2. Blanchard loans campaign $1.6M; Ivey, James get major contributions
Incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey has a comfortable lead in recent polling ahead of the May 24 primary, but her GOP challengers have continued to raise significant funds this month, including a massive loan from the primarily self-funded candidate.
Lindy Blanchard has loaned her campaign another $1.6 million, bringing her available funds as of late last week to just more than $3 million.
Blanchard, the former ambassador to Slovenia under President Donald Trump, previously loaned her campaign $5 million in December and $2.8 million in January.
Last year, we reported in Inside Alabama Politics that the self-funder was prepared to spend $10 million of her own money running for office, which at that time was the U.S. Senate. She’s now standing at $9.4 million with 28 days to go until the primary election.
While Blanchard has the most cash on hand, incumbent Ivey has taken in some significant contributions this month and has $2.7 million on hand, according to the latest information on the Alabama Secretary of State’s site.
State campaigns have to report separately donations over $20,000 and Ivey’s listed eight totaling just more than $1 million. The largest of those, $750,000, came from a D.C.-based organization called “Get Families Back to Work.”
3. Arby’s worker arrested after grease thrown on customer
An Alabama fast-food worker who allegedly threw hot grease on a customer during a dispute over service in the drive-thru line, causing severe burns, was charged with assault, police said.
The 50-year-old woman was charged Monday following a confrontation that occurred Saturday afternoon at an Arby’s restaurant in suburban Birmingham, according to a statement from the Hueytown Police Department.
Authorities did not provide details on what prompted the dispute, but police said it did not appear the two women knew each other.
The victim, who suffered second-degree burns over a large part of her body and was hospitalized. Court documents show the victim filed a civil lawsuit seeking an unspecified amount of money from the worker, Arby’s and Alabama-based companies that operate the restaurant.
4. Jan. 6 panel wants to hear from McCarthy after new audio
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is redoubling its efforts to have GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy appear for an interview amid new revelations concerning his private conversations about the deadly riot, the chairman said Tuesday.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the panel expects to decide this week about issuing a second request to McCarthy, who has declined to voluntarily appear before the panel.
The committee is racing to wrap up this phase of its work amid newly released audio recordings of McCarthy’s private remarks after the Jan. 6 attack, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol trying to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
In a Jan. 10, 2021, audio recording released Tuesday by The New York Times, McCarthy tells fellow Republican leaders that Trump’s far-right allies in the House are “putting people in jeopardy” with their public tweets and comments that could put other lawmakers at risk of violence.
McCarthy singled out several conservative representatives, among them Matt Gaetz of Florida and Mo Brooks of Alabama, as potentially endangering the security of other lawmakers and the Capitol complex. There’s discussion on the call of disciplining Brooks, who addressed the Jan. 6 rally and urged the crowd to “fight like hell” before they marched to the Capitol.
“He’s putting people in jeopardy,” McCarthy said, according to the new audio. “And he doesn’t need to be doing this. We saw what people would do in the Capitol, you know, and these people came prepared with rope, with everything else.”
5. Russia releases U.S. Marine in prisoner exchange
Russia and the United States have carried out a dramatic prisoner exchange, trading a Marine veteran jailed in Moscow for a convicted Russian drug trafficker serving a long prison sentence in America, both countries announced Wednesday.
The surprise deal involving Trevor Reed, an American jailed for nearly three years, would have been a notable diplomatic maneuver even in times of peace, but it was all the more extraordinary because it was done as Russia’s war with Ukraine has driven relations with the U.S. to their lowest point in decades.
President Joe Biden, who met in Washington with Reed’s parents last month, trumpeted Reed’s release and noted without elaboration that “the negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly.” The Russian foreign ministry described the exchange as the “result of a long negotiation process.”
Multiple other Americans still remain jailed in Russia, including WNBA star Brittney Griner and Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan.