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Daily News Digest – May 9, 2018


1. Shelby takes on an Appropriations culture problem. 

  • You’re probably familiar with the trouble the U.S. Senate has with confirming presidential appointees and judges.
  • That problem has many talking about changing longstanding Senate rules on the filibuster – and for good reason.
  • But, did you know there is an arguably worse problem in the Senate with advancing appropriations bills?
  • Well, there is, and it’s costing Joe Taxpayer money.
  • Now that Sen. Richard Shelby is Chairman of Appropriations, he’s taking on this VERY delicate issue by trying to change the culture in the Senate.
  • It’s a thankless task. When it comes to Appropriations, most people only care about what money might benefit their cause.
  • But, if successful, Shelby’s work to fix the federal spending process would have meaningful implications outlasting any one project or line item.
  • I wrote a story about it. Go give it a read HERE.

2. Campaign update: Alabama

Kay Ivey profiled

  • Getting the AP profile treatment today is Gov. Kay Ivey.
  • Kim Chandler followed her down to Daleville where she told a catfish fry crowd that Alabama is “better and stronger” than it was a year ago when she took office.
  • She also has some “classic Kay” words for challengers trying to make an issue of her age and health.
  • Read that story HERE.

New Ads

  • More campaign ads have been added to the rundown. Among them:
  • Troy King’s ad talking about how protecting Alabamians is “who I am”
  • Steve Marshall’s latest ad starring President Donald Trump.
  • Supreme Court candidate Jay Mitchell’s play on his basketball background.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s ad in support of U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (by my count this is the third outside group to air pro-Roby material in the past year).
  • Watch them all HERE.

He Ain’t Wrong

  • At an Elmore County candidate forum, Ag Commissioner candidate Gerald Dial came with some brutal honesty when asked why he was so confident the State Senate seat he’s vacating is “safe.”
  • From Kim Chandler:

Sen. Gerald Dial said he’s leaving a “safe” Senate seat to run for Ag. Commissioner. Said people ask him how he knew it’s safe. “I know it was safe cause I drew the district lines.”

Kim’s tweet went a little viral last night.

3. Campaign Update: National

Mitch McConnell had a good night

  • West Virginia Republicans nominated an entirely electable candidate in Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (the weird “cocaine Mitch” guy came in third).
  • In Indiana, GOP voters chose a non-crazy political outsider in businessman Mike Braun over two sitting congressmen (there are some implications there I’ll get into another time).
  • In Ohio, pretty normal Congressman Jim Renacci secured the GOP Senate nomination. As Capitol Hill reporter and fellow Tune-Inner Paul Kane points out, Ohio Republicans seem to have an enthusiasm advantage at the moment.
  • All three of those states are pick up opportunities for Republicans. Add in Florida, Missouri, Montana and North Dakota and you’re talking about a favorable map for the GOP in 2018.
  • Read more from the Associated Press HERE.
  • Read more from the Washington Post HERE.

Hope for House GOP?

  • It is pretty much conventional wisdom that Republicans are at serious risk of losing the Majority in the House.
  • But not so fast.
  • The economy is still doing really well and voters generally approve with the direction of the country.
  • That’s not the recipe for a party flip. In fact, it’s the opposite.
  • Those numbers and mini analysis HERE.

4. Cliff Sims goes to State.

  • Alabama politico and newsmaker Cliff Sims is leaving the White House and going to the State Department to work for new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
  • Alabama folks remember Cliff best for his founding of YellowHammer News. Cliff built YH from scratch into a seriously effectual media platform before leaving to join the Trump campaign in July 2016. He’s been working as White House Director of Media Strategy and Special Assistant to the President.
  • Cliff said he couldn’t comment publicly on the news, but others are speaking positively about the move.
  • Someone close to Pompeo told POLITICO, “Cliff worked on communications for Pompeo’s confirmation and did an outstanding job, which led to Secretary Pompeo offering him that position.”
  • Our new Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell said on the record,”The State Department will greatly benefit from Cliff’s expertise.”
  • And check out this passage from AXIOS’s White House insider Jonathan Swan: Sources from various corners of the White House have told me that Sims, a Trump campaign veteran, has forged one of the stronger personal relationships with the President of any staffer at his level.
  • That’s pretty crazy and pretty cool. Congrats, Cliff! 

5. Mark Bunting ain’t mincing words.

  • In case you were wondering which way public opinion was swinging on the state’s intervention of Montgomery Public Schools and the education establishments resistance to the turnaround plan, go watch what WSFA General Manager Mark Bunting last night on the news.
  • Bunting got right to the point saying it’s a good thing for Montgomery and the state that the Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of Interim State Superintendent Ed Richardson and against the Alabama Education Association to allow the turnaround plan to proceed.
  • That all makes it worth watching, but you gotta stay until the end to see Mark throw some SERIOUS shade at a certain former Alabama governor.
  • Thank you to WSFA for allowing me to embed and share their video at Alabama Daily News.

Bonus: Welcome Skip Tucker 

  • I’m pleased to welcome veteran Alabama newsman Skip Tucker as an Alabama Daily News contributor.
  • Old school politicos will remember Skip from his time working for George McMillan, Charlie Graddick and Jim Folsom.
  • Newspaper folks will remember Skip for his time as editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle in Jasper.
  • And none will forget his work upsetting the apple cart at Alabama Voters Against Lawsuit Abuse.
  • Skip’s first piece for ADN takes a look back at the 2016 election,  how Donald Trump turned the media narrative on its head, and what implications that has for the news business going forward.
  • Go give it a read HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As Chairman, Shelby takes on an Appropriations culture problem.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey: Alabama ‘stronger’ than it was a year ago.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Skip Tucker: Trump flipped the media narrative.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tuskegee names first female president.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Four charged, $12 million in damages sought in high school football assault.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – WSFA’s Mark Bunting says Court was right to dismiss AEA lawsuit.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP outsiders in-and-out as primary season kicks off

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – State funding for Troy University up, but tuition increases remain possible.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Martin Luther King statue installation set tentatively for winter.  

DOTHAN EAGLE: Dothan site of Democratic candidate forum Friday May 11.

BIRMINGHAM BUSINESS JOURNAL – Alabama named third worst state for working moms.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Candidates, voters gear up for June 5 primary elections.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Video: Aderholt responds to cancellation of nuclear deal.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Dale Jackson: Alice Martin and Luther Strange appear to have both sought appointments from Robert Bentley when they should have been investigating him.

DECATUR DAILY – Sheriff’s lawyer: Grand jury coming; Fifth Amendment at issue.

ANNISTON STAR – Attorney General talks tough: ‘We enforce our laws’.

AL.COM – Biosciences powers Alabama’s economy by $7.3 billion a year.

AL.COM – Ivey among record number of women running for governor.

AL.COM – GOP candidates for governor blast Gov. Ivey’s role in school safety.

AL.COM – Tuskegee University names first woman president.

AL.COM – Scott Dawson shares health info; Gov. Kay Ivey only GOP candidate not to do so.

AL.COM – Doug ‘New Blue’ Smith running for governor to make Alabama bring back more federal funds.

AL.COM – Chris Countryman brings outside-the-box ideas to Democratic governor’s race.

AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith:  Political elite invest in Lt. Governor’s race as Ivey insurance policy.

AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson:  From prison to gubernatorial politics: God ‘gave me a do-over’.

AL.COM – For Frank Stitt and the Highlands Bar and Grill team, it was worth the wait.

WASHINGTON POST – The U.S. now has a record 6.6 million job openings.

NEW YORK TIMES – Children of the Opioid Epidemic.

NEW YORK TIMES – ‘Dreamers’ Ask to Defend DACA Program Against Texas Legal Assault.

NEW YORK TIMES – Russia Tried to Undermine Confidence in Voting Systems, Senators Say.

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