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6 days ago

Once upon a time, Robert Bentley was Alabama’s Donald Trump

We all love a good underdog story (unless it involves Alabama or Auburn, that is).

The 1980 “Miracle on Ice” Olympic hockey upset, Villanova defeating Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA National Championship game, Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson for boxing’s World Heavyweight Title – those are some of the memorable upsets in American sports history.

They happen in politics as well. Some would argue President Donald Trump’s 2016 election win would fall under the category of an upset. It was thought, up until as late as 8 p.m. election night in 2016, Hillary Clinton would be the country’s next president.

Then, Trump had unlikely Electoral College victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. He becomes the next president and those in the media world are stunned.

Long before the long-shot candidacy of Trump, there was the long-shot candidacy of Robert Bentley. When Bentley announced he would run for governor in the 2010 campaign, very few took him seriously.

Even from the start, he was running behind in campaign money with the well-funded campaigns of Tim James and Bradley Byrne. He also had the problem of overcoming Roy Moore as a competitor, who had a loyal cult following – a lesson Luther Strange had to learn just last year.

For many, people saw Bentley’s run as a vanity play – perhaps even a “get acquainted” race for a future political bid. They dismissed then-candidate Bentley’s chance, much as they had denied Donald Trump after his famous escalator ride in 2015.

After the acts of a circular firing squad that often take place in these Republican primaries, there were two left in a runoff. Bradley Byrne and Tim James had a knock-down, slug-it-out fight. While they were duking it out, Bentley was slowly rising behind the scenes. At the end of what seemed like a two-year-long primary fight, it was Byrne and the unlikely Robert Bentley.

Byrne was never able to win over supporters of the other candidates entirely. The primary had proved so nasty that many of James’ voters either stayed home or voted for Bentley in protest of Byrne. Throw in some Democratic Party and AEA shenanigans and the unlikely fairy tale of Robert Bentley as governor becomes a reality.

He handily defeats Democrat Ron Sparks to become governor, and so begins the long, sordid saga of Bentley’s governorship.

The parallels between Trump and Bentley didn’t stop at election night. Even though he had served in the State House for almost eight years, he was still thought of as an outsider. And given that he wasn’t the top choice for many of the rank-and-file Republicans that ran Montgomery, he came into the governor’s mansion with a chip on his shoulder.

Much like Trump, Bentley brought in different people than what one might expect from a traditional Republican administration. In some ways, he was resented for that, much like Trump was when he was staffing his West Wing.

Here’s where they part ways: Yes, both Bentley and Trump are alleged to have a “zipper problem,” as many politicians do when they rise to power. Trump handled his much differently.

Trump had been working the refs since the 1980s. He was a fixture in the New York City tabloids for decades. And somehow, it seemed to work for him. He might have been a philandering billionaire playboy, but he was their philandering billionaire playboy. For many years, that shtick worked for Trump.

He became one of the city’s favorite sons — that is until he decided to wade into Republican politics. After some flirtations with the Reform Party and the Democratic Party, Trump discovered his populist stripes, and with a little marketing and packaging, he won a presidential election.

Bentley didn’t have the luxury of a lowered bar. If Donald Trump cheats on his wife – well, we expected it. On the other hand, we didn’t expect it from Bentley, at least not during and shortly after his 2010 run.

Rumors had persisted around Montgomery, but at face value would you have expected that from Bentley? What woman in their right mind would entertain the idea of playing homewrecker with him?

Nonetheless, he didn’t handle it well, and the rest is history.

Here we are in 2018 and Bentley had apparently to embark upon an image rehabilitation campaign. He’s not the first disgraced governor to try this. George Wallace in his later years comes to mind. Don Siegelman is still waging one to this day.

Does this have any chance of success? Probably not.

In some ways, it is sad and pathetic. But, I wish Bentley the best of luck. If anything, it’ll be entertaining and likely drive some of my left-leaning media brethren in this state to apoplectic-like fits.

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

7 mins ago

WATCH: University of Alabama Police Department completes lip sync battle featuring ‘Sweet Home Alabama’

Monday, The University of Alabama posted a video of their campus police department participating in a lip sync battle against Clemson University.

UAPD chose “Sweet Home Alabama” as their song and, afterward, challenged all other SEC schools to join in on the competition.

Watch the full video here.

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

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14 mins ago

Rep. Byrne: Illegal immigrants will not be housed in Baldwin County

Tuesday, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) announced that illegal immigrants would not be housed at Navy airfields in Baldwin County.

Congressman Byrne opposed the housing of 10,000 illegal immigrants at Naval Outlying Field Silverhill and Naval Outlying Field Wolf in south Baldwin County.

Byrne, along with other members of the Alabama and Florida Congressional delegation, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mattis and Secretary of Homeland Security Nielson expressing their concerns with the proposal.

Byrne released both a statement and a tweet on Tuesday regarding the decision of the proposal.

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“Housing illegal immigrants at ill-equipped airfields along the Gulf Coast was always a terrible idea, so I appreciate the confirmation that this plan is no longer being considered. We had a team effort to push back this flawed idea, and I especially want to thank Baldwin County Commissioners Chris Elliott and Tucker Dorsey and Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack for their advocacy on this issue,” said Byrne in a news release.

He added, “While I am glad this issue is resolved, we must continue working to secure the border and eliminate the need for additional housing for illegal immigrants altogether. I remain 100% committed to working with President Trump to build a border wall, hire additional border patrol officers, and ensure our border security is as strong as possible.”

Click here to read the full letter ICE Deputy Director Ronald Vitiello sent to Rep. Byrne regarding the decision.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and also contributes weekly to The Daily Caller

43 mins ago

Liberal heckler hurls object, expletives at Doug Jones — Jones says ‘there’s just as many people passionate on the other side’

After a liberal heckler hurled an object and expletives at Sen. Doug Jones at a town hall Monday, Alabama’s junior senator compared the incident, which ended with police officers hauling the agitator out, to peaceful conservative efforts to persuade Jones to vote to confirm President Trump’s nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

AL.com’s Howard Koplowitz reported that Jones indicated at the town hall that “conservatives in the state are trying to apply the same pressure on him as the woman at the Birmingham event,” referring to the protester.

Jones said, “There’s just as many people passionate on the other side, so that doesn’t make it real easy.”

While the pressure on Jones from the left has stooped to this kind of antic, conservative efforts have all been peaceful and respectful to this point. They are backed by the fact that a majority of Alabamians polled support Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

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The Judicial Crisis Network’s massive ad buy has been flooding Alabama’s airwaves since July 9, and the NRA started their own ambitious television campaign last week.

Concerned Women for America, a Christian women’s organization, is also focusing grassroots efforts on the state.

Sen. Richard Shelby voiced his strong support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation after meeting with him recently, but Jones remains undecided.

“Senator Doug Jones’ inability to make a decision on casting an Alabama vote for Judge Kavanaugh is disconcerting,” Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan told Yellowhammer News.

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

52 mins ago

Arab High School to dump ‘Dixie’ tradition at football games

A rural Alabama high school is ending its tradition of playing “Dixie” at football games.

John Mullins, superintendent of city schools in Arab, said he made the decision to quit playing the song at Arab (AY-rab) High School, but not because of any “external pressure.”

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Leaders in the educational system and the school board have talked for months about dropping the song, he said, and local news outlets reported in June that the longtime band director was retiring.

“While I fully understand the difficulty of changing a tradition, the song has negative connotations that contradict our school district’s core values of unity, integrity, and relationships,” Mullins said in a statement reported by WHNT-TV.

School bands throughout the South used to play “Dixie,” but the practice ended as the region got further away from legalized racial segregation.

The Arab High School Band has played “Dixie” after touchdowns for decades.

Students and staff at the school will vote on a new fight song after this football season.

In the meantime, the band will play an instrumental soul song that’s popular among marching bands, “The Horse.”

Census statistics show the town of about 8,200 people, located in northeastern Alabama, is more than 96 percent white.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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Rep. Byrne: ‘Great value’ found in traveling around district, speaking with local leaders

Each August, the House of Representatives typically enters a period of recess known as the August District Work Period. This is time set aside for Members of Congress to travel across their home districts visiting with the people they represent.

For me, this is incredibly valuable time that I can spend listening to my constituents and gaining a better understanding of the issues impacting our area. Here is just a quick highlight of my August District Work Period so far.

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As you probably already know, I love to hold town hall meetings throughout the First District to hear directly from the people I represent. This August, I am holding a “Better Off Now” Town Hall Tour with twelve stops in all six counties that make up the First District. So far, we have held town hall meetings in Salipta, Atmore, Brewton, Dauphin Island, Millry, Citronelle and Mobile. Later this month, we will make stops in Grand Bay, Monroeville, Seminole, Loxley and Spanish Fort. You can get all the details about the town halls online at Byrne.House.Gov/BetterOffTour.

Visiting local businesses and talking with employees is another priority for me in August. For example, I have already visited Olin in McIntosh, the Louisiana Pacific facility in Clarke County, Serda Brewing in Mobile, and Metal Shark Boats and Master Marine in Bayou La Batre, just to name a few. The visits help me learn firsthand how federal issues are directly impacting employers and employees in Southwest Alabama.

A really special opportunity was being able to ride along with UPS to help deliver packages on the Eastern Shore. I dressed up in the full UPS uniform, rode in the truck, and personally delivered packages. It really helped to step in the driver’s shoes and see the difficult work they do every day. I am especially grateful to Chris Dorgan for showing me the ropes.

Just last week, I hosted Chris Oliver, NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, down on Dauphin Island for a Red Snapper research trip. As one of the leading federal officials responsible for our fisheries, I welcomed the opportunity to show off the health of the Red Snapper stock in the Gulf, as well as the very impressive research being done locally by the University of South Alabama and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Also last week, I traveled to the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System in Biloxi to meet with the director and get an update on services for our veterans. As you may know, the Biloxi VA oversees most of our local VA facilities. It was a productive visit as I work to hold the VA accountable and ensure our veterans receive the care they deserve.

We had the annual Women’s Forum in downtown Mobile, which is organized by the Community Foundation of South Alabama. We had another outstanding crowd as local women had the opportunity to network and hear from speakers and panelists about issues important to them.

I find great value in holding roundtable discussions to hear directly from leaders about specific issues. With this in mind, we held separate roundtables with local school superintendents, economic developers from our area, and community leaders from Chatom. Each of these roundtables were very informative, and we have more scheduled later this month.

As you can probably tell, this August District Work Period has already been a huge success. The good news is that we are just getting started. I look forward to spending more time around Southwest Alabama throughout August to help me be the best Congressman possible.

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