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Daily News Digest – July 18, 2018

Good morning! The Primary Election is over and thank heavens it is. Lot’s of election info below so please bear with me. Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

1. What Happened. 

  • U.S. Rep. Martha Roby defeated former Rep. Bobby Bright for a lopsided 68-32 reelection runoff victory. Read Caroline Beck’s story HERE.
  • Attorney General Steve Marshall also won in convincing fashion, defeating former AG Troy King 62-38. Read my story on that HERE.
  • State Rep. Will Ainsworth defeated PSC President Twinkle Cavanaugh in a close race for Lieutenant Governor, securing a 51.5-48.5 win. Read Caroline Beck’s story on that race HERE.
  • Lowndesboro Mayor Rick Pate defeated State Sen. Gerald Dialin the Ag Commissioner runoff by 57-43. Read Will Whatley’s write up HERE.
  • Mobile Circuit Judge Sarah Stewart defeated sitting Supreme Court Justice Brad Mendheim 57-43 for the Supreme Court Place One seat.
  • Alabama Tax Court Judge Christy Edwards defeated Baldwin County Circuit Judge Michelle Thomason 54-46 in their Court of Civil Appeals runoff.
  • District Attorney Chris McCool defeated former Assistant AG Rich Anderson 55-45 for the Court of Criminal Appeals.
  • Tracie West narrowly defeated Melanie Hill 50.7-49.3 in the Republican runoff for Seat 2 on the State School Board.
  • Read the AP brief on all the races HERE.

2. Why it Matters

  • Here’s one common thread I noticed during last night’s elections: the candidates who went hard negative/super personal in their advertising lost.
  • Troy King threw everything but the kitchen sink at Steve Marshall.
  • Gerald Dial brought Rick Pate’s ex-wife into the race and accused him of domestic violence.
  • Twinkle Cavanaugh attacked Will Ainsworth’s college arrest record in an ad that few thought was a good idea.
  • Bobby Bright had all kinds of mean and weird things to say about Martha Roby.
  • All lost.
  • Is that a rejection of super negative campaigning? Maybe. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, and there are LOTS of other factors (which I’ll be getting into in the days to come).
  • Some have offered different takes to me on Twitter.
  • One thing is clear: the “Hail Mary” negative attacks at the end did not work. Maybe that can help prevent more of them in the future.
  • As I wrote in my Election Day column, it’s partly up to voters to demand more substantive, issue-based campaigns from candidates going forward.
  • What do you think? Am I onto something? Am I hopelessly naive? Hit me up on Twitter or reply to this email and let me know.


A message from Troy University

  • Each week TROY students meet in the kitchen to do their part to eliminate hunger in Pike County.
  • Learn more about their amazing work and how it helps make the TROY family so special HERE.


3. What’s Next. 

  • The stage is set for the November elections…
  • Roby will face Democratic nominee Tabitha Isner. The district swings heavily Republican, but there is already some national interest in Isner as a product of the Women’s March movement.
  • Marshall will face Democratic nominee Joseph Siegelman for Attorney General. Yes, that’s the son of former Gov. Don Siegelman, and that name on the ballot alone will make for an interesting race.
  • Ainsworth will face Democratic nominee Will Boyd for Lt. Governor. Boyd was a late-filer to help fill the Democratic ticket.
  • Pate has no Democratic opposition for Ag Commissioner in the fall. Same for John McMillian in the State Treasurer race. Lucky ducks.
  • Of course, the marquee race will be at the top of the ticket, where Gov. Kay Ivey faces a challenge from Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. It’s an uphill battle for Maddox in a deep-red state, and Ivey has the winds of a booming economy at her back. But Maddox has signaled an aggressive campaign.
  • This primary season was a doozy. I say we all take a breather.

4. What about the Legislature?  

Don’t forget! The real power in the state rests with the Alabama Legislature. 

There were runoffs for some key legislative seats yesterday. Here are the results…

  • Rep. Alvin Holmes, the longest serving member of the Alabama House of Representatives, was ousted by newcomer Kirk Hatcher by 17 points.
  • State Rep. John Knight, also a long-serving mainstay in the Legislature, was again defeated by Coach David Burkette by 34 points. (interestingly, when he went to his polling place, Knight says he was told he couldn’t vote in the Democratic runoff because he had previously voted in the Republican primary. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill confirmed Knight’s voting record was altered.)
  • Baldwin County Commissioner Chris Elliot defeated dentist David Northcutt 52-48 in the GOP runoff for the Senate District 32 seat being vacated by Trip Pittman.
  • Will Dismukes, a 28 year old businessman, defeated longtime Autauga County Probate Judge Al Booth 72-28.
  • State Sen. Larry Stutts fended off Steve Lolley in Senate District 6, winning 53-47. He faces a significant challenge from State Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow in November.
  • Randy Price defeated Mike Sparks 58-42 to win the GOP nomination for the Senate District 13 seat being vacated by Gerald Dial.
  • And State Rep. Pebblin Warren will be returning to Montgomery after defeating Johnny Ford 63-37 for the House District 82 seat.

For full results of these and ALL elections on the ballot, visit the Secretary of State’s website HERE.

Also, and the Montgomery Advertiser had excellent statewide election results pages I encourage you to visit.


  • The shakeup in Montgomery’s education leadership continued Tuesday, care of the voting public.
  • Board President Robert Porterfield lost his runoff to Claudia Mitchell and now at least four members of the seven-person board will be new faces.
  • I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such an outcry for change at the local level, particularly on a bi-partisan basis.
  • Montgomery Public Schools, one of the state’s largest systems, is in the midst of a state takeover and is at risk of losing accreditation after years of mismanagement.
  • Residents have chosen new blood to lead the school board, but their task will not be an easy one.
  • Read these important Montgomery Advertiser stories for more: Krista Johnson’s big picture take on the state of play in the runoffs and Andrew Yawn’s write up on how the board president’s defeat is a signal for change.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Roby defeats Bright for lopsided Congressional runoff win.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Marshall defeats King in AG runoff.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS –  Ainsworth defeats Cavanaugh in Lt. Gov race.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pate defeats Dial in Alabama Ag Commissioner race.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS –  AP Rundown: Alabama primary runoffs.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Todd Stacy: Demanding more of ourselves and our candidates. 

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Moving forward: winners and losers of MPS board of education runoffs. 

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – With board president loss, voters cast ballots for change. 

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Roby bests Bright in runoff for fifth term.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Steve Marshall wins Republican nomination for Attorney General. 

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Ainsworth gets GOP nod for Lt. Governor. 

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Dismukes easily takes GOP nod for House District 88.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan’s Brad Mendheim concedes to opponent Sarah Hicks Stewart in runoff for Alabama Supreme Court Justice.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan’s Melanie Hill falls in close race for State School Board to Tracie West.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Alabama, get on board for electronic voting.

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Stutts defeats Lolley to win Republican nomination.

GADSDEN TIMES – Lipscomb wins nomination; Ramsey wins commission seat.

ANNISTON STAR – Next up for voters, Alabama’s future.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Dale Jackson: Republicans don’t have to oppose Trump because he refuses to admit Russia meddled and wanted him to win.

AL.COM – Chris Elliott wins bitterly contested GOP runoff for Senate District 32 seat.

AL.COM – Alvin Holmes, longest-serving Alabama House member, loses seat.

AL.COM – Will Ainsworth wins Alabama lieutenant governor runoff race; Twinkle Cavanaugh concedes.

AL.COM – Pate wins Alabama’s hard-fought race for Agriculture Commissioner.

AL.COM – Jefferson County: Rafferty wins runoff, Scales and Tyson win commission seats.

AL.COM – With Trump endorsement, Martha Roby defeats Bobby Bright.

AL.COM – Steve Marshall defeats Troy King after bitter attorney general race.

AL.COM – Rep. Terri Sewell invites UN’s Haley to see Alabama poverty for herself.

AL.COM – Rebekah Mason works for Robert Bentley’s medical practice, former governor confirms.

AL.COM – One Balch lawyer charged in Oliver Robinson conspiracy dismissed from case.

AL.COM – Airbus confirms new airline’s big order for A220 jets.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  New Bentley deposition has lurid details, but that’s not the shocking part.

AL.COM – Democratic Rep. John Knight handed GOP ballot, says voter list wrong.

AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith:  Make America lead again.

AL.COM – Members of Congress: Tariff on Canadian paper threatens U.S. newspaper industry.

WASHINGTON POST – How Trump retreats: Grudging apologies, plus a wink and a nod to the original insult.

WASHINGTON POST – Columnist George Will:  Trump is a sad, embarrassing wreck of a man.

WASHINGTON POST – ‘Morally repugnant’: Homeland Security advisory council members resign over immigration policies.

WASHINGTON POST – EPA eases rules on how coal ash waste is stored across U.S.

WASHINGTON POST – Federal Reserve chair: Decline in worker share of national economy ‘very troubling’.

NEW YORK TIMES – A Besieged Trump Says He Misspoke on Russian Election Meddling

NEW YORK TIMES – After Putin Meeting, Trump Voters Mostly Dig In. But Cracks Are Showing.

NEW YORK TIMES – I.R.S. Will No Longer Force Groups to Disclose Donors

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