The Wire

  • Decatur doctor accused of sexual assault responds to lawsuit

    Excerpt from WHNT:

    A Decatur doctor accused of sexually assaulting several of his patients is disputing all claims of wrongdoing. Dr. Michael Dick of Alabama Medicine and Rheumatology Clinic responded to a lawsuit filed on behalf of six women who claim to be his former patients. The doctor also filed a protective order asking a judge to stop the victims from sharing their stories with the media.

    A Birmingham-based attorney responded on behalf of Dr. Dick saying there is “no basis to contend he preys on female patients as alleged in the complaint.” The lawsuit filed against Dr. Dick says female members of the nursing staff were present with him. He says no misconduct took place, as alleged in the lawsuit. The response also says employees who work at the medical practice deny any misconduct.

  • Bobby Bright says ‘D.C. powerbrokers’ pushed Trump to endorse Martha Roby

    Excerpt from AL.com:

    Bobby Bright says ‘D.C. powerbrokers’ pushed Trump to endorse Martha Roby in Alabama’s District 2 race.

    “I understand politics and how Washington works. It appears the D.C. powerbrokers have gotten to the President on this issue. It’s truly a swamp of insiders controlled by big money special interests, the same crowd who’s bankrolling Martha Roby’s campaign to the tune of over $1 million just this year,” Bright said in a statement. “It’s a place where loyalty doesn’t exist. When you take that much money from D.C., New York and California, you lose sight of Alabama.”

    Incumbent Roby will face Bobby Bright — a former congressman she defeated in 2010 — in a runoff next month. Bright served one term in Congress as a Democrat, but switched parties to run against Roby in this year’s Republican primary.

  • Man accused of trying to run over police officer, charged with attempted murder

    Excerpt from ABC 33/40:

    A man accused of trying to run over a police officer was charged with attempted murder Friday, Shelby County authorities confirm.

    Chief Assistant District Attorney Roger Hepburn says Issai Serrano is the suspect connected with a Wednesday afternoon shooting involving an Alabaster Police officer. The shooting occurred at Morgan Road and South Shades Crest Road, said Hoover Police officers, who were the first to respond to the scene.

10 months ago

Want To Vote In Alabama’s Senate Runoff? Today’s Your Last Opportunity To Register

UPDATE: Since this story was posted, Governor Kay Ivey issued an extension to the deadline. Voters now have until 11:59 pm Tuesday, Sept 12th to register to vote in this election since state offices were closed today.
Related: Alabama Senate Race: Voter Registration Extended Through Tomorrow Due to Irma

On Sept. 26, Sen. Luther Strange and Roy Moore will face-off in a contest to decide who will represent the people of Alabama in the U.S. Senate. If you want to have a voice in the decision, then you better move quickly because today is the last day you can register to vote.

If you are not registered, the bad weather should be of no concern: Alabama residents can register online at the  Secretary of State’s website. Due to state voting laws, the period to register in an upcoming election is the 15th day before the election, making this run-off tonight at 11:59 P.M.

Sen. Strange and Moore first faced off in the primary, and both men are now fighting for the Senate seat held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions before his appointment by President Trump.

In the heavily contested Republican runoff, both candidates hope to have a much stronger turnout than in the primary.

1
1 year ago

State releases names of 92 candidates and PACs that failed to file annual campaign reports

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says that the days of candidates failing to comply with state campaign reporting laws are over. To prove it, he just released the names of 92 violators that have not yet submitted annual campaign finance reports for 2016.

“Our intention in releasing these names to the public is to further encourage candidates and PACs to bring their filings into compliance allowing the citizens of our state to review the extent of their fiscal responsibility,” Merrill said.

Annual reports were due on January 31. All names published by Secretary Merrill have also been turned in to the Attorney General’s Office and Ethics Commission.

Alabama law requires any candidate or political action committee that raises or spends $1,000 in a campaign year to submit a report to the state. Currently, there are no penalties for those who have not followed the rule, though the upcoming election season will soon bring significant changes.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, administrative penalties will be issued in the amounts of $300 (or 10% of contributions or expenditures not reported) for first time offenders, $600 (or 15% of contributions or expenditures not reported) for second time offenders, and $1,200 (or 20% of contributions or expenditures not reported) for third and subsequent offences respectively. Fines will be assessed and issued when candidates or PACs fail to meet the filing deadline.

You can view the names released by Secretary Merrill here.

1
2 years ago

Mo Brooks blasts media for ‘silencing’ Trump’s voter fraud warning

(Congressman Mo Brooks)

Last week, Donald Trump stirred controversy when he claimed that “millions” of votes were fraudulently cast against him. While many have sought to discredit the claim, Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks says that Trump’s warning should not be brushed off so fast.

During a speech on the House floor, Rep. Brooks called the media to task for attempting to squash credible reports of voter fraud.

“As would be expected, a circus of left-wing, media pundits immediately pounced on President-elect Trump’s opinion in an effort to silence serious discussion of the noncitizen voter fraud problem,” Rep. Brooks said.

He cited a 2014 study by professors at Old Dominion University and George Mason University, who estimated that noncitizens vote for Democrats 80 percent of the time.

“Does anyone really expect Democrats and their media and pundit allies to object to or scrutinize illegal votes that may be the deciding factor in the election of Democrat candidates?” he asked.

The Alabama Congressman went on to say that attacks on “commonsense” voter I.D. laws, brought by liberal groups like the League of Women Voters, obscure the ability to ensure that elections are fully secure.

“We will never know for sure if hundreds of thousands or millions of noncitizens voted in the 2016 elections. Worse yet, if the left-wing media and pundits continue to summarily dismiss and turn a blind eye to the problem, it will be harder to stop future elections from being stolen.”

Meanwhile, Alabama Secretary of State has assured voters that mass numbers of fraudulent votes did not slip by the state system.

“We have not seen any level of inconsistency which would indicate that there is a need for concern where there has been a large number of people who have been registered to vote who should not be registered to vote,” Merrill said. “We have not seen any level of inconsistency which would indicate that there is a need for concern. Everybody wants honest and fair.

1
2 years ago

Everything you need to know about how to absentee vote in Alabama

Voting booths (Photo: Flickr)
Voting booths (Photo: Flickr)

Absentee Ballot Application

To obtain an absentee ballot, write or visit the local Absentee Election Manager (usually the Circuit Clerk), request an absentee ballot, and provide the following:

• Name and residential address
• Election for which the ballot is requested
• Reason for absence from polls on election day
• Party choice, if the election is a party primary*
• Address to which the ballot should be mailed and

• Voter signature (if a mark is made in place of a signature, it must be witnessed)

*It is not necessary to give a party choice for a general election.

The absentee ballot application must be returned to the Absentee Election Manager by the voter in person (or by the voter’s designee in the case of medical emergency voting) or by U.S. Mail.

Upon receiving the absentee ballot application, the Absentee Election Manager may request additional evidence on the reason for voting absentee if the voter has a history of continuous absentee voting.

APPLICATIONS FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL AND OVERSEAS CITIZENS — Applications submitted by military personnel, their spouses or dependents, and U.S. citizens residing overseas are valid for all federal, state, and county elections in the current calendar year. However, these voters should ensure that they keep their mailing addresses updated with their counties’ Board of Registrars and with their Absentee Election Manager.


Ballot Receipt/Return – Non-UOCAVA Voters

If the absentee ballot application is approved, the Absentee Election Manager:

• Forwards the absentee ballot by U.S. Mail; or
• Personally hands the absentee ballot to the voter (or to a designee in the case of medical emergency voting).

BALLOT PROCEDURE — The absentee ballot comes with three envelopes — one plain (the secrecy envelope), one with an affidavit, or oath, printed on the outside, and one plain, pre-addressed envelope (the outer envelope). Once the voter casts the ballot, the procedure is as follows:

• Seal the ballot in the plain envelope (the secrecy envelope).
• Place the plain envelope inside the accompanying affidavit envelope.
• Seal the affidavit envelope and complete the affidavit that is on the outside of the envelope.
• Sign the affidavit and have the signature witnessed by either a notary public or two witnesses 18 years of age or older.
• Place the affidavit envelope and a COPY of the voter’s photo voter identification inside the outer envelope, unless exempt as an elderly voter or voter with disability whose polling place is inaccessible (see page 6).
• Remember to place a copy of your ID (NOT THE ORIGINAL) inside the outer envelope.

WITNESSES OR NOTARIZATION — An absentee ballot cannot be counted unless the affidavit is notarized or has the signatures of two witnesses.

SUBMITTING THE VOTED BALLOT — The voter is required to use one of the following methods for returning his or her absentee ballot:

• Send the ballot to the Absentee Election Manager by U.S. Mail; or
• Personally deliver the ballot to the Absentee Election Manager (or by a designee in the case of medical emergency voting).

VOTING DEADLINE — An absentee ballot returned by mail must be postmarked no later than the day prior to the election. If hand-delivered by the voter, the ballot must be in the Absentee Election Manager’s office by the close of business (but no later than 5 PM) on the day prior to the election. The absentee ballot must be received by the Absentee Election Manager by noon on election day if, the ballot is mailed.

1
2 years ago

Alabama moves to protect election systems after FBI discovers hacks in other states

Voting Booths

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama elections officials are moving to ensure the state’s voting systems are secure in the wake of revelations that the voter databases in at least two other states have been breached in recent months.

According to a Reuters report, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation has found breaches in Illinois and Arizona’s voter registration databases and is urging states to increase computer security ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.”

The database breaches do not “necessarily suggest an effort to manipulate the votes themselves,” but raise concerns at a time when cyber security is already playing a significant role in the presidential election. The Democratic National Committee was hacked last month, with embarrassing emails showing coordination between the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign being released publicly. The hack, which intelligence officials have pinned on Russian operatives, led to the resignation of DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

David Kennedy, the CEO of TrustedSec, a firm specializing in information security, told Reuters the latest attacks on voter databases were “largely exploratory and not especially sophisticated.” He added, however, that “it could be a precursor to a larger attack.”

The Alabama Secretary of State’s office told Yellowhammer they are working with federal authorities and the state’s election system vendor to ensure security.

“Secretary [John] Merrill participated in a conference call with several other secretaries of state regarding this issue,” said John Bennett, Secretary Merrill’s communications director. “During the call the Department of Homeland Security advised that they would be willing to have members of their team deployed to states to help set-up significant protections against hacking. Secretary Merrill was a part of bipartisan support requesting that the power to secure and properly maintain elections should remain in the hands of the states. This was followed by similar support for the complex systems that states have in place to protect our elections systems.

“We did, however, [complete] an internal review of our systems and have verified that no breaches have taken place at this time. We are also currently working with Election Systems & Software, our election systems vendor, to ensure that no breaches have occurred to their system.”

Statewide elections are scheduled to take place Tuesday, Nov. 8.

1
2 years ago

Reports flood in of deceased Alabamians and non-US citizens being invited to vote

Voting booths (Photo: Flickr)
Voting booths (Photo: Flickr)

The State of Alabama recently sent a letter to a Mobile woman who died in 1999, inviting her to register to vote in the upcoming November elections. The story was first reported by south Alabama Fox affiliate WALA earlier this week, and subsequently picked up by Yellowhammer News.

Since then, Yellowhammer has received numerous emails from readers saying that this was not an isolated incident, including the handful pasted below.

From a reader named Carolyn:

My mother passed away in 2006 and she received an Alabama Mail-in Voter Registration Form on Monday. I called the SOS division of elections and got the same story you featured about this problem.

I am sick and tired of feeling like my vote doesn’t count when voter fraud is able to wipe it out with one illegal vote.

I know the system isn’t perfect but there is no excuse for soliciting people to sign up using the driver’s license bureau records when they are not purged when a person dies.

This attempt to register voters is flawed, expensive and will no doubt result in voter fraud.

From a reader named Tammy:

Please spread the word to officials. They need a way to check someone’s citizenship. Just because someone has a license does not mean they can vote. My husband received an application to register to vote in the mail. He is a permanent resident alien NOT a US Citizen.

I wonder how many illegal’s or non citizens will take the opportunity and go on line and register anyway.

From a reader named Joyce:

I just read in one of your articles about the person who received a request for voter registration for a dead person. I also received the same letter sent to my husband, [name redacted], for a voter registration. He also passed away three years ago in 2013. I didn’t know if I should do anything about it or not.

From a reader named Clarence:

My wife died in 2011 but she recently received a mail-in voter registration form from the State of Alabama, just like the one you mentioned in your story. Just passing along word that it was not a one-time thing.

From a reader named Lilly:

I have a friend who is a legal alien–NOT an illegal alien–and we were laughing recently about the government inviting her to vote in our elections. Our own government asking people who aren’t allowed to vote to vote?! No wonder everyone believes the elections are rigged.

WALA reported Bob Grip brought the issue to the attention of Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who said his office is engaging in a large scale voter registration drive that relies on the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Driver’s License database.

“My office is undertaking a project to identify a large number of Alabamians that are eligible but unregistered to vote,” Merrill explained. “This project utilizes our voter registration information and compares it against a database of Alabamians with a Driver’s License. This allows us to see anyone that would already had a license but may not have previously had the opportunity to register to vote. I apologize for any confusion that this may have caused for your viewer but if you would have them forward the name and address of the individual, we will make sure we identify her to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency so they can update their records.”

During the 2011 Regular Legislative Session Governor Robert Bentley (R-Ala.) signed a voter ID law that went into full effect for the 2014 primary elections. Act 2011-673 requires an Alabama voter to have a specific type of photo identification at the polls in order to vote. Since that time, Democrats across the country have decried the law as “racist” and “hateful”.

The 2016 Democratic Party platform declares, “we will continue to fight against discriminatory voter identification laws, which disproportionately burden young voters, diverse communities, people of color, low income families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and women.”

The Party did, however, require delegates to the Democratic National Committee to show photo ID before they were allowed to vote.

In an October 2015 visit to Hoover, Hillary Clinton slammed Alabama Republicans for requiring proof of citizenship to vote and for shuttering driver’s license offices in the wake of state budget cuts. The Democratic presidential nominee insisted that both issues were examples of Republicans trying to return Alabama to its Jim Crow past.

RELATED: Bentley and Clinton spar over whether Alabama Republicans are racists

“We have to defend the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote,” she said. “No one in this state, no one, should ever forget the history that enabled generations of people left out and left behind to finally be able to vote.”

Before that, Vice President Joe Biden chided supporters of voter ID laws in light of liberal defeat in the Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder which stemmed from a legal challenge in Alabama. “These guys never go away,” Biden said. “Hatred never, never goes away. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”

RELATED: Biden: There’s ‘hatred’ behind Alabama’s photo voter ID law

Shelby County, Ala. sued the U.S. Attorney General in 2011 claiming that portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the formula used to determine which areas were subjected to pre-clearance was unconstitutional, effectively gutting that portion of the law.

“Alabama has made tremendous progress over the past 50 years, and this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that progress,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said at the time. “We will not tolerate discrimination in Alabama.”

Despite calls of racism, Alabama’s implementation of the voter ID law does not seem to have suppressed turnout.

There are currently at least 10 different types of ID that are acceptable to use at the polls (including a driver’s license) and the Secretary of State’s office also offers free Alabama photo voter ID cards and free non-driver IDs for purposes of voting.

1
3 years ago

Ted Cruz coming to Alabama to deliver keynote address at local GOP dinner

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — U.S. Senator and Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) will deliver the keynote address at an upcoming event hosted by the Tuscaloosa Republican Party, according to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.

“I am very excited to announce that Ted Cruz will be the keynote speaker at the annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at The Zone in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Tuesday, August 25,” Merrill told Yellowhammer.

The Tuscaloosa GOP’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner has become one of Alabama’s most widely-attended political events in recent years, attracting nationally-known speakers including top George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. With Cruz’s presidential campaign in full swing, he will undoubtedly draw another capacity crowd to the dinner.

Before being elected to the Senate in 2012, Cruz was Solicitor General of Texas, the State’s chief lawyer before the U.S. Supreme Court. Serving under then-Attorney General, now Governor Greg Abbott, Cruz was the nation’s youngest Solicitor General, the longest serving Solicitor General in Texas, and the first Hispanic Solicitor General of Texas.

In private practice in Houston, Cruz spent five years as a partner at one of the nation’s largest law firms, where he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national Appellate Litigation practice. He has authored more than 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and argued 43 oral arguments, including nine before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Since becoming the 34th U.S. Senator from Texas, Cruz has established himself as a conservative firebrand, taking on members of both parties in high-profile fights in the Senate.

He announced in late March that he would seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2016.

“What is the promise of America?” Cruz asked rhetorically during his announcement speech at Liberty University. “The revolutionary idea that this country was founded upon, which is that our rights don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty.”

Sponsorships and tickets are available for the Tuscaloosa Republican Party’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner featuring Sen. Cruz by contacting Jim Zeanah at jim@zeanah.com or by calling 205.345.8753.


1
3 years ago

Alabama elections officer launches push to get voter ID to every eligible voter

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — As we head into another presidential election season, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is teaming up with the state legislature to ensure every eligible voter in the state has the means to go to the polls.

Sec. Merrill has asked state legislators to provide three separate dates and times, as well as venue information in their areas for when his office could hold voter registration and free photo I.D. issuance drives.

“As Alabama’s Secretary of State, I am very concerned about the vast number of Alabama citizens who are eligible to vote but remain unregistered due to a lack of knowledge or understanding about the registration process,” Sec. Merrill said in his letter to state lawmakers. “With your help, I intend to organize special drives wholly dedicated to voter registration and voter photo ID distribution. And I hope during these events, every eligible individual will have the opportunity to become a registered voter and obtain a voter photo ID card, if necessary.”

Since the Alabama legislature passed a voter fraud prevention law in 2011 requiring voters to show a photo ID before being allowed to vote, Democrats across the country have attempted to paint the law as an attempt to disenfranchise minorities and the poor.

Sec. Merrill’s efforts to ensure everyone who wants a valid photo I.D. has one may put some of those fears to rest.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, forms of photo ID accepted at the polls include valid driver’s licenses, Alabama photo voter ID cards, state issued ID from any state, federal issued IDs US passports, employee IDs from the Federal Government, State of Alabama, County, Municipality, Board, or other entity of this state, student or employee IDs from a public or private college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools), Military IDs, or Tribal IDs.

To receive a free photo I.D. from the state, applicants must show they are a registered voter and bring one a birth certificate, marriage record, Social Security Administration document, hospital or nursing home record, Medicare or Medicaid document, or an official school record or transcript.


1
3 years ago

Bill would make Alabama bigger player in 2016 Presidential election

Voting Booths
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A bill introduced by Alabama State Senator Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery) would move the 2016 Alabama Presidential Primary up to March 1st, joining other Southern state in what has been dubbed the “SEC Primary.”

Sen. Ross said both Democrats and Republicans around the state are in favor of his bill.

This is not the first time lawmakers have tried to maneuver Alabama into a place of relevance in the nominating process.

In most presidential election years through the 2004 cycle, Alabama held its presidential primaries in June, often long after voters in other states had essentially decided the outcome of the races. So lawmakers passed a bill that moved Alabama’s presidential primaries up to the first Tuesday in February.

But in an effort to condense the primary campaign calendar, both national party committees passed a rule cutting in half the number of delegates a state could send to the party convention if they held their primary before the first Tuesday in March.

So in 2011, the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature passed a bill moving the presidential-year primaries to the second Tuesday in March alongside Mississippi. As a result, several candidates visited the state and the ALGOP was able to host a presidential forum featuring Rick Santorum — who eventually won the Alabama primary — and Newt Gingrich. However, the frontrunner, Mitt Romney, only dropped into the state to hold a high-dollar fundraiser and didn’t actively campaign, ceding Alabama to more conservative candidates without much concern because of its limited importance.

The SEC Primary plan would likely make Alabama and other Southern states much more influential in picking the party’s nominee.

Sen. Ross called his bill an “economic stimulus,” because it would encourage presidential candidates, and their massive cadres of campaign staff, to spend more time in the state.

The plan is being viewed as good news for conservatives, who believe the GOP needs to stop nominating candidates they view as being too moderate, but is concerning for some in the more establishment wing of the Party who fear that a Southern Super Tuesday could pull the eventual nominee to the right and damage them in the general election.

Last year, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill penned an op-ed published in Yellowhammer endorsing the idea.

“In 2016 our voice can be much louder by joining with other Southern states that are so often forgotten,” Merrill wrote.

The bill has been approved by the Senate committee on Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee, and will move to the Senate floor this session. It will still need to be approved by the House and Governor before becoming law.


1
4 years ago

Republicans hatch plan that could make Alabama a player in Presidential elections

(Image: POLITICO)
(Image: POLITICO)

Political leaders in Alabama and other Southern states have grown frustrated with their states’ lack of influence in the presidential primaries and have hatched a plan that could have profound implications for the 2016 elections — especially for Republicans.

POLITICO explains:

Officials in five Southern states — Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas — are coordinating to hold their primary on March 1, 2016. Texas and Florida are considering also holding a primary the same day but may wait until later in the month. Either way, March 1 would be a Southern Super Tuesday, voting en masse on the heels of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

The joint primary, which appears increasingly likely to happen, would present a crucial early test for Republican White House hopefuls among the party’s most conservative voters.

The plan, which would set up what has been dubbed the “SEC Primary,” has garnered early support from top Republicans across the region, including here in Alabama.

“If it’s limited to six or eight states, I think it would bring candidates to the Southern part of the United States,” said Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett.

This is not the first time Republicans have tried to maneuver Alabama into a place of relevance in the nominating process.

In most presidential election years through the 2004 cycle, Alabama held its presidential primaries in June, often long after voters in other states had essentially decided the outcome of the races. So lawmakers passed a bill that moved Alabama’s presidential primaries up to the first Tuesday in February.

But in an effort to condense the primary campaign calendar, both national party committees passed a rule cutting in half the number of delegates a state could send to the party convention if they held their primary before the first Tuesday in March.

So in 2011, the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature passed a bill moving the presidential-year primaries to the second Tuesday in March alongside Mississippi. As a result, several candidates visited the state and the ALGOP was able to host a presidential forum featuring Rick Santorum — who eventually won the Alabama primary — and Newt Gingrich. However, the frontrunner, Mitt Romney, only dropped into the state to hold a high-dollar fundraiser and didn’t actively campaign, ceding Alabama to more conservative candidates without much concern because of its limited importance.

The SEC Primary plan would likely make Alabama and other Southern states much more influential in picking the party’s nominee.

That is being viewed as good news for conservatives, who believe the GOP needs to stop nominating candidates they view as being too moderate, but is concerning for some in the more establishment wing of the Party who fear that a Southern Super Tuesday could pull the eventual nominee to the right and damage them in the general election.

Another concern is that other states may also want to move their primaries to that Tuesday, ruining the entire purpose of the plan, which is to compel candidates to actually campaign in the South.

“The problem with the old Super Tuesday is … that it really didn’t accomplish the goal of bringing candidates before our voters,” Bennet told POLITICO by way of example. “It was too spread out.”

But for now, Southern state leaders are expressing optimism that the plan will come together.

“We think it’s important that the next president of the United States — he or she, Democrat or Republican — come through our states and speak with our citizens about our issues,” said Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “My gut feeling is this will happen, and you’ll see candidates start to spend a lot more time in the South in the next six months.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal recently visited Alabama to speak at the annual Alabama Policy Institute dinner. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is scheduled to be in the state in February for the Republican Party’s winter dinner. More potential 2016 candidates are expected to soon announce plans to visit, as well.


1
4 years ago

The top four races Alabamians should be watching closely Tuesday

(Photo: Flickr)
(Photo: Flickr)

Alabama runoff elections are set to take place on Tuesday, with several hotly contested races still very much in doubt. With turnout expected to be historically low — the Alabama Secretary of State is estimating around 5 percent — every vote will count.

Here are four races that Alabamians should be paying particularly close attention to when they head to the polls on Tuesday and when returns start rolling in that night.

Alabama’s 6th Congressional District

The gubernatorial campaign is a snoozer this year, making the race to become Alabama’s next congressman 2014’s premier contest.

Having served nine years in the Alabama Legislature, state representative Paul DeMarco (R-Homewood) entered the AL-06 race as the frontrunner, and finished first in the primary with 33 percent of the vote. Conservative think tank president Gary Palmer surged in the final week of the primary and came in second with 19 percent.

Both candidates have spent roughly a million dollars or more on campaign ads, but this one’s going to come down to which campaign can get their supporters to actually turn out to the polls.

State Rep. Paul DeMarco (left) and former conservative think thank president Gary Palmer (right)
State Rep. Paul DeMarco (left) and former conservative think thank president Gary Palmer (right)

Palmer’s turnout efforts may be boosted by a state house runoff taking place in north Shelby County, where he was strongest in the primary. There’s also a state senate runoff in north Jefferson County for the seat currently occupied by Sen. Scott Beason that the Palmer camp is hoping will help their cause. Beason ran in the AL-06 primary, and has endorsed Palmer. If turnout in those areas is higher than the rest of the District because of the local races also on the ballot, that could be the difference in a close race.

DeMarco’s ground game is being helmed by campaign veteran Chris Brown, who has proven himself to be a savvy operator in low turnout state legislative races in recent years. DeMarco supporters fanned out across the District over the weekend, reportedly knocking on five-figures worth of doors. That kind of final push could help DeMarco hold on.

Alabama Public Service Commission – Place 2

With very little drama at the top of the ticket, this is the statewide race that has gotten the most attention.

After Republican incumbent Terry Dunn sided with environmental groups on a series of high-profile votes, three conservative challengers stepped up to unseat him, each of them focusing heavily on pushing back against the Obama administration’s environmental regulations.

Businessman Chip Beeker emerged from the crowded field on top with 39 percent of the vote. Dunn came in second with 33 percent.

The Obama administration managed to expand the government’s role in healthcare by pushing legislation through Congress, but was unsuccessful doing the same with environmental regulations. As a result, they’ve resorted to implementing their agenda through executive branch agencies, primarily the EPA.

The energy sector of the U.S. economy is going to be a major target of the Obama administration over the next couple of years. That makes the public utility regulators at the PSC particularly important, and makes this race one to watch.

(Video Below: Alabama’s “enviro invasion” explained in 90 seconds)

Alabama Senate district 17

Seven Republicans jumped at a shot to run for the state senate seat being vacated by Scott Beason (R-Gardendale), who decided to run for Congress instead of seeking a fifth term in the Alabama Legislature (two in the House, two in the Senate).

Trussville businessman and former public school teacher Shay Shelnutt came in first in the crowded primary, garnering 35 percent of the vote. Locust Fork attorney Brett King came in second at 30 percent.

King has an interesting back story. He’s a graduate of Jeff State, Auburn, Yale and Alabama, and paid his way through all of those colleges as a semi-professional gambler. But the most notable aspect of King’s campaign for most Republicans is probably that he’s received the backing of the Alabama Education Association (AEA), a group that has essentially become the state’s de facto Democratic Party with the decline of the official party apparatus.

Beason, on the other hand, has vocally backed Shelnutt.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Shay Shelnutt is the most conservative candidate in this race,” Beason said recently. “Shay’s faith is strong and his character unwavering. He will be strong on immigration, against higher taxes, pro-family and fight to protect seniors in our district.”

But why should Alabamians outside of Senate District 17 pay particularly close attention to this race?

Voters across Jefferson County will be rooting for Shelnutt to win so this seat stays a part of the Jefferson County delegation.

Statewide, the AEA’s $7-million campaign to unseat Republicans in the Alabama Legislature has been incredibly unsuccessful to this point. If they’re unable to get King elected, they will have failed to pickup a single Republican-controlled senate seat this election cycle. Whether you view that as a good thing or a bad thing, this race is worth watching either way.

Alabama Secretary of State

State Rep. John Merrill (R-Tuscaloosa) came in first in the secretary of state primary with 40 percent of the vote, followed closely by former Montgomery County Probate Judge Reese McKinney, who came in second with 38 percent.

The campaign attacks have been flying hot and heavy in this race in recent weeks.

Merrill’s barbs have been aimed at McKinney’s time as probate judge, during which he filed a lawsuit accusing state and local officials of reneging on a property deal. Merrill said the lawsuit cost the local government “millions.” McKinney has brushed it off, simply saying “there were folks who did some wrong, and we took action.”

McKinney has pointed out that Merrill was a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for the Legislature before switching parties to run again (and win) as a Republican. He’s kept the messaging simple, referring to Merrill as “a liberal.”

So why should you care? Whoever wins will be in charge of protecting the sanctity of Alabama elections for the next four years. Enough said.

Are there any other races you’re paying close attention to? Let us know in the comment section below or by tweeting @YHPolitics.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

1
4 years ago

Three Alabama women accused of felony voter fraud

(Photo: Flickr)
(Photo: Flickr)

Three Dothan, Ala. women are facing a combined 560 years in prison if they are convicted and given the maximum sentence for 56 counts of felony voter fraud.

Olivia Lee Reynolds, 65, Lesa Renee Coleman, 49, and Janice Lee Hart, 63, were arrested late last week following an investigation into irregularities in the City of Dothan elections that took place last August.

Houston Co. Sheriff Andy Hughes said his office investigated a voter fraud complaint and found that the three women had created false ballots, filled them out and cast them in an attempt to sway the elections.

It appears that their efforts may have affected the results of at least one race on the ballot.

According to WTVY, “These arrests come after the Houston County Sheriff’s Office conducted 96 interviews in the wake of the August 6th Election. The results of that election were called into question, after Amos Newsome narrowly beat Lamesa Danzey to retain his Dothan City Commission District 2 seat.”

119 of the 124 (96%) absentee ballots cast in the election were for Newsome, who edged out Danzey by a total vote count of 362 to 348 (51% – 49%).

Reyonolds faces 26 counts of felony voter fraud, Coleman faces 20 counts and Hart 10. Each count carries with it a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The charges come at a time when the State of Alabama is gearing up to implement its controversial new voter ID law.


RELATED: Biden: There’s ‘hatred’ behind Alabama’s photo voter ID law


Republicans delivered on a campaign promise in 2011 by passing a law requiring Alabama voters to show a photo ID before being allowed to vote. The law finally goes into effect for this year’s primary elections, which are set to take place June 3.

Numerous types of photo IDs can be used by voters, including an Alabama driver’s license or non-driver ID, college ID, military ID, government employee ID, federal ID or passport. However, the Alabama Secretary of State’s office said in March that they believe as many as 250,000 adults in the state do not currently have any form of photo identification.

For individuals without a photo ID, the State of Alabama is offering a free voter ID, which can be obtained at any local county board of registrars’ or Dept. of Public Safety office or at the secretary of state’s headquarters in Montgomery. Forms of non-photo ID that can be used to obtain a free photo ID include most IDs with a person’s full legal name and date of birth. Fishing and hunting licenses, social security cards, birth certificates, marriage records, military records, Medicaid and Medicare documents and school transcripts are all acceptable.

Vans from the secretary of state’s office have also been fanning out across the state to deliver IDs to individuals who cannot make it to the local offices.

But even as Alabama’s photo ID law goes into effect, the national debate surrounding voter ID rages on.

Liberals continue to say voter ID laws are an assault on the voting rights of minorities.

The United States Justice Department is currently suing North Carolina and Texas in an attempt to block their voter ID laws, arguing they discriminate against minorities.

“These guys never go away,” Vice President Joe Biden said of supporters of voter ID. “Hatred never, never goes away. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”

Meanwhile, conservatives say photo voter ID is a necessary step to ensure the sanctity of elections, although it likely would not have been helpful in Dothan where individuals took advantage of the absentee ballot process.

Do you support Alabama’s new voter ID law? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting @YHPolitics.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

1
4 years ago

Sec. of State calls on AG to investigate deceptively-named Ala. Foundation for Limited Govt.

Ala. Secretary of State Jim Bennett (Photo: YouTube)
Ala. Secretary of State Jim Bennett (Photo: YouTube)

The Alabama Secretary of State yesterday asked the Attorney General to investigate the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government (AFLG) — which is widely believed to be little more than a front group for the Alabama Education Association (AEA) — for potentially breaking state campaign finance laws.

Nonprofit groups like AFLG are permitted to run educational ads and engage in issue advocacy without disclosing their donors, but are prohibited from “electioneering,” which includes promoting or attacking a specific candidate by name or displaying their likeness in an ad.

According to the Associated Press, “state law requires nonprofit organizations to disclose their donors to the secretary of state’s office if they run ads 120 days before an election that contain the name or image of a candidate and are designed to influence the outcome of an election.” The AP noted that AFLG’s ads do, indeed, display pictures and names of candidates. Perhaps most notably, they have sent mailers into House and Senate districts around the state attacking Republicans by name with their pictures prominently displayed.


RELATED: Another Alabama Education Association shadow ad buy?


Ala. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh recently sent a letter to Ala. Secretary of State Jim Bennett — the state’s top election official — asking him to review AFLG’s ads to see if they violate the law. Bennet wrote back that he agreed with Marsh that they may be engaged in electioneering, but said that determination will ultimately lie with the attorney general.

“It seems to be coloring outside the lines when you have a nonprofit acting like a political action committee, but that will be up to the attorney general,” Bennett said.

Ala. Attorney General Luther Strange
Ala. Attorney General Luther Strange

Bennett sent the complaint to Attorney General Luther Strange, whose office holds the power to enforce the law with regard to campaign finance violations.

Bennett’s appeal to the AG is not the first time a senior Republican official has asked for action to be taken against AFLG in recent weeks.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead last week pointed out that the Foundation had not registered as a political action committee or disclosed its contributors, but has been running negative political ads on television, through direct mail, and has conducted at least one robocall, all containing names or images of candidates for public office.


RELATED: ALGOP Chairman blasts shadowy non-profit with alleged ties to AEA


“The Alabama Foundation for Limited Government is skirting state campaign finance laws by establishing itself as a non-profit while blatantly attempting to influence the outcome of elections,” Armistead said. “And they haven’t reported a dime. Not only could this be a violation of state law, it’s a shameful attempt to mislead Alabama voters.”


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

1
4 years ago

The debate over photo voter ID rages on as Alabama’s law goes into effect

Voting Booths

Republicans delivered on a campaign promise in 2011 by passing a law requiring Alabama voters to show a photo ID before being allowed to vote. The law finally goes into effect for this year’s primary elections, which are set to take place June 3.

Numerous types of photo IDs can be used by voters, including an Alabama driver’s license or non-driver ID, college ID, military ID, government employee ID, federal ID or passport. However, the Alabama Secretary of State’s office said today that they believe roughly 250,000 adults in the state do not currently have any form of photo identification.

For those folks, the State of Alabama is offering a free voter ID, which can be obtained at any local county board of registrars’ or Dept. of Public Safety office or at the secretary of state’s headquarters in Montgomery. Forms of non-photo ID that can be used to obtain a free photo ID include most IDs with a person’s full legal name and date of birth. Fishing and hunting licenses, social security cards, birth certificates, marriage records, military records, Medicaid and Medicare documents and school transcripts are all acceptable.

Vans from the secretary of state’s office will also be fanning out across the state in the coming weeks to deliver IDs to individuals who cannot make it to the local offices. A schedule for the van deployments will be released in the days ahead.

But even as Alabama’s photo ID law goes into effect, the national debate surrounding the politics behind voter ID rages on.

Liberals continue to say voter ID laws are an assault on the voting rights of minorities, while conservatives say its a necessary step to ensure the sanctity of elections.

Here’s a brief timeline of some notable voter-ID related events that have taken place over the last couple of years.

• On June 10, 2011, the Alabama legislature on the final day of the 2011 session passed a law requiring Alabamians to show photo ID at the polls before voting.

• On March 5, 2012, a large crowd of Alabamians led by MSNBC pundit and renowned race baiter Al Sharpton protested the voter ID law.

“How do you justify Alabama’s new voter laws when widespread fraud just doesn’t exist?” Sharpton asked Republican State Rep. Jay Love.

“Well, I’ll disagree with you, in the last three years, we’ve had three people convicted of voter fraud in Alabama,” Love responded.

“Thousands of those people can’t vote because of three people in the last three years?” Sharpton shot back. “Because they don`t have state ID, they don’t drive, they don’t have passports. They will not be able to vote.”

Love rebutted, “I don’t know of anybody that will be denied the right to vote. And we provide a free state ID in Alabama for those individuals that don’t have a driver’s license.”

• On March 12, 2012, the US Justice Department blocked a photo ID law from going into effect in Texas.

“There is no proof that our elections are marred by in-person voter fraud,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.

• On April 9, 2012, James O’Keefe, a conservative activists well known for his unique brand hidden-camera journalism, posted a video proving he could easily get poll workers to give him ballots for political celebrities.

“You’re on our list and that’s who you say you are — so you’re ok,” a polling work told O’Keefe as he attempted to vote as “Eric Holder.”

• On August 28, 2012, 1,431 votes were cast in a municipal election in Uniontown, Ala., which only had 1,140 people over the age of 18 living in the town at the time.

When asked by the Tuscaloosa News about the number of registered voters compared with the town’s population, the Uniontown city clerk and election manager replied, “I haven’t given it a thought.”

• On June 17, 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled that states cannot require proof of citizenship for an individual to be added to the voter rolls.

“[This] Court ruling marks an important victory for voters… across the nation whose right to vote has been under attack with discriminatory voter identification laws that have been enacted in states like Arizona, Alabama and Georgia,” U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL07, said in a statement after the ruling.

• But barely a week later, On June 25, 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional in Shelby County v. Holder. That ruling freed from federal oversight states that previously had to have changes to their voting laws cleared by the US Justice Department, effectively ending the Obama DOJ’s fight against state voter ID laws.

“The Alabama of today is vastly different than the one of a half century ago, and the time for us to be freed from the burden of federal oversight is long overdue,” Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard said in reaction to the Court’s ruling. “Today’s ruling clearly states that our constitutional rights as Alabamians take precedence over the wants and whims of liberal Justice Department bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Starting today, Alabama will be able determine its own destiny when it comes to campaigns, elections and voting procedures in our state.”

• On Feb. 25, 2014, Vice President Joe Biden said he hopes Congress will “modernize” the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to counter the “hatred” behind voter ID laws in Alabama, North Carolina and Texas.

“These guys never go away,” Biden said of supporters of voter ID. “Hatred never, never goes away. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”

What do you think? Are voter ID laws needed in Alabama, or are the discriminatory?

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

1
4 years ago

Alabama Democrats appear to continue adding candidates after deadline passes

Voting Booths

In early January, Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett announced that both major parties had to qualify their candidates by February 7th. The deadline was much earlier than usual, but the Secretary of State’s office was working to comply with federal laws concerning military and overseas voters. The abrupt change was due to ongoing litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice, who had gotten involved after Alabama previously failed to give military voters overseas enough time to get their ballots in.

“Though we do not have yet an order from the court, we have agreed with the Department of Justice to move our deadlines up considerably to get ballots to the Absentee Election Managers in each county,” Alabama Secretary of State Bennett said at the time. “This will allow ballots enough time to be sent to military and overseas voters well before the federal deadline, which is 45 days before the date of the election.”

Bennet said he had been in constant contact with both major parties leading up to the decision, and both of them agreed it was necessary.

As the Feb. 7th deadline passed, both parties failed to qualify candidates in certain races. That is not unusual because some districts lean so heavily toward one party that it’s difficult for the other party to find a candidate willing to run.

The final list of candidates for both parties was reported by multiple news sources, including the Associated Press, whose list can be found on numerous sites (Washington Times, ABC, etc.). The Alabama News Network posted an identical list of candidates on their site as well.

The candidate lists from numerous media outlets reflected what was shown on the Alabama Democratic Party’s own spreadsheet.

But today, the Party released an updated candidate list with Democrats Burton LeFlore and Avery Vise running in Alabama’s 1st and 6th Congressional Districts respectively. The new spreadsheet included the words “subject to amendment” at the top of the candidate column.

The Alabama Secretary of State does not certify the list of qualified candidates until March 13. An official in the Secretary of State’s office said Wednesday that they essentially have to take each party’s word for it that their candidates qualified ahead of the deadline.

So in spite of the Feb. 7 deadline, will Democrats continue “amending” their list of candidates for the next month?

Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley
Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley

Bill Armistead, Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, told Yellowhammer that the move is indicative of Democrats’ behavior on both the national and state levels.

“President Obama thinks he can change the rules and legislate from the Oval Office and apparently Nancy Worley thinks she can just make up the rules as she goes, too,” said Armistead. “This is not the way America runs its elections.”

Armistead said he plans take the appropriate action once the party is able to research the matter further.

A phone call seeking comment from Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley was not returned.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

1
4 years ago

Judge: military voting rights more important than AEA campaign strategy

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson

Since 1986, military personnel and American citizens living overseas have been guaranteed the right to vote by absentee ballot in all U.S. federal elections. In 2009, Congress passed the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act), which requires States to transmit absentee ballots to overseas voters at least 45 days before an election for federal office.

After counties across Alabama failed to meet the 45 day deadline, the state was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice, prompting the Alabama Secretary of State’s office propose a change to Alabama’s election calendar to make sure the deadlines could be met. However, the Secretary of State could not unilaterally change the date — a court order or legislation was needed to change the law.

“Though we do not have yet an order from the court, we have agreed with the Department of Justice to move our deadlines up considerably to get ballots to the Absentee Election Managers in each county,” Secretary of State Jim Bennett said at the time of their proposed change. “This will allow ballots enough time to be sent to military and overseas voters well before the federal deadline, which is 45 days before the date of the election… We are doing everything in our power to make sure that our soldiers have their ballots in hand and can mail them back in time for their vote to be counted.”

Under the new calendar, the candidate qualifying deadline was moved from April 4 to February 7.

This put a strain on the state parties, but both Democrats and Republicans agreed the move was necessary and made preparations accordingly.

But the Alabama Education Association, the state’s teachers’ union, objected to the new calendar and petitioned the court to stop it.

According to court documents obtained by Yellowhammer, the AEA “objected to the proposed remedial order on several grounds, including that the new candidate- qualification deadline drastically reduces, without sufficient prior notice, the time in which potential candidates have to qualify for the June 3 primary. It argues that… the court should impose a remedial plan that allows more time for candidates to qualify.”

In short, the AEA argued that the rights of a candidate who hasn’t made up their mind about running for office are more important than the voting rights of overseas military voters.

“Many public employees must take an unpaid leave or resign before qualifying for office,” the AEA’s attorneys said in the court documents. Moving the qualifying date up “will be a hardship on them,” they concluded.

But Judge Myron Thompson, a long-time AEA ally who’s widely considered one of the most liberal judges in the state, concluded that the State of Alabama has “consistently and substantially” missed the deadline for military voters to receive their ballots in the past, and therefore believes the new qualifying deadlines are needed.

After writing an extensive opinion — which even included a Shakespeare quote — Thompson issued an order stating that the new calendar was “approved and adopted by the court.”

Legislation also passed unanimously in the Alabama House this week to implement the new deadline. It is pending passage in the Senate. Once it becomes law, Alabama statute will mirror the court’s order, enabling the state to get out from under the DOJ lawsuit faster and ensure military voting rights.

Is the AEA’s strategy to influence elections in Alabama more important than the voting rights of members of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed overseas?

Fortunately, The United States Department of Justice, Alabama Secretary of State, Alabama House of Representatives and a U.S. District Judge don’t think so.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

1
4 years ago

Candidate qualifying deadline moved to ensure military voters get ballots in time

Vote

In a necessary move that could put a strain on the state’s two major parties, Secretary of State Jim Bennett announced today that the close of qualifying for the 2014 election cycle will moved up to February 7th, just over a month from now.

This is much earlier than usual as the Secretary of State’s office is working to comply with federal laws concerning military and overseas voters. The abrupt change is due to ongoing litigation with the Department of Justice over military and overseas voting deadlines.

The original date for the end of qualifying for major party candidates would have been April 4, 2014, but that would potentially not allow enough time to get finalized ballots to some military voters overseas soon enough.

Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett
Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett

“Though we do not have yet an order from the court, we have agreed with the Department of Justice to move our deadlines up considerably to get ballots to the Absentee Election Managers in each county,” Secretary of State Bennett said. “This will allow ballots enough time to be sent to military and overseas voters well before the federal deadline, which is 45 days before the date of the election.”

The Secretary of State’s office said in a statement that they have been in constant contact with the heads of the Alabama Democratic and Republican parties in an effort to prepare them for the change.

Secretary Bennett said he has urged the parties to adapt and open qualifying for candidates early.

“We are doing everything in our power to make sure that our soldiers have their ballots in hand and can mail them back in time for their vote to be counted,” he said.

The Secretary of State’s office tried to pass a bill last year in the legislature that would alter the elections deadline schedule to reflect this end date for qualifying. The bill passed unanimously in the House, but failed to pass the Senate due to time constraints caused by Democrats filibustering almost every piece of legislation that came behind the Alabama Accountability Act.

“We are bringing the bill again this year. I know that the legislative leadership has every confidence that this will be passed for future elections and that we will all do our part to ensure that every vote counts, including military and overseas voters,” Bennett said.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

1
5 years ago

Bentley campaign war chest tops $2 million

Gov. Robert Bentley, R-Tuscaloosa
Gov. Robert Bentley, R-Tuscaloosa

According to campaign finance disclosures released Monday, Gov. Robert Bentley, R-Tuscaloosa, has raised a stout $2.3 million for his reelection campaign since June.

The reports, which were filed with the Secretary of State in accordance with Alabama campaign finance procedures, revealed that more than $433,000 dollars were raised by the campaign in the month of October alone. That comes on the heels of the $550,000 they raised in September.

Bentley & co. now have $2.1 million cash-on-hand.

“I think the people of this state see how hard we’ve worked and what we’ve been able to accomplish. Unemployment is significantly lower than it was when I came into office, and we’ve recruited over 40-thousand new, future jobs,” Bentley said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done to bring in high-paying jobs for the people of this state, and that’s what I plan to do as Governor. I thank the people of this state for supporting our re-election campaign.”

Former Morgan County Commissioner Stacy George is challenging Bentley in the Republican primary. George’s campaign finance report showed that he has about $47 cash-on-hand.

At this point, no Democrat has stepped up to challenge Bentley in the general election.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamYHN

1
5 years ago

Secretary of State Beth Chapman resigning

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman is resigning effective Aug. 1 to take a job in the private sector.

Chapman was Alabama state auditor for four years before unseating Democrat Nancy Worley as Secretary of State in 2006. She was re-elected in 2010.

Her term was set to expire in January of 2015, but she’s opting instead to resign 17 months out to take a consulting job, which she says will not involve lobbying.

While Chapman’s resignation comes as a major surprise to many folks around Alabama, she says it is something she has been considering since her husband passed away in 2011 at the age of 50.

“The death of my husband two years ago turned my world upside down,” Chapman told Yellowhammer Monday morning. “I have two children and a grandchild that I want to get through college, and every now and then a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presents itself and you have to take it.”

Chapman said she is proud of the work her team has done over the last seven years, particularly when it comes to cracking down on voter fraud.

“We have stopped a lot of voter fraud, cleaned up voter rolls, and held the largest presidential election in our state’s history,” Chapman said. “I believe I am leaving the office better than I found it.”

Chapman also highlighted the technological advancements that have been made during her tenure, including moving the state’s business division online. She recently debuted a new computerized campaign finance filing system that has brought Alabama’s campaign finance disclosures out of the dark ages.

When Yellowhammer asked if Chapman had any plans to return to public office in the future, she said she is excited about the new challenges she is about to take on, but did not rule out one day returning to public service.

“It is hard to predict the future,” Chapman said. “I am honored to have been on some short lists of future contenders for governor, but I am not looking at that right now. If something unique presents itself in the future, I may or may not consider it.”

Chapman said her proudest accomplishment has been providing fair and honest elections for the people of Alabama. She has also been a major advocate for military voting rights, fighting to ensure men and women in uniform have their votes counted, even when they are cast while on deployment overseas.

According to the governor’s office, the governor will appoint a replacement soon to complete Chapman’s term, but he will not consider anyone currently running for secretary of state or anyone who might be interested in running for the office in 2014.


What else is going on?
1. House Republicans push for ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy
2. EXCLUSIVE: Q&A with Lt. Gov. Ivey, who just announced her re-election bid
3. Brooks, Roby and Rogers vow to fight ‘Gang of 8’ bill in the House
4. Immigration bill passes, Senate gallery chants “YES WE CAN!”
5. Sims: DOMA decision is a ‘loss for big government’

1
5 years ago

Chapman Will Not Seek Elective Office in 2014


Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman told Yellowhammer this morning that she will not run for higher office in 2014. Chapman in 2010 received the highest number of votes of any Constitutional Officer in state history, including governor. Insiders have speculated for some time as to what her plans might be when her second term as Secretary of State ends in 2014. The answer came today on the week of her 51st birthday and the anniversary of her husband’s death.

Chapman was elected as State Auditor in 2002 and as Secretary of State in 2006 and 2010.

“Public service is a calling and I have fulfilled that calling at this particular time in my life,” Chapman said. “I am simply taking a break to pursue some entrepreneurial ideas and business opportunities.”

As State Auditor she and her staff achieved 96% perfect audits among state agencies.

As Secretary of State, Chapman has led a national effort to improve military voting, pass Photo Voter I.D. and managed the largest Presidential election in Alabama’s history. She also created online business filings making her office a model for Secretaries of State around the country.

Every office Chapman has ever held has operated with a surplus.

She served as an officer of the prestigious National Association of Secretaries of State for four years including serving as its President from 2011-2012.

She served as Appointments Secretary in the Cabinet of Governor Fob James, becoming the first woman to serve in that post. She later served as Press Secretary for Lieutenant Governor Steve Windom.

Chapman has not released specific details of her future work, but has stated that she is in full support of the reelection of Governor Robert Bentley.

1
6 years ago

Rumors & Rumblings

“Rumors and Rumblings” is a weekly feature that runs each Wednesday. It includes short nuggets of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week. Have a tip? Send it here. All sources remain confidential.


1. House Speaker Mike Hubbard will announce next week that Rachel Adams will be coming on as his Communications Director. Adams is fresh off a stint as The RNC’s North Carolina Victory Communications Director. North Carolina was the standout operation of the Romney campaign and one of the few swing states Romney carried. “This is a huge hire for the Speaker,” a House insider told Yellowhammer. “She’s a top-notch talent and brings a wealth of experience to the job right off the bat.”

2. Vestavia resident David Wheeler, a retired business executive, is laying the groundwork for a Republican primary run against Representative Jack Williams in HD 47. Early indication from major donors is that while Wheeler is viewed favorably, Williams will likely maintain the support of most of the significant fundraising sources. Wheeler will be a viable candidate, but will face an uphill battle against a seasoned incumbent.

3. Yellowhammer has covered ad nauseum the ongoing saga of Rep. Jeremy Oden’s potential appointment to the PSC. While the appointment process was briefly derailed due to an obscure PSC rule, all indications now point to Oden being appointed sometime in the next week, possibly on Monday.

4. Adam Thompson announced officially this morning that he will be seeking the the Republican nomination for State Auditor in 2014. Thompson is currently Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Beth Chapman and also worked under Chapman when she was State Auditor. “The State Auditor is the last line of defense in making sure your tax dollars are used wisely and effectively,” Thompson said in an email. “On Day One I will be ready; no on-the-job training needed.”

5. Democrat Representative Joe Hubbard (HD 73) has a contract pending on a house in Republican Representative Jay Love’s District (HD 74). Hubbard found himself in a fellow Democrat’s district after redistricting and may be looking to reposition himself for another run. Love is well-known and well-liked in his district and one of the most powerful members in the House. All of that combined with his fundraising prowess will make him extremely hard to beat. Hubbard has proven to be tenacious, but his liberal approach won’t play well in Love’s conservative-leaning district.

6. Yellowhammer first mentioned way back in June that frustration was mounting among the Senate GOP as Republican Senator Ben Brooks put off vacating his Senate seat. Brooks won the Republican nomination for Mobile County circuit judge in MARCH and faced no general election opponent. Every day since then that he didn’t resign is another day Republicans will be down a vote in the Senate during the next session. The Circuit Judge race is now over, the vote is certified, yet he still hasn’t resigned. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” a Senate Republican told Yellowhammer. “Every vote is needed in the Senate and we’ve basically been left hanging. No one really knows why.”

1
6 years ago

Rumors & Rumblings

“Rumors and Rumblings” is a weekly feature that runs each Wednesday. It includes short nuggets of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week. Have a tip? Send it here.


1. State Finance Director Marquita Davis is rumored to be in the running for chancellor of the 2-year college system. Davis has gotten rave reviews for her work as finance director and would largely be viewed as an outstanding hire. “She’s a great manager of people,” said a source who has worked closely with Davis in the past. “She’s exactly what the board needs to bring that group together.” It is unknown whether or not Davis applied for the chancellor’s position, but multiple sources have indicated that she is being considered.

2. Crenshaw County Probate Judge Jim Perdue is rumored to be considering a run for Secretary of State in 2014. The long-time Democrat is weighing a run as a Republican. “He knows he can’t win statewide office as a Democrat,” a source with knowledge of Perdue’s thinking told Yellowhammer. Perdue is well-liked but that will be a tricky maneuver.

3. ALGOP Steering Committee member Harold Sachs has been elevated by ALGOP Chairman Bill Armistead to Armistead’s Chief of Staff. He reports directly to the Chairman and oversees ALGOP staff. ALGOP’s electoral operation remains in the capable hands of Executive Director TJ Maloney.

1