2 weeks ago

Mooney to run first TV ad in Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate race

Yellowhammer News on Thursday learned that State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) will be the first of Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate candidates to go up on television with an advertisement.

A source with direct knowledge confirmed to Yellowhammer News that the ad buy will be in the six-figures and begin in the next day. The buy will be statewide and run for a week.

Yellowhammer News has also obtained an online link to the ad, which can be viewed below.

The ad, put together by nationally renowned political media guru Fred Davis, centers on Mooney’s Christian faith.

However, the video might be most memorable for one very specific moment.

No spoilers — this is an ad you have to see for yourself to get the full effect.

Watch:

In a statement to Yellowhammer News about the ad, Mooney commented, “The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is the most important thing in my life and guides my whole world view.”

“I want Alabama Christians to know I am the candidate in this race who will stand for them, that they can rely on,” he added.

Taking a look at the race

Mooney is serving his second term in the Alabama House of Representatives, representing parts of Shelby County.

He has been endorsed by the Senate Conservatives Fund and national conservative leaders like U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and media pundit Mark Levin in the GOP Senate primary. Mooney, who also has the support of Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05), qualified with the Alabama Republican Party on Tuesday. Qualifying ends on November 8.

Mooney is in a competitive field of declared candidates, led by former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Secretary of State John Merrill.

Due to low name identification, Mooney has been consistently polling within the margin of error of zero in the race.

However, this ad buy signals a strategy to raise his name identification and introduce voters to Mooney as a Christian conservative. With polling at this point in the campaign being driven mainly by name identification, Mooney could move his poll numbers closer to the rest of the pack if the ad buy works as intended.

Moore is — and has been for almost two decades now — running in the evangelical lane, and Mooney could very well want to give those voters a more electable alternative with less baggage.

However, as a fresh face on the statewide stage, he will also hope to brand himself as more than just a strong evangelical, as absorbing some of Moore’s base will not nearly be enough on its own for Mooney to make a runoff.

If the current ad buy is successful, the next hurdle for Mooney will be eating into another occupied lane — namely, the “America First” one that constitutes the biggest internal GOP battlefield right now.

Beyond Mooney’s own campaign, the ad buy could serve as a marker for other candidates to get more aggressive — whether that means a digital ad buy or something else to capture the attention of a significant number of voters.

Tuberville has carved out his place as leader of the GOP field in the race to unseat Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), and the other campaigns are currently jockeying for the second-place position in a runoff.

There are currently 144 days until the March 3 primary, yet much of that time will be over the holiday season in which fundraising and reaching voters gets significantly harder.

The latest finance reports, covering the third fundraising quarter of 2019, are due on Tuesday.

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

2 mins ago

Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce launches initiative to support local startups

The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday launched a new  initiative to help boost the River Region’s entrepreneurial  ecosystem.

The new “Work Together” business studio and coworking space located at 600 S. Court Street in Montgomery will be more than just a physical space, according to a press release.

Starting in 2020, “it will also feature dynamic programming and events focused on creating a haven for makers, creatives, small businesses, entrepreneurs, freelancers and the community to connect, innovate, create and learn.”

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The Work Together location offers flexible space for working, training and community building that can accommodate up to 100 individuals and includes WIFI and audio-visual resources. Additional smaller spaces inside Work Together provide areas for small group or one-on-one meetings, and it also offers a conference room set-up that can accommodate up to 10 people.

The chamber announced the new initiative at InnovateMGM, a half-day event celebrating  those who are innovating within traditional and non-traditional businesses, start-ups and creative ventures.

The event served as a taste of the community building that Work Together aims to provide, which goes far beyond the limits of a physical gathering space and seeks to provide meaningful programming that empowers users to achieve their greatest potential.

In a statement, Montgomery Area Chamber Chairman Willie Durham said, “Supporting and strengthening our start up and entrepreneur community is one of our biggest priorities at the Chamber.”

“Our mission is to connect people to people and people to resources and this space allows us to do just that,” he continued. “By providing the training and the space for creatives and entrepreneurs to connect, we are enhancing our ability to build community, elevate the quality of life of the region and ensure the prosperity of our business community.”

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

39 mins ago

Clyde Chambliss named 2019’s ‘Outstanding Public Official’ by American Society of Civil Engineers

State Senator Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) was recently named the 2019 Outstanding Public Official by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

ASCE’s Committee on Advancing the Profession selected Chambliss to receive the prestigious national honor for “impeccable service and dedication to the State of Alabama, as well as to the civil engineering profession and land surveying professionals.”

“Instituted in 1963, the award is made to those members of ASCE who have contributed substantially to the status of the engineering profession by meritorious public service in elective or appointive positions in civil government,” Lawren Pratt, the ASCE member who nominated Chambliss for the award, advised in a statement.

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During his tenure in the Alabama Senate, Chambliss has led the effort to reform and modernize government regulations on the engineering profession. He was first elected in 2014 and reelected in 2018.

In 2018, Chambliss helped write and pass Senate Bill 316, which required Qualification Based Selection (QBS) to be included in the State Administrative Code and added two public members to the Alabama Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors.

Brad Williams, P.E., president of the Alabama section of ASCE, praised Chambliss’ leadership.

“Senate Bill 316 led to one of the strongest QBS laws in the nation; it would not have passed without Senator Chambliss’s leadership,” Williams outlined.

Chambliss and his wife, Tara, also a civil engineer, own and operate a civil engineering firm that provides engineering services to small towns, water systems and developers in central Alabama.

“Senator Chambliss’ knowledge of our profession as a practicing Professional Engineer was instrumental in how he was able to lead meetings, mediate between parties of differing interests, and educate legislative members on the importance of QBS,” Williams added.

In accepting the award, Chambliss said that he appreciated the collaboration between legislators and professionals in the engineering field that led to the passage of SB316.

“It is such an honor to be recognized by my peers and colleagues with this award. Passage of SB316 was truly a group effort, and I appreciate the work of my engineer and surveyor peers in the development of such a great piece of legislation. I also want to thank my legislative colleagues for their support in voting for the bill, and Governor Ivey for signing it into law,” Chambliss said.

Chambliss was recently named as a member of the 2019 Yellowhammer Power & Influence 40.

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

Byrne: How do you solve a problem like Syria?

Recent developments in Syria highlight the need for the United States to revisit its broader Middle Eastern policy.

Early last week, I joined a small meeting of House Republicans for an update on Syria from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper where he discussed a phone call from President Erdogan of Turkey to President Trump.

During that call, Erdogan notified President Trump that after years of waiting at the Syrian border, Turkish troops would finally cross over. He assured that Turkey was not coming after our troops but targeting certain Kurdish factions they consider terrorists. He gave President Trump 48 hours to relocate the two dozen or so American troops stationed on the border.

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President Trump was faced with a difficult decision. Ultimately, he decided to remove American servicemembers from harm’s way to prevent a full-blown conflict with Turkey.

Turkey’s incursion into Syria is wrong and very troubling. Erdogan should never treat our president and our country the way he did on the phone call. There will be serious consequences for his behavior.

I support seeking methods of leverage with Turkey that do not endanger our troops.

After President Trump proposed harsh economic sanctions, the administration negotiated a cease-fire with Turkey. The cease-fire has been shaky at best, but it probably prevented many more deaths in the region.

This is happening in the context of a greater strategic problem in the Middle East. For at least a decade, we’ve lacked a well-defined mission. What are our interests in the Middle East? What do we do to pursue and protect those interests?

Since coming to Congress and serving on the House Armed Services Committee, I have not seen a strategic, conventional interest for the U.S. in Syria, other than destroying the ISIS caliphate.

To be sure, Kurdish forces were the largest part of the successful campaign against the caliphate, and we need to stand by them as best we can under these challenging circumstances.

But Syria is a failed state. It is bewildering the number of groups in some form of combat. With so many factions, it is often difficult to know who the good guys are. Problems between the Turks and Kurds will persist for generations, but this dispute is one of many combustible problems in the Middle East today. Just weeks ago, Iran attacked our Saudi Arabian ally.

We need to work with our allies to determine our strategic goals and how to reach them. We should continue providing assistance to our allies, including the Kurds, but progress requires buy-in from all of our allies in the region.

Turkey, as a NATO member, does currently play a role in supporting our alliance goals. Turkey is the home of an important U.S. airbase and many other critical NATO assets including U.S. nuclear weapons.

However, Turkey’s actions cast serious doubts on whether they will honor their NATO commitments going forward, and frank discussions between Trump, Erdogan and other NATO leaders are needed.

We must be tough with Turkey. I still believe strong sanctions to weaken and punish Turkey are needed, and I signed on as an original cosponsor to Liz Cheney’s resolution to impose very tough sanctions.

After the Turkish incursion, I was disappointed that the House hastily put forward a resolution condemning President Trump’s actions without knowing the full facts. The very next day, I received a classified briefing shedding more light on his tough decision. I think everyone in Congress should have access to these classified briefings to gain a fuller understanding of what happened.

Instead of attacking the president, we need to have sincere bipartisan conversations and propose concrete solutions for Syria and the Middle East. On critical national security issues, we must put America first.

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

3 hours ago

‘Shame on you’: Jones slams Trump for comparing impeachment probe to ‘lynching’

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) is urging President Donald Trump to visit the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)’s Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery to see “what lynching actually looks like” after the president invoked the term when complaining about the ongoing House impeachment probe into him.

On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted, “So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!”

In sharing the tweet directly, Jones commented, “No sir!”

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“No, @realdonaldtrump: this is NOT a lynching, and shame on you for invoking such a horrific act that was used as a weapon to terrorize and murder African Americans,” the senator continued.

“If you want to know what lynching actually looks like, go to [EJI] in Montgomery, Alabama,” Jones concluded.

RELATED: Jones on Trump: ‘Appears to be evidence of abuse of power’

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

3 hours ago

Jessica Taylor appears on ‘Fox & Friends’ after viral AL-02 rollout

Jessica Taylor, a Republican businesswoman and lawyer from Prattville, is off to a hot start in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02).

Taylor announced her candidacy for Alabama’s Second Congressional District on Monday by releasing an almost two-minute introductory campaign video.

That seems to be all it took for her campaign to make an early splash.

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The video quickly racked up hundreds of thousands of views on social media and received praise from popular conservative Twitter accounts and pundits. The Daily Caller even published an article initially entitled, “Did This Alabama Businesswoman Just Release The Best Campaign Ad Of The Season?”

Whether or not the ad was the “best,” it certainly has drawn serious attention to the campaign within Republican primary circles just within 24 hours.

This was evidenced by Taylor on Tuesday morning landing a prime “Fox & Friends” interview on Fox News Channel.

During the appearance, Taylor discussed why she is running to take on “The Squad” and other socialist Democrats. She also highlighted her conservative campaign platform.

“[W]e need a new generation of conservatives,” Taylor said. “Folks who can go toe to toe with people like AOC and her ‘squad’ who believe that socialism is a legitimate ideology that our nation should embrace. I’m pro-life, pro-2nd amendment, pro-wall and pro-Trump — and I won’t apologize for it!”

When asked by co-host Brian Kilmeade whether it concerns her that the socialist ideology is growing in popularity in America, Taylor responded, “Absolutely! It concerns me greatly and that’s why I’m running. That’s what this campaign is about. We have got to get back to our fundamental values. Our freedom is at stake here.”

Watch:

Other announced GOP candidates in AL-02 include former Alabama Attorney General Troy King, former Business Council of Alabama chairman Jeff Coleman, former State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and State Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville).

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