmer continued, “how it would impact nations like Australia and Japan and South Korea and Vietnam, who’s becoming an ally of ours because they fear the hegemony of China. It’s going to spread across the world. This is a critical moment for this country. And you literally have left-wing media that are part of a conspiracy to defeat a president. They tried to remove him from office, now they’re trying to defeat him and put somebody in office that is highly, highly compromised.”

He also raised the specter of what could happen if Biden is elected on November 3 and then investigations subsequently reveal that he is compromised by a foreign power.

“[I]t doesn’t give me any comfort whatsoever to think that Biden would be removed from office and replaced with … Senator [Kamala] Harris,” Palmer decried. “Communist Kamala.”

RELATED: Director of National Intelligence: Iran attempting to damage Trump’s reelection

In stark contrast to recent revelations and Palmer’s Wednesday remarks come the past statements of U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) about the Bidens’ foreign endeavors. Jones, an earlier endorser of Biden’s 2020 presidential bid, recently explained that he has considered Biden a friend and mentor since 1978. Jones recently had Biden campaign for him virtually in Alabama, and the former vice president also campaigned for Jones in his 2017 special election bid.

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) last year called for an investigation into Joe Biden’s China ties.

“Do you think everything about these ties between the vice-president’s son and China are OK? Don’t you think we ought to ask some important questions like we spent all this time and money doing with President Trump? I’d like to hear what he has to say about that,” Byrne asked of Jones at the time.

When Byrne subsequently filed a bill to investigate the Bidens over foreign dealings, Jones then went into defense mode for his old friend.

“We should all want the same things – the facts, the truth, and the rule of law – not pandering partisanship trying to be relevant,” Jones asserted at the time, while not supporting an investigation.

His campaign spokesperson at the time also claimed, “Information about Joe Biden and his son has been around for a long time and all alleged improprieties have been debunked by numerous sources.”

RELATED: Jones on Biden investigation: ‘We cannot go around trying to investigate every perceived enemy of the president, especially this president’

Overall, Jones has been quick to come to Biden’s defense this election cycle. Alabama’s junior senator defended Biden last year when he came under fire for remarks about former segregationist Democratic senators, as well as deeming past sexual misconduct allegations against Joe Biden as distractions from beating Trump in 2020.

Additionally, Jones earlier this year attacked the “credibility” of Tara Reade, the former Biden Senate staffer who has accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993. She recently interviewed with “60 Minutes” in Australia about the alleged assault.

RELATED: Doug Jones: Biden does not have ‘senior moments’ — Just ‘Joe Biden moments’

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 days ago

Biden on Jones: ‘Doug and I share a vision’ — ‘I’m going to need Doug’s voice in the Senate’

(Jones for Senate/ActBlue)

U.S. Senator Doug Jones’ (D-AL) reelection campaign on Wednesday evening sent out a fundraising email from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Biden’s pitch links to a fundraising page that shows the funds raised are to be “split evenly” between the Biden and Jones campaigns.

The fine print on the page also notes that donors will automatically be signed up for recurring Biden campaign text messages.

Although 50% of proceeds are designed to go towards Biden’s campaign, the email was fully paid for by Jones’ campaign, according to a mandatory disclosure. The email was also authorized by Biden for President.

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This comes after Jones recently campaigned virtually for the Biden-Harris ticket in Ohio.

“I wanted to reach out to you about an old friend of mine: Doug Jones,” Biden’s email began.

Alabama’s junior senator recently explained that he has considered Biden a friend and mentor since 1978. Jones recently had Biden campaign for him virtually in Alabama, and the former vice president also campaigned for Jones in his 2017 special election bid.

“I need Doug’s help in the Senate,” Biden added in the Wednesday email. “You know, I always say this election is a battle for the soul of our country. In few places are those stakes as clear as in Alabama.”

“[I]n perhaps the most crucial fight of all – our health care – Doug has been there again and again standing up for all of us, especially those with pre-existing conditions,” the former vice president asserted.

However, this came after Jones the previous day voted against advancing a GOP Senate bill that would protect health care coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions, even if the Affordable Care Act were struck down or repealed.

Biden further wrote that Jones’ “record has been extraordinary” in the Senate.

Jones, of course, voted twice to remove President Donald Trump from office earlier this year. The senator at the time had already endorsed Biden, now the president’s general election opponent.

“Every time we needed him to stand up for us, Doug Jones was there. I’m going to need Doug’s voice in the Senate,” Biden stressed.

This came mere hours before Biden announced he would consider reforms to the Supreme Court of the United States that “go well beyond” court-packing.

Jones has announced he will vote “no” on confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court. That vote is expected to occur Monday after the Senate Committee on the Judiciary unanimously voted on Thursday to favorably recommend Barrett’s confirmation.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 days ago

Birmingham native Bobby Bowden beats COVID at age 90 — ‘I wanted to be around to vote for President Trump’

(White House/Flickr, ACC Digital Network/YouTube, YHN)

Legendary college football coach and native Alabamian Bobby Bowden, 90, has announced that he has triumphed over COVID-19.

Bowden was hospitalized October 6, three days after he first tested positive for coronavirus. He was released from the hospital last week, and on Wednesday he released a statement.

“I want to thank all the many people who were thinking of and praying for me over the last few weeks. I just went through a battle with COVID-19 and God just wasn’t ready to take me home yet to be with him,” began Bowden, who turns 91 on November 8.

“[T]he fight was tough, but thanks to the help of Dr. Michael Forsthoefel, and the support of Ann and all my children, I beat it,” he said.

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Born in Birmingham in 1929, Bowden went on to be a star quarterback at Woodlawn High School. He went to the University of Alabama as a freshman and was on the Crimson Tide football team that year. Bowden would then transfer to what is now Samford University for the remainder of his collegiate career, playing football and baseball and running track. He even garnered All-American honors at quarterback for Samford his senior year.

His football coaching career also started at Samford, where he was an assistant coach from 1954-1955 and then head coach from 1959-1962. Bowden would go on to become the second-winningest head football coach in NCAA history, also winning two national championships and 12 ACC championships with Florida State. It has been reported that Bowden left West Virginia for FSU in 1976 because Tallahassee was closer to Birmingham, where his mother and mother-in-law lived at the time. The rest, of course, was history.

Bowden on Wednesday advised, “I’ve had a chance to get a lot of wins in my life, but I really wanted to win this one because I wanted to be around to vote for President Trump.”

The coach also credited a drug developed at UAB — with the aid of Birmingham-based Southern Research — for his recovery.

“America is the greatest country this side of heaven,” he added. “We have the freedom to pursue our faith in God our dreams for our career, and our love for our families. For too long now, politicians in Washington have run America down and apologized for our greatness. I’m tired of it. Like President Trump, I had the opportunity to be treated for Covid-19 with drugs to include Remdesivir. At the age of [90], in many other countries, I might not have even been treated. In America, I was.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

Supreme Court again stops activist judge from unilaterally allowing Alabama curbside voting

(SCOTUS)

In a 5-3 decision spearheaded by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court of the United States on Wednesday evening blocked curbside voting from being allowed in Alabama’s November 3 general election.

Curbside voting is not provided for by state law in Alabama, however U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon recently had ordered the secretary of state to allow counties to implement the practice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kallon is an appointee of former President Barack Obama.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a stay on Kallon’s order, in effect meaning curbside voting will not be allowed in the quickly approaching election. Democrat-appointed Justices Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan dissented.

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The case itself is still pending before the 11th Circuit on appeal. The stay granted by the Supreme Court will be in effect “pending disposition of the appeal [in the 11th Circuit].”

Additionally, should the losing side of that disposition subsequently attempt to take the appeal to the Supreme Court, the stay shall still remain in effect pending “disposition of the petition for a writ of certiorari, if such writ is timely sought.”

“Should the petition for a writ of certiorari be denied, this stay shall terminate automatically. In the event the petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, the stay shall terminate upon the sending down of the judgment of this Court,” the Supreme Court majority concluded.

Reacting to the news on Wednesday night, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said, “I am proud to report the U.S. Supreme Court has now blocked a lower court’s order allowing the fraudulent practice of curbside voting in the State of Alabama.”

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked diligently with local election officials in all 67 counties to offer safe and secure voting methods – including through the in-person and mail-in processes,” he outlined. “I am glad the Supreme Court has recognized our actions to expand absentee voting, while also maintaining the safeguards put into place by the state Legislature.”

“The fact that we have already shattered voter participation records with the election still being 13 days away is proof that our current voting options are easy, efficient, and accessible for all of Alabama’s voters,” the secretary of state concluded. “Tonight’s ruling in favor of election integrity and security is once again a win for the people of Alabama.”

The Supreme Court previously blocked essentially the same Kallon order from taking effect before Alabama’s July 14 primary runoff election.

Attorney General Steve Marshall, who represents the State of Alabama in this case, said at that time, “[T]he (Supreme) Court has cautioned lowered courts against altering election laws on the eve of an election. We made this case to the Court, and we are gratified that the Court agreed to our request for the stay.”

UPDATE 9:15 p.m.

Attorney General Marshall released a statement on Wednesday’s stay.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court has again acted quickly to grant the State’s emergency stay request to clarify that Alabama’s laws will govern Alabama’s upcoming election,” stated Marshall. “While our election laws are easily complied with, even during this pandemic, they ensure that Alabama voters can have confidence that they are voting in a fair election. The Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for Alabama’s election integrity and thus for Alabama voters.”

“As we argued in our stay request to the Supreme Court, Alabama has taken extraordinary measures to ensure that all voters can vote safely, while also ensuring that this election is conducted fairly, efficiently, and free from fraud. But Alabama law does not and has never provided for curbside voting,” he continued. “The district court’s decision to create it for the State was contrary to state and federal law.”

Marshall concluded, “Just as important, when States decide to authorize curbside voting, they typically do so through legislation and with months or years of careful planning. They don’t throw it together in a matter of weeks in the middle of a pandemic. That is a recipe for chaos that could end up making it harder, not easier, for people to vote. In addition to the specter of voters’ cars backed up further than a Chick-fil-A drive-thru, there was the risk that would come from voters handing over open ballots to poll workers without being able to see whether a poll worker would actually deposit the ballot after taking it inside the polling place. Fortunately, with the Supreme Court’s action tonight, those risks have been averted.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

Director of National Intelligence: Iran attempting to damage Trump’s reelection

(News 19 WLTX/YouTube)

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday evening held a joint announcement regarding a major attempt by two hostile powers to interfere in the November 3 general election.

“Iran and Russia have taken specific actions to influence public opinion related to our elections,” Ratcliffe said.

Ratcliffe advised that Iran and Russia have both separately obtained certain American voter registration information; there was no announcement regarding any hacking of information during the event, so it is expected that this information was of a public nature.

“This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy,” the DNI explained.

Ratcliffe specified that Iran has already sent “spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President [Donald] Trump.”

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The emails in question were of a threatening nature and sent to Democratic voters in places such as Brevard County, FL. The intended and actual effect was to get members of the media and people on social media to blame Trump supporters — and indirectly Trump himself — for the emails.

Media outlets, as well as Democratic campaign apparatus “The Lincoln Project,” amplified this anti-Trump Iranian disinformation, aiding in this attempt at foreign election interference.

In addition to supporting Democratic nominee Joe Biden, The Lincoln Project supports the reelection campaign of U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

Ratcliffe in his Wednesday remarks stressed, “We are prepared for the possibility of actions by those hostile to democracy.”

He said that for “both sides of the aisle… there is complete unanimity in the U.S. government in our resolve to combat the enemies of freedom.”

FBI Director Wray, who spoke after Ratcliffe, said, “We are not going to tolerate foreign interference in our elections or any criminal activity that threatens the sanctity of your vote or undermines public confidence in the outcome of the election.”

“You should be confident that your vote counts,” he added.

Ratcliffe and Wray both emphasized that the integrity of the American elections system is intact and that each individual vote is secure.

The FBI director encouraged Americans to turn to state elections officials rather than third parties for official election information. You can visit the Alabama Secretary of State’s elections website here.

WATCH THE FULL ANNOUNCEMENT:

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

Alabama Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth tests positive for COVID-19, currently asymptomatic

(Will Ainsworth/Facebook, YHN)

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) on Wednesday announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19, despite taking every possible effort to follow CDC health and safety protocols.

“After being notified this afternoon that a member of my Sunday school church group had acquired the coronavirus, I was tested out of an abundance of caution and received notice that the results proved positive,” Ainsworth explained in a statement.

“Because I follow social distancing rules and wear a mask both in church and in my daily interactions, the positive result shows that even those of us who are the most cautious can be at risk,” he continued.

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The lieutenant governor noted that Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris has been informed of the test result, and Ainsworth’s office “is taking the necessary steps.”

“Though no symptoms have yet appeared, I will quarantine for the appropriate period and seek follow-up tests to ensure the virus has run its course before resuming public activities,” Ainsworth concluded. “I appreciate the words of support that have already begun to be extended and am thankful for the prayers that are being offered for my recovery.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

Macon County Democratic Party: ‘Racism is on the ballot’

(Special to YHN)

Yellowhammer News has learned that the Macon County Democratic Party has paid for and is distributing signs categorically accusing the 2020 Republican general election ticket of “racism.”

Yard signs have been placed across the county that feature a backdrop of a Confederate flag placed next to a banner for the campaign of President Donald J. Trump.

In large print on top of that imagery reads, “Racism is on the ballot.”

Below, the signs read, “Vote the straight Democratic ticket on Nov 3 and make a difference.”

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(Special to YHN)

The signs at the bottom in fine print note, “Paid for by: Macon County Democratic Executive Committee P.O. Box 585 Tusk. Inst. AL 36087 – Fred Gray, Jr. Chair.”

Fred Gray, Jr., is the chairman of the Macon County Democratic Party and the son of famed civil rights attorney Fred Gray.

At the recent grand opening of the Macon County Democratic Party’s headquarters building in Tuskegee, Gray, Jr., led a short chant of, “Keep our Senate seat,” before adding, “And we do that by voting for Doug Jones.”

“Doug Jones is our man. This election, we’re going to dump Trump, and we’re going to tackle Tuberville,” he said.

“We’re going to put in Joe Biden, and we’re going to keep Doug Jones. We’re going to vote for Democrats all the way,” Gray, Jr.,  added.

The county party’s Facebook page advises, “The Macon County Democratic Executive Committee is the local arm of the Alabama Democratic Party. … [I]t exists to: 1. Promote the ideals of the party’s platform in Macon County…”

There are federal and state races on Alabama’s November 3 ballot. The Macon County Democratic Executive Committee is not registered as either a state or federal PAC.  Therefore, it is unclear where the funding for the signs came for and how much was spent on them.

Macon County, for those unfamiliar with this area of the Yellowhammer State, is located in-between Montgomery and Auburn when traveling on I-85. The county is home to Tuskegee University and voted 82.78% for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election. Alabama Media Group has deemed Macon County to be the Doug “Jonesiest” county in the state.

Jones’ campaign did not respond to Yellowhammer News’ request for comment on this story.

RELATED: Group offering Black Belt pastors money ‘per person’ they get to vote early

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

Doug Jones’ reelection campaign did only 0.1% of its spending with Black-owned businesses

(Jones for Senate/YouTube)

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) was elected with the overwhelming support of Black voters and has heralded himself as a champion of the Black community. However, Jones has not put his money where his mouth is when it comes to spending campaign cash.

According to NBC exit polls, 96% of Black voters backed Jones in his 2017 special election victory. Black women were especially supportive, as 98% said they voted for Jones.

Jones, asked about the role Black voters’ support played in his election, has said, “It was critical. We focused on making sure that we got the African American vote out.”

“We did get more African Americans as a percentage out than even when President Obama did in his first race, a fact that I was very proud,” he added. “The Black community came out and worked hard. It’s community engagement; it’s a 365-days a year job.”

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The Black community also bolstered Jones financially in 2017. Three entities alone — the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, Black PAC and Blacks in Government Political Advancement Council — spent more than $933,000 combined on Jones’ special election bid.

Yellowhammer News analyzed Jones’ campaign spending for his 2020 reelection bid, looking at the processed FEC data as of Thursday, October 15. This data includes all of 2019 as well as the first and second quarters of this year (Q3 2020 spending data had not yet been processed electronically).

Through June 30, Jones’ campaign in 2019-2020 spent $7,648,235.42, not counting refunds to contributors. This included spending money with several hundred different entities, including businesses and other organizations.

While Jones’ campaign has advised that its “data shows that the African American vote is once again going to be critical” to his chance at victory, it appears that the campaign has not felt the need to reciprocate support when it comes to the Black community.

Out of its 2020 cycle spending through the close of Q2, only $81,975.08 was spent across 32 Black-owned businesses and organizations. That accounts for less than 1.1% of the money Jones’ campaign spent during this critical time period.

Breaking down that spending, Yellowhammer News found that $25,000 of it went to the Alabama New South Alliance, the political arm of the Alabama New South Coalition, for printing sample ballots.

Missing in the spending beneficiaries were Black-owned political and/or communications consulting firms. This is not for a lack of available talent, Yellowhammer News was advised.

“Alabama and the Southeast are home to some of the nation’s top Black political and media talent,” said Greg Jones, chair of the National Black Professional Lobbyist Association and president and CEO of the Jones Group.

Only $4,123.08 was spent by Jones’ campaign with Black-owned restaurants or catering services. The majority ($48,110.24) of the campaign’s spending with Black-owned entities went to donations and event sponsorships, all for not-for-profit organizations rather than private businesses. This included $5,900 to the Alabama Democratic Conference and $3,500 to the Alabama New South Coalition, both for event sponsorships.

Drilling down, the data showed only a total of $8,864.84 being spent by Jones’ campaign with Black-owned private businesses. This amounted to 0.12% of the campaign’s total spending during the period.

In stark contrast to this objective data comes Jones’ past remarks, especially considering this period included the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Alabama.

In a June open letter, Jones wrote, “The last few months have made the truths of being Black in America clear to all. … We have watched as Black-owned businesses failed at twice the rate of others, and unemployment for Black Americans rose faster and will stay higher than the rest of America.”

At a roundtable discussion with minority business owners and entrepreneurs on August 11, Jones said, “In Alabama, small businesses employ half of all employees, and entrepreneurs account for 25% of all new business in the United States, but we also know that in this world we’re living in today, minorities and minority-owned businesses have been affected disproportionately by the COVID crisis, hurt disproportionately from their counterparts.”

Jones’ campaign did not respond to a request for comment from Yellowhammer News.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

Q3 campaign finance reports in for Alabama’s federal races

(YHN)

The latest fundraising reports have been filed in Alabama’s federal general election contests for 2020.

Covering July 1 to September 30, the third quarter reports were due by Thursday, October 15 — 19 days ahead of the November 3 election.

Respective reports filed with the FEC show that incumbent U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) raised $10,284,933.28, spent $11,160,251.34 and ended Q3 with $7,909,639.98 on hand.

RELATED: Doug Jones receives 82.7% of individual contributions from out-of-state in Q3

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Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Senatorial nominee Tommy Tuberville raised $3,334,591.07, spent $2,158,546.77 and finished the period with $1,732,177.67 cash-on-hand.

In addition to the Senate race, Alabama has two open-seat U.S. House contests this year.

In Alabama’s First Congressional District, Republican nominee and Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl raised $361,328.29 and spent $184,635.25. He had $248,348.26 on hand at the end of the quarter.

Meanwhile, Democratic nominee James Averhart only raised $12,426.36, spent $14,844.29 and concluded Q3 with $7,709.53.

Moving to the other open-seat race in AL-02, former State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) brought in $196,740.34, spent $153,178.82, repaid the candidate for a loan in the amount of $116,000.00 and finished the period with $25,486.91 cash-on-hand.

Phyllis Harvey-Hall, the Democratic nominee in Alabama’s Second Congressional District, raised $24,856.53 and spent $23,842.03. She had $4,539.32 left over as of October 1.

None of Alabama’s U.S. House incumbents seeking election face a close general election challenge, however campaign cash still flowed in.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03) raised $207,820.90, spent $83,352.41 and ended the quarter with $712,683.46.

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04) raised $234,195.00, spent $203,408.11 and had $945,348.95 on hand to wrap-up Q3.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05) brought in $84,285.68, spent $3,945.89 and finished the period with $938,071.05.

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06) raised $110,895.00, spent $85,317.14 and ended Q3 with $494,548.86 cash-on-hand.

Finally, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) raised $311,064.48, spent $89,867.66 and concluded the third quarter having $2,141,619.27 in the bank.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

Another unsolicited New Jersey vote-by-mail ballot arrives in Alabama

(Lisa Lucas/Contributed, YHN)

For the second time in a matter of days, Yellowhammer News has learned of an official New Jersey vote-by-mail ballot being sent unsolicited to a registered Alabama voter.

The first instance was reported by Yellowhammer News on Thursday; the Somerset County, NJ, clerk’s office sent a State of New Jersey ballot to a Dothan, AL, man who has been actively registered to vote in Alabama since 2012. To make matters worse in that instance, the USPS delivered the ballot to the wrong box at a Dothan UPS Store, putting it in someone else’s hands.

Now, Yellowhammer News has obtained more evidence of the Garden State’s mail-in voting woes.

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Lisa Lucas of Mobile, Alabama, has provided Yellowhammer News with photographs of an official vote-by-mail ballot she was sent by the Gloucester County, NJ, clerk’s office.

(Lisa Lucas/Contributed, YHN)

Lucas explained that the ballot was addressed to her divorced name, which she no longer uses, but sent to her current husband’s PO Box in Mobile, which she has never used for purposes of New Jersey voter registration.

Yellowhammer News has confirmed through the Alabama Secretary of State’s records that Lucas is indeed an active registered voter in Mobile County, AL. The last time she voted in New Jersey was 2012 after first registering in that state in 2010, State of New Jersey records show; she registered to vote in Alabama in 2014.

New Jersey, according to its secretary of state, is sending out a ballot via mail to “every active registered voter … at the address the voter is registered.” No request or application is necessary.

(Lisa Lucas/Contributed, YHN)

The seat of Gloucester County, NJ, is more than 1,100 miles away from Mobile, AL.

New Jersey law does not require voter ID or signatures of witnesses for mail-in ballots.

In contrast, Alabama’s absentee vote-by-mail process features safeguards to ensure the integrity of its process. In our state, voters must apply for an absentee ballot with a photocopy of a valid voter ID. After a successful application, a voter must get the signature of two witnesses or a notary to return an absentee ballot by mail. This statutory process was kept in place for the November 3 election by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, despite a challenge by groups such as the NAACP and SPLC.

Learn more about Alabama’s absentee voting here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

Group offering Black Belt pastors money ‘per person’ they get to vote early

(Pixabay, YHN)

Yellowhammer News has obtained a flier being distributed in Choctaw County offering pastors money in exchange for getting people to vote early via absentee ballot.

The flier was created by the much-maligned Alabama New South Coalition, which has previously come under fire for distributing racially charged and incendiary political rhetoric. The group is predominantly African-American and supports Democratic candidates for office; former State Sen. Hank Sanders (D-Selma) is the group’s president emeritus.

Entitled “March To The Polls,” the coalition’s flyer is also being run in a local newspaper and is addressed to local pastors. Choctaw County is in the Black Belt and Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.

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“Anybody that vote early before October 29th your church will get $6.00 per person,” the flyer begins. “We will verify if they have registered and checks will be dispersed after October 29th.”

“Please help us spread to word to the local churches in your area. We are asking you to exercise special leadership in the New South March To The Polls Initiative,” it continues. “This is a special early vote effort.”

“We are asking and urging you to organize Marches To The Polls between now and October 29th, 2020 to ensure that our people vote,” the flyer adds.

The flyer was signed by the local coordinator for the coalition and the group’s state director.

(Click for high quality image)

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill said, “This is not against the law. It is considered a charitable donation.”

“The Sheriff in Choctaw County is aware of this message going around,” he continued. “Our attorney has looked into this solicitation as well and has found no instance of intentionally attempting to influence a voter. It is certainly not advised that this practice be promoted or encouraged.”

Alabama New South Alliance, which is Alabama New South Coalition’s political arm, has endorsed U.S. Senator Doug Jones’ (D-AL) reelection bid and the presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden in this cycle.

Yellowhammer News examined federal campaign finance records and found that the respective campaigns of Jones and Biden have given the Alliance and Coalition at least $296,200 combined, starting with Jones’ 2017 special election victory.

Each campaign reported giving the Alliance $25,000 this year for “printing & distributing sample ballots.”

In 2017, Jones paid the Alliance $49,000 for serving as a “consultant.” His campaign that cycle also paid the Alliance $192,000 for “canvassing.”

On the state level, the group has received funds from the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee and the Alabama AFL-CIO. Democratic gubernatorial Walt Maddox’s campaign paid the Alliance a total of $102,400 in the 2018 cycle. While $50,000 of that total was purportedly for “GOTV” (get out the vote), $35,000 was labeled for “consultants/polling” and $15,000 was designated as being for “advertising.”

During the 2017 and 2018 cycles, Alabama New South Alliance was registered as a federal “Super PAC,” technically known as an independent expenditure-only committee. The group terminated its FEC registration in summer 2019.

Choctaw County is not the only jurisdiction the Coalition and Alliance are currently working in to get locals to the polls ahead of November 3.

Recent reporting by The Greene County Democrat revealed that the “March to the Polls Project” is underway in Greene County, which is also located in the Black Belt and Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.

The Coalition’s website says the organization has local chapters in 40 Alabama counties.

Editor’s note: This article originally noted that State Sen. Vivian Davis Figures (D-Mobile) is listed as being on the Coalition’s board on the group’s website. Figures has informed Yellowhammer News that she is no longer on the board.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 weeks ago

Doug Jones receives 82.7% of individual contributions from out-of-state in Q3

(D. Jones/Facebook, Wikicommons, YHN)

U.S. Senator Doug Jones’ (D-AL) reelection campaign has filed its financial disclosure covering the third quarter of 2020, and the latest report reinforced that Jones is receiving an overwhelming majority of his funding from outside of Alabama.

Yellowhammer News, as in past quarters, analyzed the report that was filed with the FEC on Thursday and covers July 1 – September 30.

Jones received a total of $10,439,023.69 and spent $11,312,487.72, for a burn rate of 108.37%. This left the junior senator with $7,909,639.98 on hand at the end of Q3.

Looking specifically at the itemized individual contributions Jones reported in the period, which totaled $4,485,985.08, Jones raised 82.70% from out-of-state ($3,709,951.87) compared to 17.30% ($776,033.21) from Alabamians.

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Jones raised more in itemized individual contributions from residents of California alone ($975,778.20) than from his own home state.

Combined, funds from California, New York and the Washington, D.C. area accounted for 41.22% of Jones’ total itemized individual contributions.

Looking at Jones’ individual itemized contributors themselves, 41.78% self-identified as being “not employed.” An additional 5.74% reported being “retired.”

As far as contributors with jobs, Big Tech seems to love Jones. He received $11,802.47 from Facebook employees and $37,844.89 from Google employees. Google was Jones’ largest employer source for individual contributors, while Facebook was fourth.

In addition to individual itemized contributions, Jones also received a hefty sum, $645,332.24, from PACs and joint fundraising committees during the period. This included $49,600 from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and $68,240.23 from the Green Senate Victory Fund, a fundraising apparatus comprised of national environmental groups that support the Green New Deal.

It is important to note that these numbers only include direction contributions to Jones’ campaign itself and does not account for expenditures made by PACs on behalf of Jones’ campaign.

In a statement Friday, National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Paige Lindgren said Jones’ out-of-state fundraising and large spending still have him down double-digits to Republican nominee Tommy Tuberville ahead of the November 3 general election.

“Despite his best efforts, anti-Trump Democrat Doug Jones’ message is not resonating in Alabama,” stated Lindgren. “Alabamians want someone who will accurately represent conservative values in the Senate. Jones has proven he is only interested in serving his party, not his constituents, and he’s running out of time and money to change anything in this race.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 weeks ago

Doug Jones campaigns for Biden-Harris… in Ohio — ‘We’re going to change this country’

(Doug Jones, Kamala Harris/Facebook, J. Stephen Conn/Flickr, YHN)

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) continues to campaign — just not necessarily to his own constituents.

Jones in a Wednesday Facebook livestream said that his campaign schedule precluded him from even watching any of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing this week during business hours.

However, Jones apparently did have time in the middle of the day Thursday to campaign virtually to Democrats in Ohio, a presidential battleground state.

As seen on Facebook and confirmed by a media report in Ohio, Alabama’s junior senator spoke on behalf of the Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). The event was held virtually on Facebook but its stated target area and host site was Steubenville, OH.

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Jefferson County (Ohio) Democratic Party Chairman Robert Martin hosted the livestream. Steubenville is the county seat of Jefferson County, OH.

“It’s always a pleasure to be with friends in Ohio,” Jones said at the beginning of his remarks. “It’s especially an honor to be here today … in support of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

He continued to stress that he has considered Biden a friend and mentor since 1978. Jones recently had Biden campaign for him virtually in Alabama, and the former vice president campaigned for Jones in his 2017 special election bid.

Jones on Thursday did not address the bombshell reporting that emerged this week regarding Biden’s ties to the foreign business dealings of his son, Hunter.

“I pledge to work, do everything I can when I get back in the Senate — and I’m gunna get back, by the way,” Jones said to the Ohio Democrats. “I know I’ve got a tough race, I’m gunna get back there, by the way. I’m going to be there with Sherrod (Brown), and we’re going to do a lot of great things in a Biden and Harris administration and a new Democratic U.S. Senate.”

“Together, we’re going to change this country,” he added.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 weeks ago

Sessions to Tuberville: ‘I support you 100%’

(Tuberville Campaign/Youtube/Screenshot)

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions joined his former Republican primary opponent former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville on the campaign trail in recent days, and the pair released a video Thursday where Sessions urged voters to reject incumbent Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

According to the Tuberville campaign, Sessions joined the former coach at meetings with leaders of Huntsville’s defense and technology sectors, “participated in an event sponsored by the Republican Women of Huntsville, and headlined multiple campaign fundraising events.”

“Tommy, I support you 100%,” Sessions begins the video.

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Sessions’ support of Tuberville was never in doubt. He endorsed the coach’s campaign on stage while conceding the primary runoff in July. The Alabama politics stalwart is now doubling down on his support for the Republican nominee.

“Alabama must send you to represent us in the Senate. We cannot allow a Chuck Schumer acolyte — Doug Jones — to represent Alabama in the Senate,” argues Sessions in the video.

Tuberville thanks Sessions for his support and in a statement described him as a “man of his word.”

“Jeff Sessions understands that it’s time we once again had a U.S. senator whose votes reflect our conservative Alabama values, not the ultra-liberal Hollywood and New York values of Doug Jones’s high-dollar, out-of-state campaign donors,” said Tuberville.

Sessions further comments in the video that he feels good about Tuberville’s chances in November.

“I know you’re going to win. I feel really good about it, and I’m glad that you’re traveling the state hard,” he remarks.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95