Rumors and Rumblings, 2nd Ed. Vol. III
“Rumors and Rumblings” is a regular feature on Yellowhammer News. It is a compilation of the bits and pieces of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week.
1. Got Trump? We now have one candidate in, for sure, and one candidate out, for sure, since our last Rumors and Rumblings. Former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville announced he’s running. Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth announced he is not.
But a common approach developing in the campaigns of Tuberville and Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) is an attempt to demonstrate a connection to President Donald Trump through his political operation. Tuberville has engaged former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer for his campaign.
Now, it sounds as if Byrne’s team is in talks with former Trump official Andy Surabian to help Byrne with his bid to join the U.S. Senate. Steve Bannon has said Surabian was a “one man war room” during Trump’s campaign.
As one political observer told Yellowhammer News, “Hiring former Trump team members is the quickest way to establishing Trump street cred in a Republican primary.”
2. Congressman Mo Brooks (R-05) sent out invitations to a fundraiser in Huntsville taking place in two weeks, and it’s what is not on the invitation that has people talking. The invitation, a copy of which Yellowhammer News has seen, does not specify the office he is seeking. A candidate for federal office may utilize funds raised should they decide to seek a different federal office.
3. The confirmation of Finis E. “Fess” St. John, IV as chancellor of the University of Alabama System has opened up a seat on the board from Alabama’s fourth congressional district. Look for much jockeying to occur in the coming weeks for that coveted seat on the board.
The board is composed of three members from the congressional district in which the Tuscaloosa campus is located and two members from each of the other six congressional districts. The governor and the state superintendent of education are ex-officio members of the Board.
4. The anticipation of reprisal against those voting against the Rebuild Alabama infrastructure funding bill continues to emanate throughout the Alabama statehouse. The House of Representatives shifted around some committee assignments this week. Among the moves were Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan) replacing Rep. April Weaver (R-Alabaster) as chair of the House Health Committee and Rep. David Wheeler’s (R-Vestavia Hills) removal from House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure. Both Weaver and Wheeler voted “no” on the Rebuild Alabama bill.
Members of the legislature have also noted to Yellowhammer News that lobbyists have shied away from having legislators who voted “no” on the infrastructure package sponsor bills for them. Lobbyists are said to fear that bills sponsored by “no votes” will have little chance of passing this session. This apparent fear has left some members sponsoring more bills than usual.