With Alabama’s primary election runoffs now in the books, here are three takeaways from the results.
North Alabama has spoken.
When this election cycle began, it became evident that north Alabama saw a window of opportunity to increase its influence. The results from the Republican primary runoff have shown the electorate in that area of the state was eager to flex its muscle.
Will Ainsworth pulled out an impressive come-from-behind victory in the Lt. Governor’s race. Steve Marshall enjoyed a resounding win in his bid to retain the Attorney General’s office.
Like Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts comic strip fame repeatedly pulling the football away from Charlie Brown as he lines up to kick it, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) once again has shown you can’t beat her in a Republican primary.
Tuesday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) was one of only 31 members of the U.S. House of Representatives awarded the prestigious 2017 FreedomFighter Award by FreedomWorks, a leading conservative organization with more than six million members nationwide. Only members of Congress who score better than 90% on the FreedomWorks scorecard receive the FreedomFighter Award. Congressman Brooks’ FreedomWorks score was in the top 4% of all Congressmen in 2017.
Brooks said, “FreedomWorks is a leading organization in the conservative movement. I thank them for their work keeping members of Congress accountable and scoring key House floor votes which helps the American people better understand the impact of those votes. I was proud to receive the prestigious FreedomWorks 2017 FreedomFighter Award for my voting record in 2017. If America is to maintain its place as the greatest country in world history, more members of Congress must fight for the foundational principles that made America great. I’m fighting in Congress for those principles, and I’m glad to have a partner as effective as FreedomWorks in the fight.”
"Frontier Airlines will begin direct flights from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on April 11, the airline announced today. Frontier Airlines will start by offering direct service to Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia from Birmingham. Introductory prices will start at $39."
"At 87, Clint Eastwood is not only trying new things, he’s trying daring new things, and his new film 15:17 to Paris represents one of the most audacious gambits of his career. To dramatize the tale of three Americans who tackled and subdued a heavily armed Islamist terrorist on a train out of Amsterdam in 2015, Eastwood cast the young men, none of whom had professional acting experience, as themselves. It’s a decision with little precedent in the entire history of motion pictures."
DNC DISUNITY: Alabama and Delaware delegates square off over seating arrangements
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The party disunity in Philadelphia continues as delegates from Alabama and Delaware fought over which chairs belonged to whom.
“We’re short five [chairs],” said Delaware Democratic Party Chairman John Daniello, according to Delaware Online. “We’re not gonna be.”
“This is our row,” an Alabama delegate responded.
The Delaware delegation insisted that someone moved Alabama’s sign down an additional row, thereby encroaching on Delaware’s allotment.
“The whole row is not yours,” Daniello said.
Eventually, convention officials intervened to stop a fight from breaking out. After discussion, the Alabama Democrats decided to give Delaware, Vice President Joe Biden’s home state, the seats. “I knew that was coming,” said Daniello.
Chairs are far from the only thing that has divided Democrats this week. The DNC has been rocked with sizable protests from supporters of Bernie Sanders who feel that Hillary Clinton is nothing more than a corporate shill that the party colluded with.
Several speakers have been booed by the “Feel the Bern” crowd, and protestors have even surrounded the arena in Philadelphia chanting “Hell no DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary!”
Earlier this week, the DNC was exposed by WikiLeaks when the group released tens of thousands of emails revealing collaboration between the national committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The leaks forced Chairwoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz to step down before the convention even began.
Whether its seating chairs or committee chairs, Democrats are struggling to get it together at the event that is supposed to unify them.
And in the ultimate show of disgust, the AP is now reporting that “supporters of Bernie Sanders plan to hold a ‘fart-in’ at the Democratic National Convention to protest the party’s primary process.”
Democrats call Alabama’s voter ID law ‘racist’ but require DNC delegates to show ID to vote
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — In a twist of irony, the Democratic National Convention is requiring delegates to show photo ID to receive their official credentials. While the Democrats require an ID to get into their convention, they have consistently fought against voter ID laws requiring citizens to show one when they vote.
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.” Yet, at their own convention, it seems like a different set of rules apply.
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.
“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.”
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.
Alabama’s DNC delegation starts Hillary coronation with embarrassing flub on TV (Video)
(Video above: Alabama’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention is short one vote)
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — With anticipation building for the Democratic Party to officially put forward Hillary Clinton as the first female presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party, Alabama led off the roll call vote with an embarrassing flub that quickly made the rounds on social media.
Alabama had a total of 60 Democratic delegates up for grabs when the presidential primary was held in March. 53 of them were “pledged delegates,” meaning they were awarded proportionally based on the statewide vote totals, and seven of them were “super delegates,” party insiders who some critics say have outsized influence over the nominating process.
Hillary Clinton won just under 78% of the vote in Alabama’s Democratic primary, giving her 44 pledged delegates to Bernie Sanders’ 9. Clinton also secured all 7 of Alabama’s super delegates.
So as Baltimore Mayor and Democratic National Committee Secretary Stephanie Rollings-Blake opened the roll call vote for Mrs. Clinton’s coronation Tuesday afternoon, she was expecting Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley to announce how Alabama’s 60 votes would be allocated.
That’s not exactly how it went down.
“Alabama, you have 60 votes,” Mayor Rollings-Blake began. “How do you cast your votes?
“Thank you, madam secretary,” Mrs. Worley replied. “The state of Alabama has champions, not only in football, but we have champions in civil rights, in voting rights. We have champions for equal pay. And we cast, proudly, 50 champion votes for Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and we cast nine votes for Senator Bernie Sanders.”
A puzzled Rollings-Blake quickly did the math, along with everyone else in the arena and the millions watching on television, and realized Alabama had come up short.
“Don’t y’all have one more?” She sheepishly asked as the crowd laughed. “I’ll count it as an abstention.”
The ridicule came quickly on Twitter.
“Who abstains during a roll call at a national convention?” Tweeted political commentator Jon Ralston.
“Nobody abstained,” replied elections prognosticator Stuart Rothenberg. “It’s Alabama. They miscounted.”
“I am not a member of any organized party, I am a Democrat,” joked another commenter, referencing the famous Will Rogers quote, while another speculated that whoever it was may have just been stuck in the bathroom.
USA Today reporter Mary Orndorff Troyan did some digging and found out that one of Alabama’s delegates had somehow missed the roll call.
“Bama delegate who missed signing roll call sheet at the hotel this AM was Roger Bedford III,” she tweeted.
Bedford III is the son of longtime Democratic state senator and Hillary Clinton super delegate Roger Bedford, Jr., who was defeated in 2014 after serving seven terms in the Alabama Senate.
Unfortunately for the younger Bedford, his notable absence is likely getting a lot more attention than his presence ever would have. As Woody Allen once said, “80 percent of success is just showing up.”
To see the full roster for Alabama’s DNC delegation, click here.
Hillary’s campaign chairman connected to Birmingham’s failed attempt to land DNC
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — When Hillary Clinton formally announced her presidential campaign Sunday, it was inevitable the long-time DC insider would assemble a power-packed, inside-the-beltway team, but you may not have expected the top member of that team to have an interesting — and perhaps infamous — Alabama connection.
Clinton’s newly-announced campaign chairman John Podesta is a co-founder of lobbying giant The Podesta Group, whose clients include Walmart, BP, Lockheed Martin, and several foreign governments, among many others.
Podesta was President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and served as Counselor to President Obama in the White House, where his duties included “overseeing climate change and energy policy.” He also served as President of the ultra-liberal Center for American Progress, where he continues to serve as their Chair and Counselor.
Birmingham paid The Podesta Group $150,000 in its doomed bid.
In a Yellowhammer reader poll last August, over 90 percent of respondents called such an expenditure of taxpayer money a “waste,” while 7 percent said the city should do whatever it takes to land the convention.
Birmingham ultimately did not even make the final list of potential host cities.
Birmingham lacked the level of infrastructure that other cities could offer. The city’s conference facilities were not up to snuff. There were likely not enough hotel rooms to accommodate the convention. The city’s public transit system — which recently ranked 94th among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas — would have probably been pushed beyond its breaking point. And all of that is on top of the political reality that, for all practical purposes, the Democratic Party doesn’t even exist in Alabama anymore.
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City leaders said a public discussion of the contracts could hurt its chances of landing the conference.
the City ultimately hired the Podesta Group for $150,000, Partnering for Progress for $100,000 and the Covington & Burling law firm for $25,000.
The Podesta Group is led by Tony Podesta, a Democratic strategist who was dubbed one of DC’s “50 heavy lifters” by the Financial Times and “one of Washington’s biggest players” by The New York Times. His brother, John, was President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and now serves as Counselor to President Obama in the White House, where his duties include “overseeing climate change and energy policy.” Like just about everyone else in the Obama universe, the Podestas cut their teeth in the rough and tumble Chicago political scene. Partnering for Progress was founded by Jefferson County Chief Deputy Tax Assessor John Powe.
In the end, the Birmingham City Council got the money and got the lobbyists, but they didn’t get the convention. As a matter of fact, Birmingham didn’t even make it into the final round.
DNC announces finalist cities for 2016 convention: Columbus, New York, and Philadelphia. (Shockingly, Birmingham, Ala. didn't make the cut).
From early on, critics of the City’s plan pointed out that Birmingham lacks the level of infrastructure that other cities could offer the DNC. The city’s conference facilities are not up to snuff. There are likely not enough hotel rooms to accommodate the convention. Birmingham’s public transit system — which recently ranked 94th among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas — would probably be pushed beyond its breaking point. And all of that is on top of the political reality that, for all practical purposes, the Democratic Party doesn’t even exist in Alabama anymore.
Why Birmingham has absolutely zero chance of hosting the 2016 DNC
Twitter was abuzz over the weekend with news that Birmingham, Alabama was one of the six cities that submitted a bid to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016, joining Cleveland, Columbus, New York, Philadelphia and Phoenix. The Democratic National Committee back in April invited 15 cities to make a proposal, and these six responded by the deadline.
A Technical Advisory Committee will now evaluate all of the cities. Members of the committee will visit each prospective site and study their ability to handle the logistical challenges that come with hosting an event of this magnitude.
“Hosting a party convention is a true honor and we’re thrilled with all the fantastic options that we have going into the next cycle,” DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said in a press release. “We look forward to evaluating these bids and selecting a city to host this special gathering of Democrats.”
So what are Birmingham’s chances of actually landing the DNC in 2016?
My initial reaction was “not even a snowball’s chance in…”
But let’s at least start by looking at the facts.
Below is a quick history of recent Democratic National Conventions, including the host venue’s capacity. Although it’s hard to keep a straight face while comparing the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) Arena to, say, the Staples Center in L.A., from a strictly capacity standpoint, the BJCC seems to stack up alright.
But although the BJCC’s capacity is probably large enough to host an event of this size, the truth is, it is a dinosaur. It is not anywhere near the same class of facility that the other potential host cities have to offer. That by itself likely eliminates Birmingham from having any legitimate chance at landing the DNC in 2016.
Another variable the Technical Advisory Committee will undoubtedly be looking at is the number of hotel rooms that each city has to offer. The DNC probably needs at least 15,000.
As you can see from the graphic above, cvent.com estimates that Birmingham has almost 20,000 rooms in the greater metro area. However, the number in the actual city, which is what the DNC will be looking at, is more like 12,000. It’s also worth keeping in mind that a reasonable portion of the city’s existing rooms (2,000-3,000) would be held for current customers of these hotels. They are not going to tell their regular customers not to come during a specific period.
Birmingham’s lack of hotel hotel accommodations by itself likely eliminates it from contention.
Third, it’s going to take a very sophisticated and costly transportation system to transport the crowds around during the DNC. Birmingham’s public transportation system recently ranked 94th among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, according to The Brookings Institute.
Birmingham’s lack of transportation infrastructure by itself, again, likely eliminates the city from contention.
There are also political realities working against Birmingham’s bid to land the convention.
For all practical purposes, the Democratic Party doesn’t even exist in Alabama anymore. If the national Party is at all concerned with making sure a competent, well-organized state party is handling things on the ground in the run-up to the convention, they shouldn’t even give Alabama a second thought. Especially considering that fact that they will need an estimated 7,000 volunteers to work the event.
Additionally, national Party’s have in recent years started to view their conventions as an opportunity to influence voters in key swing states, which Alabama most certainly is not. (Editor’s note: Barack Obama only won 38.36% of the vote in Alabama in 2012.)
Zac McCrary of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, a Montgomery-based Democratic polling firm whose clients include President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and many other national Democratic leaders, explained to Yellowhammer that this trend is likely to continue in 2016.
“It’s great that Birmingham is being mentioned as a contender for a national party convention and this can only benefit Birmingham by raising its profile as a national destination,” said McCrary. “While I’ll be rooting for Birmingham’s selection, I believe both parties are coming to view conventions as not just national stages for their nominees, but as opportunities to generate earned media, volunteers, and to develop a field program in a critical swing state. The 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver is credited with helping the Obama campaign carry Colorado — and both parties selected swing states in 2012. I suspect that trend is likely to continue, making Birmingham an underdog to host a convention in 2016.”
With that in mind, the two Ohio cities vying for the convention may have a leg up on the competition. No Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio.
So here’s the deal: Birmingham has absolutely zero chance of hosting the 2016 DNC. But that doesn’t mean the city shouldn’t continue trying to land big events like this.
“I applaud the City of Birmingham and the Convention Bureau officials for putting our city into the mix for hosting the 2016 DNC,” said Gene Hallman, CEO of the Birmingham-based Bruno Event Team, one of the nation’s largest event management companies. “Regardless of the outcome, the City will benefit from the positive exposure. We need to continue to promote Birmingham’s image as a great event host.”
DNC aims at Cruz, Rubio & Paul in govt. shutdown robocalls
The Democratic National Committee is now venturing into early presidential primary states to tar potential GOP White House hopefuls with blame for the ongoing government shutdown.
On the heels of its campaign targeting a slew of top Republican officials in their home states, the DNC began a new effort Wednesday zoning in on the first four 2016 primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, The RUN has learned.
A new robocall will pour into Iowa while Twitter, Facebook and Google ads will land in all four states.
Listen to the Iowa robocall — highlighting Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul —HERE.
Hi, I’m calling on behalf of the DNC with a GOP Shutdown Alert.
Republicans in Congress like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul shut down the government over a week ago trying to gut Obamacare.
Because of their shutdown new USDA farm loans in Iowa have been halted and Iowa farmers aren’t receiving payments for programs they’re enrolled in.
Their shutdown is costing the economy up to $10 billion a week and they’re willing to force a default on our obligations.
Take action – call the Iowa GOP at (515) 282.8105 and demand that the GOP stop holding the economy hostage.
Paid for by the Democratic National Committee. (202) 863-8000. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
The DNC did not say exactly how many calls would be made into Iowa, only putting the total number of calls this week in the “hundreds of thousands.” Iowa becomes the sixth state to be targeted with DNC robocalls.
“We’ll continue to hold Republicans accountable until they end this manufactured crisis by holding a vote to fully fund the entire government and allow the nation to pay its bills. We’ll continue with additional targets in the coming days,” said DNC spokesman Michael Czin.
This morning’s must-reads are a collection of articles covering the Democrat National Convention. Banning Christians from participating, booing God, total disregard for the Democratic process, overt racism… Just another day at the DNC, folks…
On night one, the Democrats wanted to clear one thing up right off the bat…It feels good to “belong to the government.”
The Democratic National Committee banned dozens of Charlotte churches from distributing gift baskets to delegates because the congregations hold values that are contrary to the party platform, according to local religious leaders.
“They told us our views on women’s rights are contrary to the Democratic party platform,” said David Benham, the lead organizer of the Charlotte714 religious movement.
Charlotte714 is a group of more than 100 churches across the region that mobilized to pray for the Democratic National Convention. More than 9,000 people gathered last Sunday for a time of worship and prayer in advance of the convention.
A gathering of some 200 Muslims praying in Charlotte was given extensive national coverage. The massive Christian gathering received scant coverage.
Benham said the name references an Old Testament passage in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – calling the nation to prayer.
He said 56 churches wanted to “Adopt-a-Delegation.” They put together gift baskets featuring Carolina Pralines and a letter welcoming them to the city and offering assistance in transportation, childcare or spiritual matters.
“We were just trying to display Southern hospitality,” he said. “We wanted them to know we were happy to serve them.”
However, DNC officials conveyed to city leaders that the Christians would not be allowed to present their gift baskets.
“I got a call from the mayor’s office speaking on behalf of the convention and they asked us not to participate,” he said. “They told us our views on women’s rights are contrary to the platform.”
Benham said he was shocked because all the churches involved are mainline denominations ranging from Baptists and Methodists to Assembly of God.
“I was blown away and could not believe it,” he told Fox News.
So instead of gift baskets, Benham asked if they could send welcome letters to the delegates. Again, he said the DNC refused – because the churches hold pro-life values.
Tonight, the Democratic National Committee suspended the rules of the convention and inserted language regarding God and the State of Israel back to its platform. They had to vote three times to do it – and they had to lie to deem it passed, even though it was clear that the measure did not pass a voice vote in the chamber. The original 2012 Democratic Party platform had excised all mention of God and Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.
Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio made the motion to change the platform:
“This summer, I was proud to serve this party as the platform drafting committee chair. I came before you today to discuss the two important matters related to our party’s national platform. As an ordained United Methodist Minister, I am here to attest and affirm that our faith and belief in God is central to the American story and informs the value we have expressed in our party’s platform. In addition, President Obama recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and our party’s platform should as well. Mr. Chairman, I have submitted my amendment in writing and I believe it is being projected on the screen for the delegates to see. I move adoption of the amendment as submitted and shown to the delegates.”
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, the head of the Democratic National Convention, got up and asked for a two-thirds vote on the amendments to the platform. He took a voice vote, with people stating aloud “aye” and “nay.”
The first time, he couldn’t determine if two-thirds of the voters had said “aye”; a loud “no” vote was heard. He asked for a second vote.
The second time, he couldn’t determine whether the voice vote had passed. Again. Villaraigosa looked around in confusion.
Finally, on the third attempt, Villaraigosa took a voice vote and simply declared, in the “opinion of the chair,” that it had been passed. There were widespread boos in the convention hall to the renewed inclusion of God and language about Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And Villaraigosa was lying, in any case – there is no way that the voice vote had passed. Opponents stood up and protested, waving and shouting. The fix was in. The Democratic leadership had to ram a mention of God and a mention of Jerusalem through, violating their own rules, to avoid the fallout within their own ranks.
Watch the vote here:
Enthusiastic cheers for Sandra Fluke. Boos for God and Israel. — #DNC2012
And then DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz tried to explain the above “traveshamockery” which prompted CNN’s Anderson Cooper to remark that Wasserman-Schultz is living in an “alternate universe.”
“Vote Black” buttons are making the rounds on the convention floor… We’ll have to consult the “Liberal Guide to Political Correctness” and get back to you on whether or not this constitutes racism.
Posing as an anti-business crusader, Peter Schiff made the rounds with DNC delegates and attendees and found many of them support explicitly outlawing profits. “We deliberately avoided speaking with the occupy protestors camping outside in tents to get a more “mainstream” Democratic perspective,” said Schiff.