The special election to select Democrat and Republican nominees to face off to replace Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions is August 15, and the D.C. Swamp is desperate to permanently plant a swamp creature in place.
Alabama is essentially a one-party state. No Democrat – at least none running as a Democrat — holds a statewide office and there hasn’t been one elected since Sue Bell Cobb won Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2007 (she resigned in 2011 and was replaced with a Republican). So it’s a safe bet – though no ironclad guarantee — that the Republican nominee will be the next Alabama senator.
Although there are 10 Republican candidates running, the race has essentially boiled down to three men vying for two runoff spots: Senator Luther Strange, Representative Mo Brooks, and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Various polls have shown them all hovering around 26 percent to 30 percent, though a recent poll published in Al.com has Strange at 33 percent, Moore at 26 percent and Brooks at 16 percent.
In a highly unusual move, the Senator Mitch McConnell-controlled Senate Leadership Fund PAC is pouring millions of dollars into Strange’s campaign. The money is being used to fund an onslaught of negative ads aimed at Brooks and Moore. The party establishment usually refrains from openly choosing one candidate over others in the primary, but not this time. The PAC is also reportedly funding a contender for Brooks’ House seat, hoping to discourage him from spending all of his campaign funds so he’ll have something left to defend his House seat in 2018 if he doesn’t win the Senate campaign.
Strange, the former Alabama attorney general, was appointed to fill Sessions’ seat on February 9 by the disgraced and corrupt Governor Robert Bentley while Strange’s office was supposedly investigating Bentley for various crimes and acts of moral turpitude. The investigation included allegations of the then-married Bentley misusing state funds to conduct and later cover an affair with chief aide Rebekah Mason.
After the appointment, Strange denied in public comments his office was even investigating Bentley, even though the previous November Strange had sent a letter asking the Alabama House to halt its impeachment investigation so as not to interfere with “related work” being conducted by the AG’s office. Strange’s replacement at AG, Steve Marshall, was also appointed by Bentley. He announced on February 15 that an investigation was underway and he was recusing himself from it; and he appointed special district attorney to handle the case.
Following Strange’s appointment by Bentley, the Republican-controlled state House leadership announced it had restarted its impeachment investigation, citing specifically the inappropriateness of Bentley’s appointment of Strange with its appearance of a quid pro quo, Strange’s strange statement that no investigation was underway, and the tawdry nature of the charges against the governor. Impeachment hearings began on April 10 and, after months of claiming he would not resign, Bentley agreed that afternoon to a plea deal on misdemeanor campaign finance violations and resigned from office.
Bentley’s appointment of Strange and Strange’s wishy-washy pronouncements about whether his office was investigating Bentley stinks to high heaven. So Strange is at least ethically challenged. He’s also now bought and paid for by McConnell and the GOP establishment. McConnell owns him lock, stock and barrel.
Strange has also been implicated in another corruption scandal; this one involving bribes paid by Drummond Coal Co. and ABC Coke related to an EPA superfund cleanup in several predominately black Alabama neighborhoods. Democrat State Representative and former UAB basketball star Oliver Robinson plead guilty to receiving a bribe, but another powerful Democrat representative who was not implicated in the bribery scandal claimed that Strange — while he was still AG — was present when the bribe was offered. The representative later recanted that claim because, he said, it involved “powerful people.”
Strange called the reports “fake news.”
Strange has received campaign contributions from Drummond Coal Co., $25,000 of which came the week before he wrote letters to the EPA opposing the listing of the site as a superfund site.
Although he’s running as an “outsider,” Strange was a D.C. lobbyist for oil and gas interests for more than 20 years before returning to Alabama to run unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2006 and then win election for attorney general in 2010. He’s also claiming in his ads to have been pro-Trump from the beginning though he’s provided no evidence and there are no public recordings of his having endorsed Trump at any time.
Strange is ticking off Alabama voters right and left by being a chronic no-show after committing to attend county party functions, running from debates and avoiding local talk radio when the hosts won’t agree to Strange’s requirements making certain discussion topics off limits. In other words, he’s running like an entrenched swamp critter unaccountable to those whose vote he’s soliciting: pouring tons of money into attack ads and avoiding lowering himself to kissing babies and meeting and greeting the hoi polloi.
Brooks, on the other hand, is a member of the House Freedom Caucus who offered a full Obamacare repeal bill and is working for the interest of his north Alabama constituents.
Moore is the Ten Commandments judge who was removed from office in 2003 by the anti-God, anti-Constitution pro-business wing of the Alabama Republican Party – he was prosecuted by Republican AG Bill Pryor who was later rewarded with a federal judgeship by Bush the lesser – for defying a federal judge’s order to remove from the Alabama Judicial Building a stone monument engraved with Ten Commandments. He was re-elected in 2012 and removed again in 2016 by the same cabal, with an assist from the Southern Preposterous Lie Center, after he stated the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell did not remove a previous prohibition against probate judges issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
Moore has long been a defender of God, the Constitution and the rule of law and we endorse his candidacy for Senate. But most of all, we encourage Alabama voters to vote for anyone but the ethically-challenged swamp creature Lyin’ Luther Strange.
Alabama needs to do its part to drain the swamp.
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