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Daily News Digest – June 7, 2018

Good morning!  Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, June 7, 2018. 

1. A Correction, Updates & Omissions.


House District 45

  • In a stunning update, State Rep. Dickie Drake has WON his primary over Ted Crockett.
  • The race seemed all but over and going Crockett’s way until boxes from Drake’s home of Jefferson County were finally counted putting him over the top.
  • Drake’s win makes GOP House incumbents 15-0 in their primary reelection bids this year. That’s a feather in the cap for House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, Majority Leader Nathanial Ledbetter and their leadership team.

Supreme Court

  • Jay Mitchell won the GOP nomination for Supreme Court Place 1 and will face Democrat Donna Smalley in November. By my count, Mitchell was the state’s third-highest vote-earner at 305,177 behind Sec. of State John Merrill (334,922) and Gov. Kay Ivey (330,743).
  • Brad Mendheim and Sarah Stewart will head to a runoff for Supreme Court Place 1. Mendheim led the three-way race Tuesday with 43 percent of the vote to Stewart’s 29 percent and Debra Jones’ 27 percent.

Attorney General

  • Joseph Siegelman won the Democratic nomination for Attorney General decidedly over Chris Christie. While most of the attention is on the GOP runoff, I did not mean to omit this side of the race.


  • Tabitha Isner defeated Audra Scott Williams for the Democratic nomination for Congress in AL-2. Again, most attention is on the GOP runoff, but I didn’t mean to leave this out.
  • Mallory Hagan defeated Adia Winfrey for the Democratic nomination in AL-3. She’ll face Congressman Mike Rogers in the fall.

See all the results on the Secretary of State’s website HERE.

THANK YOU everyone who took a minute to reply and let me know I had a mistake or left something out. I greatly appreciate the feedback.

2. More election data points


  • 589,533 people voted in the Republican Primary for governor. That’s more than double the 283,081 that voted in the Democratic Primary.
  • That total is also the highest of ANY gubernatorial primary I can find.
  • The closest are 1998 Fob James-Winton Blount at 554,746 and 2010 Bradley Byrne-Tim James-Robert Bentley, et all at 492,733.
  • Kay Ivey’s 330,743 vote total is >45K above all the Democrats combined. It’s more than double Walt Maddox’s 154,599.
  • Republicans say these numbers dispel any notion of a pro-Maddox / anti-Trump “Blue Wave” in Alabama.
  • Democrats say the primary numbers were similar last year before Doug Jones eventually defeated Roy Moore.
  • I say Kay Ivey is not Roy Moore.


  • Only one incumbent state lawmaker – Sen. Paul Bussman of Cullman – has lost reelection. At least so far.
  • As I mentioned, GOP House incumbents were 15-0. Two Democratic House Members – Pebblin Warren of Tuskegee and Alvin Holmes of Montgomery – face runoffs.
  • GOP Sen. Larry Stutts of Tuscumbia faces a runoff against Steve Lolley.
  • I’m not sure it counts as an incumbent, but State Sen. David Burkette is in a runoff with State Rep. John Knight.
  • So in a year with a lot of legislative retirements, there will be little turnover amongst those who chose to run again.
  • Read more from’s Mike Cason HERE.

3. Trump commutes sentence of Alice Marie Johnson

  • Many snickered (including me, kind of) when this photo of President Trump and Kim Kardashian-West made the rounds on the internet.
  • The accompanying tweet simply said they were meeting about “prison reform and sentencing.” The two (former?) reality TV stars aren’t known for their policy breadth, so, fair.
  • The full story is Kardashian was there to ask Trump to consider commuting the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, who had served more than 20 years in an Alabama prison after being sentenced to life for drug offenses.
  • The president granted the request.
  • Turns out the commutation request never made it to President Obama’s desk because it never made it through Dept. of Justice review.
  • The president has been in a pardoning mood lately. Agree or disagree with this decision, it is an incredible instance of a celebrity bypassing layers of bureaucracy to achieve a major result.
  • Also, what is going on with Trump and the Kardashian-Wests?
  • If Kim & Kanye show up at the RNC in 2020 it’s going to, well, break the internet.

4. Stokes: ideas, not symbolism, needed to solve problems. 

  • Alabama Daily News Contributor Matthew Stokes is back with a column this week.
  • His piece takes a look at all the pandering throughout the primary campaign and what it says about our politicians and ourselves.
  • There was a lot of pandering, just as there always is.
  • Stokes argues that when voters respond more to the symbolic rather than the substantive in the campaign, we invite our leaders to focus on the symbolic rather than the substantive in office.
  • Here’s a snippet:

While we might like our leaders to make us comfortable and to relate with us on a personal level and share our common values and interests, it isn’t necessary.

You may be a hunter, but your governor doesn’t have to be one. You may like organic kale and fair trade coffee, but your attorney general doesn’t have to, as well.

When these things become priorities, our politicians don’t just spend their campaigns running on cultural symbolism. They spend their time in office doing it, too.

  • His full column is worth a read and you can do that HERE.

5. News Briefs.

  • The Alabama Ethics Commission has ruled that politicians’ campaign funds can be spent on child care services. The Federal Elections Commission had a similar ruling earlier this year. Generally, state and federal laws prohibit spending funds on “personal” expenses. But, what makes child care costs any different than gasoline or food or any other expense that, without it, you couldn’t much campaign effectively?
  • YellowHammer News’ Jeff Poor writes about the runoff between Martha Roby and Bobby Bright in AL-2. He gets into the history or the district, why it matters, and how it gives Roby the upper hand. Read Jeff’s piece HERE.
  • Congressional GOP leaders are meeting this morning to see if they can figure out a consensus on immigration. There are deep divisions over the issue, which has kept the House from completing important work, including the Farm Bill. Lack of progress on legislation is not good for Congressmen seeking reelection. Read more HERE.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cancelled August recess. He says chamber needs to stay in town and keep working, especially since a backlog of nomination confirmations remain. He blames Senate Democrats’ delay tactics. Cancelling summer plans might be one way to end those blockades. Read more HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: Ideas, not symbols, solve problems.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump commutes term of Alabama drug offender after Kim Kardashian champions her cause.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In Roby-Bright runoff, Trump loyalty takes center stage.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Sheriff loses reelection after jail fund criticism.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Will Paul Ryan’s departure be a chance to change the House?

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Group of ten senators challenge Trump on tariffs.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Voters present a few surprises in Alabama legislative primaries.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Marshall, King head to runoff in Attorney General race.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Roy Moore’s career may be over, but Mooreism is not.

DECATUR DAILY – Pundits: Maddox needs message, turnout in November.

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Home sweet home.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Party absolutism keeps country bitterly divided.

GADSDEN TIMES – County’s voters spoke loudly in sheriff’s race.

ANNISTON STAR – Facts about this Alabama election.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Primaries not over yet: A look at the July 17 runoffs.

AL.COM – Incumbents almost go undefeated in Alabama Legislative races.

AL.COM – Alice Marie Johnson reunited with her family after more than 2 decades in prison.

AL.COM – Kay Ivey’s staff calls idea of blue wave in Alabama “a joke”.

AL.COM – Killer who twice avoided death penalty dies in prison infirmary.

AL.COM – Evangelist fell short despite support from Rick, Bubba, Hobby Lobby founder.

AL.COM – Alabama gubernatorial candidate gets 3,000 votes despite being dead.

AL.COM – Trump commutes sentence of woman in prison in Alabama.

AL.COM – Ethics Commission says campaign funds can pay child care.

AL.COM – UAB named top ‘young’ university in the U.S.

AL.COM – One-fourth of Alabama voters show up; GOP doubles Democrats.

AL.COM – Walt Maddox agrees to a debate, but will Kay Ivey?

AL.COM – EOS will locate flagship facility in Huntsville, creating 100 jobs.

AL.COM – Sin taxes can stifle brewing economy but perhaps only for a while.

AL.COM – The relationship between Trump and Sessions might be at breaking point.

AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson:  To win in November, Maddox and Democrats must fight Trump with Trump.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Columnist Josh Moon:  There is hope for Alabama.

WASHINGTON POST – Democrats strengthen hand in seeking control of House, even if odds of a blue wave are diminishing.

WASHINGTON POST – In some states, a debate over payday lending unfolds in the black church.

WASHINGTON POST – An Alabama sheriff kept $750,000 meant to buy food for inmates. Voters just replaced him.

WASHINGTON POST – Paul Ryan splits with Trump, says ‘no evidence’ FBI spied on president’s campaign.

WASHINGTON POST – Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stirs confusion, faces criticism over gun remarks.

WASHINGTON POST – Mick Mulvaney fires all 25 members of consumer watchdog’s advisory board.

NEW YORK TIMES – Family Separation at Border May Be Subject to Constitutional Challenge, Judge Rules.


No Front pages today 🙁 

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