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Daily News Digest – April 17, 2018

 Good morning! Don’t forget to file your taxes. If taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, then can we get a refund for Facebook & Twitter? Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, April 17.

1. 50 days out: Congressional fundraising. 

With 50 days to go until Alabama’s primary elections on June 5, candidates for Congress are reporting their quarterly fundraising numbers.

I compiled how much candidates in competitive races raised and spent in the first quarter of 2018, and how much they have on hand. You can read that HERE.

A few takeaways…

  • Bobby Bright’s $300,000 personal loan gives him real money to use in the AL-2 primary. That’s enough to make legitimate ad buys on television and radio, assuming he wants to spend it all.
  • Troubling for the Bright campaign, though, is the fact that they report a total of ZERO donations from the Wiregrass, an area people always assume is a strength for Bright. Martha Roby reports dozens of Wiregrass donations.
  • Rich Hobson out-raised both Barry Moore and Bright with $45K. It’s notable that Roby’s four primary challengers (Bright, Moore, Hobson, Amason) have raised just $150,000 combined to Roby’s $1.1 million with 50 days to go.
  • Reports show impressive fundraising numbers for Democrats Mallory Hagan ($104K) and Tabitha Isner ($54K). Hagan appears to have tapped into the ActBlue network, which directs money from all over the country to Democratic candidates.
  • Anyway, read it all HERE.

2. Pulitzer for Archibald; WaPo team wins for Roy Moore reporting.

  • If you were online at all or really alive yesterday you probably know that columnist John Archibald was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
  • It’s a high honor for Archibald and a feather in the cap for Read more from Bob Sims HERE.
  • Archibald’s winning submissions included several pieces about the Roy Moore and Robert Bentley sagas. You can see and read them all on the Pulitzer website HERE.
  • Winning the Pulitzer for investigative reporting was The Washington Post reporting team that uncovered allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore. Their winning work can be seen and read HERE.

3. Not so fast on those Russia sanctions.

  • U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Sunday that the United States would be levying new sanctions against Russia for its role in propping up the Syrian regime in the wake of another chemical weapons attack on civilians.
  • She might want to double check with her boss next time.
  • Yesterday, the White House walked that back, saying sanctions were under consideration, but nothing has been decided.
  • Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters “the president has been clear that he’s going to be tough on Russia, but at the same time he’d still like to have a good relationship with them.”
  • One source told the New York Times’ Peter Baker that President Trump had decided not to go forward with sanctions after internal deliberations.
  • So, was Haley confused? Misled? Was she trying to push the president to act? It will be interesting to see whether she is rebuked or punished at all.
  • Either way, it’s not a good look internationally where our NATO allies are trying to figure out what our posture toward Russia is going to be.
  • You know, that Mitt Romney may have had a point about Russia being our number one geo-political foe back when he was mercilessly mocked by President Obama and the left for having a foreign policy mindset from the 1980s.
  • Read more from the Associated Press HERE and from the New York Times HERE.

4. Dearborn departs Administration for private sector. 

  • Longtime Jeff Sessions chief of staff and Trump Administration appointee Rick Dearborn is headed to the private sector after a long career in government service.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Dearborn will become a partner at Cypress Group, a Washington-based consulting firm.
  • Rick has been an influential figure in Trump World ever since Sessions formally endorsed the future president in February 2016. He helped manage the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and later was a key transition figure.
  • In the White House, Dearborn served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs, where he oversaw a large issue portfolio and managed the collaboration between the White House and Capitol Hill.
  • Congrats, Rick.

5. News briefs.  

  • First, a correction: the State School Board isn’t interviewing superintendent candidates Thursday as I said yesterday. The interviews and selection vote(s) will all take place on Friday. Sorry for the confusion.
  • Kay Ivey, Twinkle Cavanaugh and Steve Marshall snagged the endorsements of the Alabama Retail Association in the state’s top three races. RetailPAC has announced all of it’s endorsements, from legislative races to the courts. You can see their entire list HERE.
  • Brian Lyman profiled Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle as the first piece of 2018 election coverage. His story is worth your time this morning. Read it HERE .
  • A federal court plans to force Alabama’s state prison system to address its understaffing issues and one part of the current plan looks like it will include a large raise for corrections officers. WSFA’s Michael Doudna reports HERE.
  • Jonathan Martin and Julie Herschfeld Davis went deeper into a point I was trying to make yesterday about James Comey’s public relations tour: that is serves to undermine his carefully-crafted persona as an unbiased lawman. Their story is worth a read this morning.
  • Message discipline is the name of the game in politics. When you have a winning issue like Republicans have on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, you stick to the talking points and remind voters why they like you. Unfortunately for Congressional Republicans, that’s not exactly working out. Read more HERE.
  • On this day in 1961, 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in an attempt to topple Fidel Castro. Interestingly, Cuba is set to come out from decades of rule by the Catros later this month.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 50 days out: Congressional fundraising report.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Ivey, Cavanaugh, Marshall snag Retail endorsements in state’s top races.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – NFL player takes teen to prom for special needs students.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump lawyer forced to reveal another client: Sean Hannity.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Package bomber asks court to blocked planned execution.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: White House says Russia sanctions still under consideration.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Prattville considers city school system.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Tommy Battle stresses outsider status in race against Kay Ivey.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Joseph Rembert:  Unsung heroes of the civil rights movement should be honored.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan City Schools proposes ban on corporal punishment, seeks public opinion at April 26 meeting.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Would a Birmingham win render majority-black cities ungovernable?

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Facebook broke a promise and now conservatives are paying a price.

AL.COM – 2 Alabama counties where the ‘American dream is dead’.

AL.COM – Lawyer to Alabama governor: Judge killed by bomb would oppose death penalty.

AL.COM – White nationalist Jared Taylor no longer speaking at University of Alabama.

AL.COM – Dick’s Sporting Goods destroying unsold assault rifles.

AL.COM – Walt Maddox unveils plan to combat opioid crisis.

DECATUR DAILY – Gas prices higher locally, statewide.

GADSDEN TIMES – Sessions opens door for Thursday execution.

ANNISTON STAR – Four weeks after storm, some Jacksonville residents still waiting on debris removal to begin.

WASHINGTON POST – Federal judge weighs special master to review seized Trump-Cohen records.

WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post wins 2 Pulitzer Prizes for reporting on Russian interference and the Senate race in Alabama.

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