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Daily News Digest – February 12, 2018

Good morning! I hope the media getting snookered by North Korea’s attempt to appear nice and legitimate hasn’t completely extinguished your Olympic spirit. Here is your Daily News Digest for Monday, February 12. 

1. Who’s running

Lots of open seats.

  • Ten State Senate races will not feature the incumbent. 23 State House of Representatives races will not feature the incumbent.
  • That plus the inevitable incumbent or two or three getting knocked off means there will be a lot of new faces in Montgomery this time next year.
  • Having so many new faces in the Legislature can affect a lot. Who will they support for leadership positions? Who will emerge as leaders in the class and how well will they deal with traditional power brokers?  How will brand new members feel about voting for something like a gas tax increase right out the gate?

2. Dems giving it a go

  • As Brian Lyman points out in his Sunday piece, Democrats are at least attempting to run in some state legislative districts that haven’t been traditionally promising.
  • Kim Chandler wrote about how the Doug Jones win has Democrats feeling optimistic for the first time in a while.
  • Throwing cold water on the idea of a “Blue Wave” in 2018 is Yellowhammer’s Dale Jackson, who writes that, among other things, Bobby Bright’s attempt to run as a Republican is proof that the state is getting more conservative, not the other way around.
  • If I may, the lesson of the 2018 Senate Special Election was not that a Democrat can win, but rather that a Republican can lose.
  • Even the least inspiring Republican is still likely to beat the most charismatic Democrat head-to-head in deep-red Alabama.
  • But, a Republican with serious electability issues can absolutely lose to a Democrat. Say, one who gets exposed as, at best, a creep and, at worst, a criminal pedophile.
  • In this environment of #MeToo revelations, it would be political malpractice for Democrats not to at least try to fill the ballot with candidates because you just never know what could happen.

3. About that Governor’s race

  • So Slade Blackwell is running for governor. Raise your hand if you honestly saw that coming.
  • The late entrance into the race by the State Senator from Mountain Brook has a lot of folks scratching their heads.
  • I tried to text Sen. Blackwell Friday night asking for a statement or explanation but didn’t get a reply. I haven’t seen him quoted anywhere else, but maybe I’m missing something.
  • What does it mean? Is Blackwell running in some ploy to split the vote and get into a runoff? Is he in cahoots with another candidate? Maybe Sen. Blackwell actually just wants to be governor and so he’s running?
  • In any case, an already interesting Republican primary just got more so.
  • Just so we are caught up, here are the qualified candidates on the GOP side: Governor Kay Ivey, State Sen. Bill Hightower, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Michael McCallister, Birmingham minister Scott Dawson, State Sen. Slade Blackwell
  • Here’s the list of qualified candidates on the Democratic side: Former Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, former State Rep. James Fields, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, Anthony White, Chris Countryman, Doug Smith
  • For her part, Gov. Ivey is hitting the campaign trail starting tomorrow with a sequence of kick-off events around the state. Her campaign also leaked polling data to YellowHammer showing favorable numbers against the pre-Blackwell field.

4. Immigration deal coming

  • True to his word, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is going to let the Senate vote on immigration legislation – lots of it.
  • AS POLITICO reports, the Majority Leader will allow unlimited immigration amendments to come to the floor for a vote beginning today. That means we could see anything from amnesty for all to funding for a wall, and all manner of things in between.
  • Keep an eye on the amendment being offered by a group of senators led by Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
  • The legislation (which is purported to be of President Trump’s thinking) would reform so-called “chain migration,” stop the diversity visa lottery, begin a 10- to 12-year “earned path to citizenship” to DACA recipients, and fund a $25 billion border wall.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Off to the races: 2018 Alabama contests take shape

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Buoyed by Jones win, Alabama Democrats look for rebirth

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – The Latest: Blackwell running for governor

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman recovering from heart surgery

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – List of qualified candidates for statewide office and Congress

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – 5 things to watch in Alabama’s 2018 elections.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Editor Pepper Bryars:  Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District conservatives should be cautious about Bobby Bright’s candidacy.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama plant figures prominently in Mercedes-Benz global electric vehicle initiative.

AL.COM – Alabama Legislature pitches election reform measures following Senate election stunner.

AL.COM – Hank Sanders bowing out after nine terms in Alabama Senate.

AL.COM – Columnist Shelly Haskins:  Alabama native wins prestigious Schwarzman Scholarship.

ATHENS NEWS COURIER – Study: Alabama ranks 49th in overall dental health.

ATHENS NEWS COURIER – Commissioner John McMillan campaigns for state treasurer.

CULLMAN TIMES – The Cullman Times:  Getting ready for the future.

JASPER MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Large crowd attends Bamacarry state meeting.

SELMA TIMES JOURNAL – Proposed bill could increase the age limit to buy tobacco.

SELMA TIMES JOURNAL – Program teaches students real life skills that can be used in the workforce.

ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Should city get in Internet business? Here’s how Opelika fixed its cable, internet problem.

LAGNIAPPE – Legislators, AG look to retool state ethics laws.

DECATUR DAILY – Mayor: Target Gulf Coast labor to fill skilled shortage.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Columnist Tommy Stevenson:  More to the Russia probe than the dossier.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Visit to the White House should not be politicized.

GADSDEN TIMES – State labor secretary details steps to reduce unemployment.

ANNISTON STAR – THE KITCHEN: A survivor of fire and neglect, it’s all that remains of a grandiose historic hotel. Now it’s on the auction block.

ANNISTON STAR – Bring the AT to Alabama.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Family of Sadie Grace Andrews hopes legislation will spare others heartache.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Historically black college fighting for survival in Selma.

WASHINGTON POST – Trump plan will drop GOP’s traditional goal of balancing budget within 10 years.

WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post:  The next pandemic will come sooner or later. The CDC needs money to prepare.

NEW YORK TIMES – Abuse Case Exposes Fissures in a White House in Turmoil

NEW YORK TIMES – As DeVos Approves Education Plans, She Finds Skeptics in G.O.P. Governors

Today’s front pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit)

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