7 months ago

Merrill officially running for Senate — ‘It’s time for us to stand up’

MONTGOMERY — In front of approximately 150 cheering friends, family and supporters on the south steps of the Alabama State Capitol, Secretary of State John Merrill on Tuesday officially declared his Republican candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2020.

The event was certainly the most widely attended campaign announcement of the cycle thus far, and Merrill — well known as a tenacious campaigner and tireless worker — brings authentic energy to an extremely competitive primary field of Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Merrill, 55, came out of the gates playing offense, releasing a video to coincide with his announcement that took small shots at his leading competitors.

Watch:

At his event, Merrill was joined by many prominent grassroots activists from across the state, along with some well known political faces, including Alabama House Rules Committee Chairman Mike Jones (R-Andalusia), State Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville) and former State Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle).

Merrill emphasized that although all of the other GOP candidates in the race have certain positives, he would not be running if he thought any of them could do a better job as Alabama’s next U.S. senator.

He explained that people started coming to him in January asking him to consider a run.

Over the course of this year since then, Merrill has heard from many different people wanting a consensus candidate that can unite the Alabama Republican Party and defeat Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in 2020. According to Merrill, he is running to be that candidate that is a unifying force among conservatives.

He said he met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in February right before the State of the Union and has also visited with Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) regarding the race. Both senior senators, according to Merrill, emphasized that their priority is to see a Republican nominee that can defeat Jones, help advance President Donald Trump’s agenda and keep the Republicans in the Senate majority.

Merrill said he has looked up to Shelby for a long time since he was an intern in the nation’s capital in 1984.

“I will continue to rely on him (Shelby) for guidance and counsel because of his experience and the things he’s done,” Merrill commented on his plans if elected. “But we’re always going to put Alabama first, and we’re always going to do everything we can to make America great.”

He said he has had the general desire to be a U.S. senator for a long time, going back to his college days.

An interesting talking point Merrill stressed was on fixing the immigration and border security “fiasco” in America. He slammed Democrats and Republicans alike for not solving the problem before now, saying that members of both parties just want to keep the situation in crisis to use as political red meat and a campaign “cash cow.”

Merrill said that agriculture is Alabama’s number one industry, and people in the state need a legal immigration system that allows migrant workers to properly enter the country and contribute to the American economy. He said that he wants anyone who wants to immigrate to the United States to be able to but that all immigrants must do so “the right way” — through legal channels.

“We have to have someone go to Washington, D.C. who’s willing to support the president and help the president build the wall to stop the immigration fiasco that’s currently ongoing in our nation,” Merrill remarked.

He also spoke more about how Jones is better suited to represent California, New York or Illinois than Alabama, saying Jones’ values and priorities simply do not match the clear majority of his constituents.

“It’s time for us to stand up … Alabama needs someone who will stand up to socialists AOC, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi, and I’ll do that, just like I did when I defeated the ACLU and liberal special interests,” Merrill said.

“I can tell you this, the people behind me and the people in the 67 counties of this state … do not want a liberal socialist representing them in Washington, D.C.,” he added of Jones.

The secretary of state also reminded people of his work to ensure all eligible Alabamians have their right to vote safeguarded, reiterating his tagline of, “Easy to vote, hard to cheat.”

Merrill, responding to a question from The Montgomery Advertiser’s Brian Lyman, ended any speculation that he will resign from his current office to run for the Senate. He explained that the secretary of state office’s job duties do not present a conflict of interest in running for a statewide office at the same time. It should also be noted that the secretary of state is an elected position and no one called for Merrill to resign when he was running for reelection in 2018 while overseeing that election cycle.

He branded himself as a “proven” choice, citing his tenure in the state House from 2010-2014 and as secretary of state as being marked with pro-jobs conservative reforms, including streamlining business filings to become same-day electronic filings now.

Merrill, a former SGA president at the University of Alabama who represented Tuscaloosa in the House, threw in a big, “Roll Tide” during his speech.

He continued, “Now, let me say this in deference to my friends from Lee County, whom I have many: I want you to know I can say, ‘War Eagle.'”

As a native of Wedowee, Merrill said ensuring rural Alabamians are equally represented in the Senate will be a key priority of his.

Watch the entire event:

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

9 hours ago

Alabama voting rights activist jailed on drug charges while on bond for capital murder charge

An Alabama activist is jailed on assault and other charges.

Records show 54-year-old Kenneth Glasgow was being held without bond at the Houston County Jail on Tuesday.

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He was arrested Saturday on charges including drug possession, assault and evidence tampering.

Police tell news outlets that Glasgow struggled with an officer who tried to arrest him after finding crack inside his pocket.

Glasgow has worked for years to register prisoners to vote inside Alabama jails and prisons.

He was charged with capital murder in 2018 after a fatal shooting but was out on bond.

He’s the half-brother of nationally known activist Al Sharpton.

 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

RELATED: Al Sharpton’s half-brother, already facing Alabama capital murder charges, arrested again

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10 hours ago

Hurts: Time back in Alabama going ‘really well’ — ‘Love’ for Bama will ‘never go away’

MOBILE — The Senior Bowl Week Media Day was held on Tuesday at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center, and former University of Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts had droves of reporters on hand hoping to capture yet another classic Hurts press conference. The humble Hurts did not disappoint.

To kick off his remarks, Hurts commented once again on being back in the Yellowhammer State. He, of course, played at Oklahoma this past season as a graduate transfer from Tuscaloosa. Hurts finished as the runner-up in the 2019 Heisman Trophy voting.

“I think being here and being back in this state is [going] really well. I’m having this opportunity to play in this game and showcase my abilities and show what I’m made of. I’m thankful for it, I’m appreciative of it. And I’m ready to attack it,” Hurts said.

Asked on a follow-up question to compare the Alabama and Oklahoma fanbases, he responded, “I have a lot of respect for both universities. Both have rich tradition, history. I appreciate all the support.”

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The quarterback would later say both programs have “great coaches.”

RELATED: Hurts on Saban: ‘We always had a love for each other … our relationship will never die’

Of the universities, Hurts added, “The appreciation I have for them both, the love I have for them both, it’ll never go away. The way that they’ve accepted me, both schools, not many people can say that they’ve experienced that or they have that … so I’m thankful for it.”

Hurts said that during Senior Bowl Week and in the game on Saturday, he simply wants to “be the best version of” himself. He listed executing, learning and being a “student of the game” as priorities.

The former Tide star was also asked if he has had the opportunity to visit with the outgoing Bama players at the Senior Bowl, his former teammates Jared Mayden, Terrell Lewis, Raekwon Davis and Anfernee Jennings.

“Yes, sir,” Hurts answered. “It’s been well [sic]. Great seeing them. Good to be out there on the practice field with them again. I think they have the same approach I have in terms of maximizing this opportunity.”

RELATED: Bama’s Jared Mayden glad to be reunited with ‘natural leader’ Jalen Hurts for Senior Bowl

Hurts later quipped that he plays with “a boulder” on his shoulder rather than merely “a chip.”

Asked about the reception he expected back in the state of Alabama and what it has been like so far, Hurts commented, “It’s been pretty hectic so far — in a good way. Just being back here, a lot of love. I’m appreciative of it all.”

“I get on the elevator, one of the workers at the hotel we’re staying at — she let me have it in terms of just screaming,” he continued with a smile. “‘Jalen Hurts is really on my elevator,’ just stuff like that. That’s special to me, and I know it won’t be like that forever. I’m just soaking it all in.”

You can watch Hurts’ full interview below:

Media Day followed the Senior Bowl Week introductory press conference that was held Monday evening.

RELATED: Senior Bowl Week kicks off in Mobile as director praises ‘beloved’ Jalen Hurts — ‘He’s come so far’

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

Byrne: Impeachment is nothing to smile about

For three years now, the American people have been forced to endure the efforts by Democrats and the liberal mainstream media to impeach President Trump and remove him from office in the face of his clear electoral victory in 2016. They have tried everything, from a needless special prosecutor investigation, which resulted in nothing, to an Adam Schiff-coached whistleblower who admitted he had no firsthand information and relied on news articles by that same liberal media.

The farce produced just two articles of impeachment, neither of which alleges “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” as required by the Constitution. An unprecedented and totally partisan process in the House produced nothing that Democrats could even allege is impeachable.

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Then Nancy Pelosi, after insisting for weeks that impeachment couldn’t wait and had to be done by Christmas, held onto the articles, refusing to send them to the Senate as is required. This prolonged the spotlight on her, as the ever-worshipful liberal media gushed over her political brilliance, ignoring the inconvenient fact that her strategy of forcing the Senate to adopt her preferred process for the trial completely failed.

The Constitution is clear. While the House has “the sole Power of Impeachments,” the Senate has “the sole Power to try Impeachments.” And the Constitution clearly states that each house of Congress sets its own rules. Pelosi had no right or power to dictate trial rules to the Senate. Her behavior was unconstitutional and brought embarrassment and dishonor on the House. So, I filed a resolution censoring the speaker for her inappropriate behavior.

Finally, last week as Democrats began to abandon Pelosi’s position, she relented, and the House appointed seven “managers” to present the House’s articles and “case” to the Senate. Led by Schiff, who literally made-up words for the transcript of President Trump’s call to the President of Ukraine in his first day of impeachment “hearings,” and by the bumbling and incompetent Jerry Nadler, the House managers will finally have to behave according to the rules of a truly fair process, presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the competent John Roberts, who will tolerate none of the misbehavior the Democrats repeatedly engaged in as this mess moved through the House.

Pelosi couldn’t stand to lose her spotlight, and, in one last shameful act, had a “signing ceremony” where she and other Democrats smiled and laughed as she pronounced President Trump “impeached forever” and handed out pens. Even some of her adoring fans in the liberal media said she went too far.

What now? The Senate will meet every day except for Sundays beginning at 1:00 p.m. Every senator must attend. They cannot talk or bring electronic devices. They will initially hear the House managers’ “case” for the articles of impeachment, and then the president’s lawyers will finally be allowed to present his case. Be prepared for the House managers to be longwinded and ineffective. Be prepared for the president’s team to be briefer and speak clearly to the essential points of weakness in the articles. Then senators will be allowed to ask questions through Chief Justice Roberts.

What happens next is unclear. Will the Senate dismiss the articles? Will they acquit the president? Will they unnecessarily delay things further by calling witnesses? We don’t know.

But, we do know that not a single Republican voted for these articles in the House and even a few Democrats voted against them. One Democrat changed parties over the vote. We also know there are not nearly enough senators to meet the two-thirds threshold to remove President Trump from office. And we know this will have all been a complete waste of time.

This fall, in the general election, the American people will finally have their say, as the framers of our Constitution intended. I predict Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler won’t be smiling.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope. He is a 2020 candidate for the U.S. Senate.

11 hours ago

Watch: Jessica Taylor touts ‘humble roots’, takes aim at ‘The Squad’ in first TV ad

Jessica Taylor, an attorney in Prattville seeking the Republican nomination for Alabama’s second congressional district, released her first television advertisement on Tuesday.

The ad, which is titled “My Squad,” is mostly composed of footage and soundbites from Taylor’s viral announcement video that garnered national attention.

The video begins by touting Taylor’s “humble roots,” and the candidate goes on to say she wants “to protect life, the Second Amendment, our borders and President Trump from socialists in the swamp”

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Taylor’s competitors in the March 3 Republican Primary will be former Alabama Attorney General Troy King, former State Representative Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman.

According to Taylor’s campaign, the spot “will air on broadcast and cable over the next two weeks in the Montgomery media market beginning this Wednesday.”

Predictably in an ad titled “My Squad,” the spot makes references to “The Squad” while displaying images of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

The Squad” is a group of four U.S. Representatives that are new to Congress, female and represent the furthest left wing of the Democratic Party. Cortez and Omar are two members of “The Squad” that have generated particular ire among Republican primary voters.

As a response to “The Squad,” Taylor led the effort to create the “Conservative squad,” which is composed of four female conservative Republicans currently seeking election to the House.

In a statement sent to reporters that accompanied the ad, Taylor said one of her goals in Congress would be to “fight back against radical socialists like AOC and Ilhan Omar.”

The spot also continues to use the language and iconography of basketball, which Taylor grew up playing.

“Alabama, put me in the game!” proclaims Taylor to conclude.

Watch:

13 hours ago

Bama’s Jared Mayden glad to be reunited with ‘natural leader’ Jalen Hurts for Senior Bowl

MOBILE — Reunited and it feels so good. That was the sentiment expressed by one of Jalen Hurts’ former University of Alabama Crimson Tide teammates during the Senior Bowl Week Media Day on Tuesday.

Hurts, of course, played for the Oklahoma Sooners this past season as a graduate transfer from Alabama. He finished as the runner-up in the 2019 Heisman Trophy voting.

He will play for the South Team during Saturday’s Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, as will the Tide’s Jared Mayden, Terrell Lewis, Raekwon Davis and Anfernee Jennings.

As captured by Yellowhammer News, Mayden spoke with reporters during Media Day about how it feels being on the same field — and the same team — as Hurts once again.

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“It means a lot,” Mayden stressed. “Especially since he’s on my team [as opposed to playing against him on the North Team]. I’m glad he’s on my team because Jalen’s a leader, a natural leader. He doesn’t have to try too hard. It just seems like it comes natural to him. I know he’ll probably have some things to say that’ll get everybody ready to play. He did it at Bama; I expect no less from him [now]. So I’m excited to get the opportunity to play with him again.”

If you missed Yellowhammer’s coverage of the start of Senior Bowl Week, read more here.

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