The ‘7 Things’ year-end rewind: What Alabamians talked about in 2018
7. President Donald Trump’s treatment of Alabama’s Jeff Sessions
— Trump’s treatment of the former attorney general started in 2017 and never stopped. He blamed him for Robert Mueller’s investigation. Sessions finally ended his tenure in late 2018.
— Even though he was treated poorly, Alabamians disagree on whether it was appropriate. Sessions told a Mobile crowd he still supported the president and was proud of his service as attorney general.
6. Revelations that a tech billionaire and his minions meddled in the 2017 election of Doug Jones comes to light
— LinkedIn billionaire Reid Hoffman helped fund a deceptive social media campaign to impact the 2017 U.S. Senate special election. Now, Hoffman, Senator Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall have called for an investigation into the matter.
— While the group involved attempts to downplay the impact the deceptive ploy had, an internal report for “Project Birmingham” said it “had enormous effect“.
5. The Riverchase Galleria shooting and the fallout from the protests finally give some in Alabama their “Black Lives Matter” moment
— A 12-year-old girl and an 18-year-old man were allegedly shot in the Hoover mall on Thanksgiving evening by Erron Martez Dequan Brown. In the chaos that followed, law enforcement shot and killed Emantic Bradford, Jr., mistakenly identifying him publicly as the shooter immediately afterward.
— In the protests that followed, Carlos Chaverst, Jr. emerged as a controversial leader by calling for escalations, joining with national figures like attorney Benjamin Crump. Meanwhile, the attorney general has taken over the entire investigation.
4. An Alabama politician is involved in a corrupt scheme to harm his constituents, goes to jail and takes his accomplices with him
— Former State Representative Oliver Robinson pleaded guilty in federal court for bribes from a Birmingham lawyer and an Alabama coal company in return for opposing EPA actions in north Birmingham. He received a sentence of 33 months in prison, $169,151 to the IRS and the forfeiture of $390,783.
— Robinson’s cooperation led to the sentencing of Joel Gilbert, a former partner at Balch & Bingham, and David Roberson, the former Drummond Company VP of government affairs, to prison sentences and fines.
3. Alabama is still open for business
— As the American economy boomed in much of 2018, Alabama did as well. In January, Alabama secured a 1.6 billion dollar Mazda-Toyota plant for Huntsville. It was such good news that Senator Doug Jones tried to take credit for it.
2. Alabama’s 2018 elections
— While the nation saw a “blue wave” that took 40 Congressional seats from Republicans, ruby red Alabama actually became even more ruby red, as all statewide offices stayed in the Republican column. They also kept all six of their U.S. House of Representivates seats.
— Alabama Republicans already had a supermajority in the State House and State Senate, but they still picked up one seat and five seats, respectively.
1. Alabama’s Democrats continue to remain in irrelevancy with the mainstream media joining them
— If you followed Alabama’s elections in 2018 by reading newspapers or watching television, you probably thought that Democrats were poised to elect a slew of Democrats, in spite of the polling. That obviously did not happen.
— Failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walt Maddox was promoted as the next Doug Jones, but the dysfunction in the Alabama Democratic Party continued to render the party feckless and a non-factor in state politics.