Tag: election

Sen. Doug Jones launches 2020 re-election campaign

Scott Young, News Editor

Sen. Doug Jones officially announced that he plans to seek re-election to the United States Senate in Birmingham last Sunday, Sept. 8.

Rep. Terri Sewell, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, actor Michael O’Neill and Jones’ wife Louise Jones took the stage as guest speakers prior to the Senator’s appearance.

“I am still as convinced today as I was in 2017 when I announced my candidacy for the Senate that the people of Alabama have more in common than divides us,” said Jones to a crowded room in the B&A Warehouse.

Jones touted his efforts to “bridge the partisan divide”, citing his work to include protections for farmers impacted by the Chinese trade war in last year’s farm bill, secure more funding for historically black colleges and universities and provide more funding for rural broadband.

“All of that could not have been possible without bipartisan efforts and reaching across the aisle,” said Jones.

Jones garnered national attention for his victory in the 2017 Alabama Senate special election against Republican challenger Roy Moore, winning 50 percent to Moore’s 48.3 percent.

The race is expected to be in the spotlight as Democrats seek to win a majority in the Senate. Some credit Jones’ victory to the sexual abuse allegations made against Moore in November 2017. These allegations cited sexual abuse against several women in the 70s. 

Moore announced in June that he would again challenge Doug Jones for the Senate in 2020, claiming that “false tactics” used by “Democratic operatives” led to the demise of his last campaign.

Other Republican candidates that have announced include Rep. Bradley Byrne, Secretary of State John Merrill, State Rep. Arnold Mooney and former Auburn University football head coach Tommy Tuberville.

Photo courtesy of Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

Election 2018: Democrats regain House, Republicans maintain Senate

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Scott Young, Staff Reporter

The Democrats have regained the House of Representatives for the first time since the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency in 2008. With many races at the moment still uncalled as of Wednesday morning, it’s projected that Democrats will gain a net of around 34 seats. Through a House majority, Democrats now have the ability to probe deeper into the President’s finances, the allegation of collusion with Russia, and consider the possibility of impeachment.

During a victory speech, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said that she would restore “checks and balances” to the government, as supporters chanted “Speaker! Speaker!” in the crowd.

“Thanks to you we owned the ground,” said Pelosi. “Thanks to you, tomorrow will be a new day in America. Remember this feeling—know the power to win.”

Republicans held onto their majority in the Senate, flipping a few states along the way. Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota, represented by Joe Donnelly, Claire McCaskill, and Heidi Heitkamp, respectively, all voted in the Republican candidate Tuesday night. The common denominator of these three candidates were their decisions to vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, a factor that may have contributed to their loss. President Trump claimed victory in these states by double digits in the 2016 election.

In a late night tweet, Trump sought to celebrate a Republican victory of picking up seats in the Senate by quoting writer Ben Stein, who said “There’s only been 5 times in the last 105 years that an incumbent President has won seats in the Senate in the off year election. Mr. Trump has magic about him. This guy has magic coming out of his ears. He is an astonishing vote getter & campaigner.”

Exit polls by CNN released prior to election results delivered a rejection of President Trump’s performance in office. The poll indicated that 56 percent of voters in this midterm believe that the country is on the wrong track, and 41 percent believe it’s on the right track.

Republicans swept the state of Alabama Tuesday.

Many believe that the polarizing amendments to the Alabama Constitution placed on the ballot stoked conservative turnout, prompting a statewide rejection of left-leaning policies and candidates. The two—which passed easily—being an amendment to authorize the display of the Ten Commandments on state property and one to “recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children.”

In the race for Alabama Governor, incumbent Kay Ivey (R) handily defeated Tuscaloosa mayor Walt Maddox (D) with 59.6 percent of the vote to Maddox’s 40.4 percent. Congressman Mike Rogers (R) was re-elected to serve Alabama’s third district with a margin of 63.9 percent to Mallory Hagan (D) with 36.1 percent. Additionally, State Senator Del Marsh (R) and State Rep. K. L. Brown (R), who represent the Jacksonville area, defeated their Democratic challengers Jim Williams and Pamela Howard.

“Words cannot express my sincere appreciation. Although we did not win the race, it’s important that we continue to keep the faith. And even at this moment, it’s important that we continue to believe in Alabama,” said Democratic nominee for Governor Walt Maddox in his concession speech.

The people have spoken

Last Tuesday, the people of Alabama and the American public made their selections for those who will represent them in government.

Overwhelmingly, this election turned out to be a full referendum on President Obama’s administration and policy initiatives.

This was especially true in Alabama where Republicans increased their majorities statewide and in the legislative chambers. In the Alabama House of Representatives, Republicans increased their supermajority of 66 to 72 seats of the 105, and in the Senate their supermajority was increased from 23 to 25 of the 35 total seats.

These numbers show that the Republican Party in Alabama now controls 97 of 140 seats in the Legislature (70% of all seats), not to mention all seven statewide offices. So what does this mean for Alabamians?

While some may interpret these results as a “stamp of approval” for policies passed by the Republican-led legislature over the past four years, I have to disagree. If you paid any attention to the political commercials blasting the airwaves across the state for the past few months, you will see why.

With so little emphasis on the record of candidates over the past few years and such heavy emphasis on “fighting Obama,” one must conclude that the results of this election was a referendum on President Obama’s policies. This makes one wonder how much attention will be paid to the actions of those who were elected over the next four years.

In this election, only 40 percent, or 1 million, of the state’s 2.5 million registered voters turned out to cast their ballot. In Alabama there are 3.7 million citizens who are eligible to vote.

Therefore, only about 27 percent, just over one-fourth of Alabama’s voting age population actually voted. Because candidates who won election were selected with at least a 51 percent majority vote, an assumption can be made that only about 13 percent of Alabama’s voting population selected those who will represent us in government for the next four years.

This is very troubling, not just from a governing perspective, but from a civic engagement perspective. When little over 10 percent of a population is selecting their government’s representatives, that leaves virtually 90 percent of citizens completely unrepresented.

So who’s to blame? Those who did not vote, quite frankly. A disengaged citizenry is just as harmful to the population as a whole as is a bad government. We can only hope that Alabamians will monitor the actions of their government and that our government will work to represent all of Alabama.

After all, President Obama only has two years left in office, but the current state government will serve four years. Keep your eyes and ears to the ground, Alabama. You know I will!

Brett Johnson
Staff Writer