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Daily News Digest – February 28, 2018


Good morning and good luck to all campaigns trying to get in those last minute donations for the February reporting period! This is your Daily News Digest for Wednesday, February 28. 

1. Sprint through the tape

There were two primary runoffs for legislative seats last night:

Congrats to both candidates and welcome to the Legis- oh wait, that’s right. As I mentioned yesterday, neither winner will likely serve a day in the Legislature this term. They both face special general election challengers on May 15, after the session will have concluded.

They will also face the very same opposition in the June 15 primary for election to a full term.

Winning is winning, though, and I suspect both candidates will get a boost in the fundraising department. 

We’ll do this all again on March 21, when the special election for House District 21 happens. That’s the seat that became vacant when Rep. Jim Patterson passed away.

The difference is that winner will serve at least some time in the Legislature because there were no primaries and runoffs to drag things out.

2. What happened in the Legislature


“Digital First.” That’s the mantra at Leverage Public Strategies, where Blake Harris and his team are establishing themselves as the go-to consulting firm for candidates wanting to get ahead in the analytics and online advertising game.

Leverage was the team behind House District 4 runoff winner Parker Moore’s win last night. Using a smart analytics program, highly-targeted online ads, and aggressive GOTV activity, they helped bring home a win in a very close race.

I’ve worked with Blake for many years and can say without question his quality and know-how are a cut above. If you’re a candidate or campaign manager who is looking to take your campaign strategy to the next level in 2018, give Blake a shout: [email protected].

3. Battle not pulling punches

Twitter lit up last night when Paul Gattis reported on a campaign blog post from Huntsville Mayor and candidate for governor Tommy Battle, who essentially called out incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey for not making it to the Butler County GOP candidate forum the other night.

“…while we were talking to regular people [in Greenville] about the future of Alabama, Kay Ivey was going around to cocktail parties in Montgomery,” Battle blogged.

Okay then.

Ivey’s spokesman responded in part that “Gov. Ivey attends many events to represent the state of Alabama as she governs and moves the state forward.”

Here’s Paul Gattis’s story.

Here’s the original blog post.


  • Extrapolate from that what you will about where this race is heading, but my biggest takeaway is that Battle isn’t afraid to throw an elbow.
  • I was at the Greenville forum and recorded all the candidates speeches. Not every candidate could make it, but it was a good showing. Not much was said in terms of excuses for not attending, save for Sen. Gerald Dial, who offered regrets through Curt Lee saying he was tied up with Senate business (I left for Greenville an hour after the Senate adjourned).
  • Incumbency comes with many advantages, but one of the disadvantages is sometimes not being able to attend events like these and your opponents having a clean shot to point it out.


  • The task for any challenger is to somehow bring down the positive views of the incumbent. That’s tough when Ivey is enjoying high approval ratings, relatively good state budgets and low state unemployment.
  • Conventional wisdom says challengers like Battle, Scott Dawson and Sen. Bill Hightower need to tread carefullywhen going on the offensive so as not to seem like an overly-aggressive attack dog coming after a sympathetic figure in Ivey.
  • Battle seems to be defying that CW by taking a direct dig at Ivey and seeking to set up an insider vs. outsider contrast. 
  • Will voters reward that aggressiveness or reject it? The answer to that question will tell us a lot about how this race will shape up over the next 90 days.

4. Congressional briefs 

Photo of the day 

News broke yesterday that President Donald Trump has reached an informal deal with Boeing to provide the next generation of presidential aircraft.

Boeing, in a statement, said it is “proud to build the next generation of Air Force One, providing American Presidents with a flying White House at outstanding value to taxpayers.”


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers move to arm, train school security volunteers

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – University of Alabama settles portion of lawsuit over student suicide 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Health officials testing patrons as TB linked to Dothan bars

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Graham, wary of politics in life, gets Capitol salute

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Councilman David Burkette wins Democratic runoff for Senate District 26.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor State Rep. Pebblin Warren:  Alabama is one step closer to preventing another day care tragedy.

AL.COM – Alabama Senate approves 1st cost-of-living raise for state employees in 10 years.

AL.COM – Maddox criticizes ‘insane’ arming teachers proposal during Birmingham stop.

AL.COM – Alabama residents pay 2nd most for electricity, study says.

AL.COM – Birmingham mayor tweets to Delta ‘Let’s chat’ after Georgia blocks airline’s tax deal.

AL.COM – Tommy Battle: Gov. Kay Ivey at ‘cocktail parties’ instead of work.

AL.COM – Jeff Sessions pushing ahead with bump stock ban.

AL.COM – Study finds that Alabama prekindergarten boosts math, reading.

AL.COM – FreightCar America acquiring Navistar Shoals facility.

AL.COM – Contributor Quin Hillyer:  Time to ‘unearmark’ state revenues.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Lawsuit: Teachers were tricked out of $60 million in insurance coverage.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Bill to combat opioid abuse passes Legislature.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Columnist Josh Moon:  The Montgomery takeover continues to fail.

DECATUR DAILY – Moore wins GOP runoff for Alabama House.

DECATUR DAILY – No one solution to mass shootings.

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Bill would change school reporting, enrollment for juvenile sex offenders.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Effort to censure Shelby not a good look for GOP.

ANNISTON STAR – Charter schools’ slow start in Alabama.

WASHINGTON POST – Security clearances downgraded for Kushner and other White House officials.

NEW YORK TIMES – Harper Lee’s Will, Unsealed, Adds Only More Mystery to Her Life

NEW YORK TIMES – In N.R.A. Fight, Delta Finds There Is No Neutral Ground

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