3 months ago

Who will run for the U.S. Senate? Latest odds on candidates jumping in

There is nothing quite like serving in the United States Senate. One could argue those seats comprise the 100 best jobs in the world.

The six-year terms allow for a more methodical approach to fundraising and campaigning, while the heightened level of influence in the deliberative body of the greatest nation in the world carries quite an allure.

With the venerable statesman Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) announcing his retirement at the conclusion of this term, one of those 100 seats will be open, and it will be contested right here in Alabama.

There is no shortage of those aspiring – both publicly and in private – to fill the legend’s seat. In an effort to measure potential candidacies, Yellowhammer News has consulted with its oddsmakers to handicap the likelihood of various individuals qualifying to run for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate in 2022.

These are not odds to win the seat or the nomination. These odds merely represent the market’s assessment of the likelihood an individual will submit the necessary paperwork with the Alabama Republican Party to qualify as a candidate.

In addition, our oddsmakers have segmented the list into several different groupings which reflect their collective chances of running.

Here’s how the board currently looks:

Gimme the pen and paperwork

Mo Brooks at 2:9 – The favorite … to run. Brooks would seem to be at the peak of his powers among the state’s voters. The question is has he possibly peaked too early or will he hit his apex mountain in June 2022?

Katie Boyd Britt at 2:1 – This tenacious newcomer to Alabama politics may appeal to a segment of the electorate seeking a fresh name and face to take on the aging Biden/Pelosi/Schumer triumvirate in Washington, D.C.

John Merrill at 4:1 – Here’s the rub: This man has been preparing for this election since before he became SGA president at the University of Alabama. Merrill has shown a deft touch while handling public policy issues. He ran briefly for the Senate in 2020, although that campaign was a bit more touch and go than the all-out run to replace his fellow Tuscaloosa resident. A relentless campaigner, Merrill has been known to give out his cell phone to thousands of Alabamians, both friend and foe, to help solve problems. That type of hands-on approach would serve the public well.

Lynda Blanchard at 4:1 – Blanchard served as ambassador to Slovenia under President Donald Trump. Now, this Auburn University graduate sets her sights on a run for the Senate as a likely self-funder and relative unknown.

“This would be an interesting opportunity”

Jim Zeigler at 6:1 – He wrote the book on how to effectively harness the feelings of Alabama’s citizens and turn that into a grassroots campaign. Zeigler will need such a structure if he qualifies to run for the Senate.

Martha Roby at 8:1 – During her time representing Alabama’s southeastern corner in Congress, Roby was particularly adept at attending to the needs of her district while also navigating the treacherous halls of power to the benefit of her stature in a chamber of 435 people.

Jessica Taylor at 10:1 – Even though she just missed making the runoff for the second congressional district seat in 2020, Taylor launched onto the scene like a Roman candle during her first-ever race for political office. She recently formed a political action committee to support conservative candidates around the country.

Gary Palmer at 14:1 – Palmer is a conservative stalwart who has a knack for bridging the gap between Alabama’s business community and rank-and-file voters. A year ago, he would have had higher odds, but Brooks’ ascension has created an interesting dynamic for Palmer.

Moderate value plays

Del Marsh at 18:1 – At these odds, it may be a little bit of a stretch to label Marsh a value play, but he could also turn into a guy we look back at near the end of the year and wonder why his odds were so low. Maybe he passes his comprehensive gaming legislation, feels confident broadband expansion is finally funded and sees some missing elements in the field of candidates. Expect it when you least expect it with Marsh.

Barry Moore at 20:1 – Moore will be asked by people to run. Does he want to give up a seat for which he fought so long and hard? We feel confident his wife Heather Moore is the only other person who might have the answer.

Rick Burgess at 25:1 – He is the candidate we would most like to employ a camera documenting his every move on the campaign trail. The candor, political naivety, and, of course, the jokes would be must-see TV. And he would be a really good candidate.

Robert Aderholt at 33:1 – One could easily envision Aderholt in the Senate, but there’s something about his congressional seat in North Alabama which seems to match him so well. But he had enough “never say never” and “I don’t have current plans” to run language in his statement to The Hill to keep him out of the longshot odds category.

Bill Poole at 35:1 – Poole hails from the same hometown as Shelby, and he is widely regarded as one of the most gifted legislators. His trajectory continues upward.

Jo Bonner at 40:1 – Bonner exudes statesman qualities, in his own right. He has been as active on Alabama’s pressing issues as possibly any chief of staff to the governor, ever. In a more normal election cycle, Bonner’s odds to run would be higher.

Trip Pittman at 42:1 – The businessman and former state senator from Baldwin County would single-handedly elevate the discussion of issues in any campaign he chose to enter. His industry is on quite a run, one he probably would not want to interrupt with a campaign, so his odds are likely capped.

Bradley Byrne at 45:1 – The Mobile attorney and former first district congressman recently rejoined the firm Adams & Reese. Yet, the siren call of one of the world’s 100 best jobs can be difficult to ignore.

Jeff Coleman at 50:1 – The Wiregrass mover lost his bid for Congress last summer when an out-of-state group spent $900,000 against him. After an experience like that, people usually react one of two ways: never do that again or take one more shot to make it right. TBD on Coleman.

Don’t forget about these guys

Clay Scofield at 55:1 – Scofield was recently tapped as majority leader in the Alabama Senate. He is still young with plenty out ahead of him, but the man is a pure political animal.

Steve Marshall at 60:1 – Alabama’s attorney general has made quite a statement in recent years fighting for Alabama and its values in the nation’s court system.

Cliff Sims at 62:1 — Entrepreneur, White House official, deputy director of national intelligence, musician and now dad. Sims would bring an unmatched diversity of experience to the race. If nothing else, everyone would know he was running.

High value plays

Will Ainsworth at 80:1 — If we had a dollar for each of the people who are going to tell Ainsworth he should run, we could retire. However, he will most likely stick to his plan of ascending to the pinnacle of elected office in state government. Probably.

Twinkle Cavanaugh at 80:1 — Being only a few months removed from an election where she garnered more votes than any non-presidential candidate in Alabama history means Cavanaugh has options.

Luther Strange at 85:1 — The former senator may long to run a normal campaign, against (relatively) normal opponents in a normal election cycle.

Long shots

Robert Bentley at 100:1 – As a practicing dermatologist, Bentley has received his COVID-19 vaccination. Next stop, Chitlin Festival?

Rusty Glover at 100:1 – Glover is a well-liked former state senator from Mobile County.

Mike Rogers at 100:1 – His stint on House Armed Services continues to provide value to Alabama year after year.

Matt Gaetz at 200:1 – There is no residency requirement to run for the U.S. Senate.

Marjorie Taylor Greene at 200:1 – See above.

Gene Chizik at 200:1 – The University of Alabama just completed the greatest season in college football history amidst the greatest run of seasons in college football history while coached by the greatest college football coach in history. What if Auburn controlled both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats?

Billy Canary 1000:1 – Canary once worked in the White House. The specter of two one-time Business Council of Alabama presidents squaring off for a Senate seat would unleash uncontrollable euphoria at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

6 hours ago

Tuberville celebrates public charter schools — ‘Look forward to their continued success’

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) this week co-sponsored a resolution honoring the 22nd annual National Charter Schools Week, which ends this Saturday.

The resolution was bipartisan and introduced by U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC).

“After spending 40 years recruiting students from high schools all over the country, I know the difference a quality education can make in a young person’s life. I’ve seen public charter schools give parents a valuable option for students in Alabama and across the country,” said Tuberville in a statement.

“Charter schools give educators more flexibility to teach in ways that best fit students’ unique needs, and studies show charter schools help close the achievement gap for our most at-risk students,” he concluded. “I’m grateful for the educators and administrators who have helped make charter schools available to students and parents, and look forward to their continued success in educating America’s next generation of leaders.”

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Nationally, 44 states — including Alabama — and the District of Columbia have public charter schools, with more than 7,500 schools serving approximately 3.3 million students.

Scott’s resolution congratulates “the students, parents, teachers, and leaders of charter schools across the United States for making ongoing contributions to education.”

The resolution notes that “high-performing public charter schools deliver a high-quality public education and challenge all students to reach their potential for academic success.”

“[P]ublic charter schools promote innovation and excellence in public education,” it continues. “[P]ublic charter schools throughout the United States provide millions of families with diverse and innovative educational options for the children of those families.”

The resolutions especially praises public charter schools for “making impressive strides in closing the academic achievement gap in schools in the United States, particularly in schools with some of the most disadvantaged students in both rural and urban communities.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

11 hours ago

State Rep. Stringer ousted from Mobile County Sheriff’s Office over ‘difference of opinion’ with sheriff; Blames pro-Second Amendment stance for removal

On Friday, the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office announced State Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Citronelle) was no longer serving as a captain for the department.

According to Mobile County Sheriff Office spokeswoman, Stringer was dismissed for his support of so-called constitutional carry, and Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran had a “difference of opinion” with the Mobile County Republican legislator.

Shortly after those reports surfaced, Stringer responded with his own press statement declaring himself “proud to stand in defense of the Second Amendment.”

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“The Second Amendment gun rights of Alabamians are under attack from a liberal federal government that is out of control and even from some factions right here at home,” Stringer said in a release. “After dedicating my life and career to law enforcement, losing a job because I stand in support of Alabama gun owners is certainly surprising, but nothing will discourage me from defending the constitutional guarantees promised to all of us as American citizens.”

Also, according to the release, Cochran notified Stringer, who served as the Satsuma Police Chief before winning his election in 2018 to serve in the State House, on Wednesday of his dismissal from the captain’s post in the department “because he is sponsoring ‘constitutional carry’ gun rights legislation.

HB618 would allow Alabamians to carry or conceal a pistol without first obtaining a permit from their local sheriff’s office, an effort that the state’s sheriffs have vociferously opposed in the past.

“The U.S. Constitution does not say you have a right to keep and bear arms as long as you pay what amounts to a gun tax in the form of permit fees,” Stringer said in the release. “It says you have the right to keep and carry firearms. . .period.”

“As a state legislator, I swore an oath to God that I would support the U.S. Constitution, and this legislation does just that,” he added. “And whether or not I am employed by the Mobile Sheriff’s Office, my heart and soul will always belong to the mission of enforcing the law and to my fellow officers who seek to protect the men, women, and children of Alabama.”

The bill has 11 other co-sponsors, including State Rep. Proncey Robertson (R-Mount Hope), who served as an officer in the Decatur Police Department.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

15 hours ago

Report: Environmental activists team up with socialists, sex workers in Birmingham

According to a report published Thursday, left-wing Birmingham environmental group GASP is moving to support socialism and sex work in the Magic City.

Alabama Today reported that a rally is being planned in Birmingham to support sex workers, including prostitutes.

The first speaker listed for the event is reportedly GASP’s Nina Morgan, and the organization itself is set to have a table at the event alongside the local “Party for Socialism and Liberation.”

“Stated in their latest Facebook post is, ‘Without the economic, political, military and diplomatic backing of U.S. imperialism, the state of Israel would not last long,'” Alabama Today noted.

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Morgan is listed as GASP’s “Climate & Environmental Justice Organizer.”

“She became radicalized first and foremost by her parents, who were divorced but often had conversations with her and her twin brother about the social ills of the world. Further, her political analysis emerged during her time serving on the youth council of a reproductive justice initiative called the Alabama Alliance for Healthy Youth,” GASP’s website advises.

The event, scheduled for June 6, is billed as an “International Sex Workers’ Day Rally.”

Per the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) website, the day is an annual event. One of the organization’s core values is, “Opposition to all forms of criminalization and other legal oppression of sex work.”

A flier promoting the event shows a police car in flames, smushed by a stiletto.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

16 hours ago

7 Things: Biden says you have his permission to take off your mask, special session may be needed, Democratic state representatives want Huntsville’s police chief fired and more …

7. 150 Republicans emerge and embarrass themselves again 

  • Since the first day Donald Trump came down the escalator, the American media and their Democrats touted the “courageous Republicans” who would abandon the party over the former president. With U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) losing her leadership post, those same people are leaving the party again, for real this time.
  • The “Call for American Renewal” is an uncompelling list of the usually gripers and grifters, CNN and MSNBC contributors and Lincoln Project hacks. This includes independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin, former Trump staffer Anthony Scaramucci, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Richard Painter, columnist Max Boot and a “Who’s who or who’s that?” of American politics.

6. White House: We have to teach about systematic racism

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  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to some who have said that teaching critical race theory is “liberal indoctrination,” saying that they don’t “think we believe that educating the youth, next leaders of the future, leaders of the country, on systemic racism is indoctrination.”
  • Psaki went on to say that teaching about systemic racism is “actually responsible.” This comes after U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced the Ivory Tower Act to tax the endowments of colleges and universities to put more money toward training in trades. Cotton said that these establishments are making money while “indoctrinating our youth with un-American ideas.”

5. Ivey makes it clear that Alabama stands with Israel

  • Governor Kay Ivey clearly stated that Alabama is standing with Israel as they face attacks from the terrorist organization Hamas in Gaza. There has been some speculation from UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland that if conflict continues or gets worse, it could result in “a full-scale war.”
  • Alabama has a strong business relationship with Israel, with exports totaling $49 million in 2020, which was 27% higher than the state’s exports to Israel in 2019. Ivey spokesperson Gina Maiola said, “[I]it is appropriate with Alabama’s longstanding relationship with Israel that she reaffirmed our position as an ally and friend. As Governor Kay Ivey said this morning, Alabama stands with Israel.”

4. Group calling for Huntsville PD chief to be fired or forced to resign

  • Due to the comments made by Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray after officer William Ben Darby was convicted of murder, the Rosa Parks Day Committee in Huntsville is calling for Mayor Tommy Battle to fire McMurray.
  • State House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) and State Representative Laura Hall (D-Huntsville) were present with the committee at a press conference where they made these requests. They claimed that McMurray should be removed due to his comments on Darby and the handling of the protests downtown in 2020.

 3. Special session likely needed for issues like prisons and gambling

  • State Senator Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) said it’s likely a special session will be necessary to deal with issues like prisons and gambling since there’s only one more day left in the regular session and it’s unlikely that these issues will be resolved in that short time.
  • Chambliss said that Governor Kay Ivey should at least call “a five-day short special session to make it work.” He added that a special session to deal with building more prisons in the state is even more necessary as there have been funding concerns and the state still faces an order from the U.S. Department of Justice to fix unconstitutional conditions. Chambliss went on to say that if the issue isn’t addressed, he thinks “the DOJ is going to be very serious about their next steps.”

2. Biden thinks he did something on masks

  • New guidelines have been released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on when vaccinated people should wear a mask by saying that they don’t need to wear a mask “in any setting” and you can “resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.” The U.S. House, some cities (including Birmingham), states, and many businesses will keep the masks for now.
  • President Joe Biden hilariously tweeted some authoritarian nonsense, stating, “The rule is now simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do.” Governor Kay Ivey praised the decision to lift masks, despite only lifting the statewide mask mandate in Alabama about a month ago. She said, “Finally, we are seeing some encouraging, common sense guidance from the CDC.”

1. Now schools should be open, too

  • After months of resistance to reopening schools, a teachers union is now deciding that schools must reopen in the fall. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers said, “There is no doubt: Schools must be open,” adding, “Given current circumstances, nothing should stand in the way of fully reopening our public schools this fall and keeping them open.” Weingarten also said, “The United States will not be fully back until we are fully back in school. And my union is all in.”
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci is calling for the schools to open up all the way, telling CNN, “I believe the schools should be open five days, full blast, just the way it was before,” and he wants it done “by the time we get to the fall.”

17 hours ago

Huntsville-based Torch Technologies awarded $722M U.S. Army contract

Huntsville-headquartered Torch Technologies this week announced a $722 million contract award from the federal government.

The task order comes via U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Aviation and Missile Center (AvMC) Systems Simulation Software and Integration Directorate (S3I) for Modeling and Simulation (M&S) Aviation and Missile Systems. The order has a five-year period of performance and will be executed primarily in the Rocket City.

According to a press release, the Torch team will develop and apply models and simulations to aviation and missile system analysis ensuring warfighter readiness and future capabilities are realized.

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Torch will reportedly supply cost-effective solutions that facilitate readiness and technological dominance of the Army’s current and future force.

“Torch is pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with the DEVCOM AvMC S3I M&S customers,” stated Torch president and CEO John Watson. “We are proud to be a part of their important mission to provide weapons development and modernization support to our warfighters.”

A 100% employee-owned business with more than 900 global employees dedicated to quality technical services, competitive costs and ethical business practices, Torch also has an Alabama presence at Fort Rucker in the Wiregrass. In 2019, Torch annual revenues were approximately $513 million.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn