Around the South for Jun15: OK, SC & AL

  Oklahoma: Inhofe wants meeting with Pruitt. US Sen. James Inhofe (R), an early supporter of fellow Oklahoman Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, said in interviews with the Washington Post and with conservative commentator Laura Ingraham that he wanted a face-to-face meeting with Pruitt to discuss recent allegations of misconduct in office. Inhofe said that Pruitt would be “in a very awkward position not to answer to me, and to answer me truthfully.” ……. South Carolina: Gay state Rep wins primary. In 2016 Jason Elliott (R) became the first openly gay person to win election to the Palmetto State House of Representatives. Some folks didn’t feel like Elliott had been open enough about his sexual orientation, however, so this year two GOPers challenged him in the primary, based mainly on Elliott’s sexuality. Elliott won the primary, tantamount to election in a Greenville district that includes evangelical Bob Jones University, with 58% of the vote. He told the  Greenville News, “I think we’ve reached a point that we can shut the door on that narrative. People who go to work and do their job get a contract extension.” ……. Alabama: Ivey wins primary. Despite a spirited challenge from Tommy Battle, mayor of Huntsville, the state’s largest city, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) last week won renomination with 56% to 25% for Battle; Baptist minister Scott Dawson had 14%. Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox won the Democratic nomination with 55%... read more

Around the South for Jun15: OK, SC & AL

  Oklahoma: Inhofe wants meeting with Pruitt. US Sen. James Inhofe (R), an early supporter of fellow Oklahoman Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, said in interviews with the Washington Post and with conservative commentator Laura Ingraham that he wanted a face-to-face meeting with Pruitt to discuss recent allegations of misconduct in office. Inhofe said that Pruitt would be “in a very awkward position not to answer to me, and to answer me truthfully.” ……. South Carolina: Gay state Rep wins primary. In 2016 Jason Elliott (R) became the first openly gay person to win election to the Palmetto State House of Representatives. Some folks didn’t feel like Elliott had been open enough about his sexual orientation, however, so this year two GOPers challenged him in the primary, based mainly on Elliott’s sexuality. Elliott won the primary, tantamount to election in a Greenville district that includes evangelical Bob Jones University, with 58% of the vote. He told the  Greenville News, “I think we’ve reached a point that we can shut the door on that narrative. People who go to work and do their job get a contract extension.” ……. Alabama: Ivey wins primary. Despite a spirited challenge from Tommy Battle, mayor of Huntsville, the state’s largest city, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) last week won renomination with 56% to 25% for Battle; Baptist minister Scott Dawson had 14%. Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox won the Democratic nomination with 55% …….... read more

Around the South for Jun. 14: VA, AR & FL

  Virginia: Stewart wins GOP Senate nomination. Corey Stewart, an avid supporter of keeping his state’s Confederate memorials in place, won a close primary victory Tuesday for the Republican nomination to challenge US Sen. Tim Kaine (D). Stewart, with 45% of the vote, defeated Del. Nick Frietas, a more moderate GOPer backed by the party establishment, who garnered 43%. The Rev. E. W. Jackson, an African-American preacher who was the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor in 2013, was third with 12% ……. Arkansas: Cotton says Trump-Kim meeting “not a pretty sight.” US Sen. Tom Cotton (R), dubbed one of Senate’s major Republican national security voices by The Hill, told talk-show host Hugh Hewitt, that the negotiations between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un are “not a pretty sight. But it’s a necessary part of the job to try to protect Americans from a terrible threat.” ……. Florida: Tampa Bay Times underwater? Jim Bleyer, a former reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and Tampa Tribune, reported on his “Tampa Bay Beat” website that the state’s largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, is indebted for more than $100 million, reported Sunshine State News. Bleyer suggests that the employees’ payroll deduction for the paper’s pension plan may be funneled into paying for current operations, although the Times’ management denies this... read more

Around the South for Jun13: SC, KY & FL

  South Carolina: Graham “danger to the country.” Responding to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, US Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) “is a danger to the country by even proposing ideas like authorizing war with Korea.” Paul added that Graham has “a naïve world view, where he believes that war is always the answer.” ……. Kentucky: McConnell makes history. Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell became the longest serving Senate Republican leader in history, reports The Hill, surpassing the previous record of former GOP leader Bob Dole. McConnell became GOP leader on Jan. 3, 2007 and has served 4,180 days in that post. Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (TX) gave a speech marking McConnell’s record-setting tenure ……. Florida: Scott keeps lead over Nelson. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute, in a survey taken in late May, found that in this year’s US Senate contest in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott (R) led with 40% to 34% for incumbent US Sen. Bill Nelson (D). The university’s polling director, Frank Orlando, told Sunshine State News, “Governor Scott has consistently held an advantage over Senator Nelson in our polling, so the concern from Democrats nationally about losing Florida is justified.”... read more

Around the South for Jun12: TN, OK & FL

Tennessee: Corker catches flak for anti-tariff stand. US Sen. Bob Corker (R), who is not seeking a third term, was booed at a recent Republican rally in the Volunteer State, even though he was introduced by President Trump. The anger towards Corker came from Trump loyalists who are upset with Corker’s opposition to the President’s recent imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum, reports The Tennessee Journal, which Corker contends will hurt the Tennessee economy ……. Oklahoma: State has highest incarceration rate. Although the state Department of Corrections questions the survey’s methodology, the Prison Policy Initiative reports that Oklahoma has the highest imprisonment rate of any state in the nation, reports the Tulsa World. The Sooner State has surpassed Louisiana, which enacted reform legislation last year that reclassified drug possession and some property crimes as misdemeanors ……. Florida: Democrats announce fundraising numbers. As of June 1, Gwen Graham has raised $8.5 million; Philip Levine brought in $15 million, including some personal funds; Chris King raised $5.1 million, including a $400,000 personal contribution; and Andrew Gillum has raised $3.4 million... read more

Around the South for June 7th, 2018: AL, MS, & TX

Alabama: Roby forced into runoff.  Incumbent Republican U.S. Congresswoman Martha Roby failed to win her primary outright on Tuesday, so she will be forced into a runoff against former Rep. Bobby Bright.  Bright, an ex-Democrat, carries some hefty baggage – he once voted for Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House in 2009 during his time in office.  Mississippi: Wicker wins primary.  Republican Senator Roger Wicker easily defeated his primary opponent Richard Boyanton on Tuesday, essentially securing himself another term in the dark-red Magnolia State.  Texas: Trump makes endorsements.  Some high profile Texas Republicans are getting a boost from the President – Trump has announced endorsements of Governor Greg Abbott, Senator Ted Cruz, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken... read more

Around the South for June 5th: GA, TN, & KY

Georgia: Isakson passes VA Bill.  U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) last week spoke glowingly on the passage of his VA Mission Bill, which will expand health care access for American veterans and create greater accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Iskason chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Tennessee: Corker pushes back on Trump tariffs.  U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) says he’s working with other Senate Republicans to find ways to fight  President Trump’s controversial steel and aluminum tariffs  on U.S. allies.  Corker, who has had an uneven relationship with Trump, says many GOP Senators are uneasy over the tariffs.  Kentucky: McConnell urges Bevin to run for re-election.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has had a bumpy relationship with GOP Governor Matt Bevin, but now he is urging his former rival to run for re-election.  “I think he’s done a great job,” said McConnell at a recent... read more

Around the South for May 31st: TX, VA, & LA

Texas: Cruz widens lead in Senate race.  While previous polls have called the race ‘too close to call,’ more recent ones show U.S. Senator Ted Cruz with a healthy 11 point lead in his re-election campaign against U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.  Good news for Cruz, who also boasts a sky-high visibility rating and a solid, if unspectacular approval rating.  Virginia: GOP to pick nominee to replace Garrett.  Members of the 5th District Republican Committee this Saturday will choose their nominee to replace former U.S. Rep. Tom Garrett, who gave up his re-election bid last weekend, citing alcoholism.  The Democrats will run former journalist Leslie Cockburn for the seat.  Louisiana: Still no budget.  A standoff between Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and a Republican-controlled state House sees a state budget due to expire on June 30th.  A third special session in 2018 (for a total of four) will likely have to be called to resolve what has become an embarrassing... read more

Around the South for May 28: TN, SC & VA

Tennessee: Haslam cool to new immigration law, but … Gov. Bill Haslam (R) allowed the Republican legislature’s bill requiring state and local law enforcement to aid federal authorities in detaining illegal immigrants to become law without his signature. He said it is “time to move on and focus on things that are real issues.” However, the leading candidates in the GOP primary for governor aren’t moving on, reports the Tennessee Journal, and continue to run TV ads on the subject ……. South Carolina: Wilkins’ contributed to McMaster. David Wilkins, former ambassador to Canada, former speaker of the state House of Representatives, and current chairman of the Clemson University board of trustees, last year contributed $3,500, the maximum allowed, to the reelection campaign of Gov. Henry McMaster (R). However, Wilkins’ nephew, Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins, is now the running mate for Catherine Templeton, McMaster’s chief rival in the Republican Primary, reports the Anderson Independent Mail. Said the younger Wilkins, “He gave that money long before I was even a consideration for this campaign… I’m sure he’ll want his nephew to do the best that he can in everything he does.” ……. Virginia: 10th District Democrats debate. Six candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge US Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) appeared Saturday at a debate sponsored by the Fairfax NAACP. The contenders focused on racial concerns, assistance for the elderly and low-income residents, and decriminalization of marijuana. Comstock was campaigning elsewhere in the district, but her primary challenger from the right, former fighter pilot Shak Hill, “provided a conservative counterpoint,” reported the Washington Post... read more

Around the South for May 25: TX, OK & AR

Texas: Abbott supports gun law changes. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced this week that he supports several new regulations on gun safety. His statement came after he hosted several panels focused on school safety and student mental health problems. Abbott said he supports more timely reporting of a mental health court ruling as well as reporting the theft or loss of a gun, reported the Texas Tribune. The recommendations come in the wake of the high school shooting in Santa Fe that resulted in eight deaths ……. Oklahoma: Democrats’ staff unionizes. The staff of the Oklahoma Democratic Party has completed its negotiations with the Office & Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), Local 381. The union is one of the largest in the AFL-CIO. Oklahoma’s Democratic staff is the first in the nation to complete its negotiations with the OPEIU ……. Arkansas: Tucker wins 2nd District primary. Two-term state lawmaker Clarke Tucker won the Democratic Primary Tuesday for the nomination to challenge US Rep. French Hill (R) in the General Election. Tucker received 57% of the vote to 43% for three opponents combined. He was the most moderate of the four candidates, as well as the best financed, and was supported by national Democrats, reported Arkansas Online... read more

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