Around the South for August 13th: GA, TX, & TN

Georgia: Deal, Trump talk criminal justice reform.  GA Gov. Nathan Deal met with President Donald Trump and White House officials last week to discuss criminal justice reform, including the successes and results of initiatives implemented in Georgia, which have been a hallmark of Deal’s time in office.  Texas: Cruz asks Trump for help.  U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is in a tougher-than-expected battle for re-election against Democrat Beto O’Rourke, with polls showing a tightening race.  Cruz is appealing to President Donald Trump for help in the race, in a state where he remains very popular.  The pair have had a testy relationship dating back to the debates when both were running for President in 2016, but tensions have cooled in recent years.  Tennessee: Cohen under fire for Trump remarks.  Democratic nominee for Senate Steve Cohen is taking heat for comments he made regarding the president and Republican opponent Marsha Blackburn.  Cohen said that Blackburn would likely jump off a bridge if Trump told her to, and that “I wish he’d say that.”  Republicans jumped on the comments immediately, while Cohen has apologized saying the quotes were meant in... read more

Around the South for August 9th: FL, TN, & VA

Florida: GOP candidates toss barbs.  The final debate between Republican gubernatorial candidates Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam got testy ahead of their primary election.  Putnam has been forced to go on the offensive following President Donald Trump’s endorsement of DeSantis, a move that has seen him skyrocket in the polls.  Tennesee: Blackburn all in on Trump.  U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn has made her recent endorsement from Donald Trump the centerpiece of her campaign for Senate against former Democratic governor Phil Bresden.  Trump carried the state with 61% of the vote in 2016.  Virginia: Northam declares state of emergency.  Governor Ralph Northam and the city of Charlottesville have declared a state of emergency ahead of the one year anniversary of the deadly white nationalist rally that took place in the city.  The declaration frees up law enforcement, National Guard, and other resources should any trouble... read more

Around the South for August 8th: Southern highways, AL, & FL

New interstate would connect West Texas to Augusta, Georgia. Supporters of the proposed I-14 say the highway will reduce poverty, and enhance the quality of life along the route. The proposed route would parallel I-20 to the south, and connect cities that don’t currently have a major highway connecting them throughout Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.  Alabama: Dem claims Russia attempted to hack campaign.  Tabitha Isner, who is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), says Russia has tried to hack her campaign website at least 1,300 times. None of the breaches were successful, but Isner tweeted out a table that shows that 1,317 out of 1,492 attempts were linked to Russia.  Florida: Shooting victims look to influence gov.’s race.  Families of shooting victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School want to have an effect on the outcome of the state’s governor’s race. Victims’ parents have come out to endorse certain Democratic candidates after Dems Philip Levine and Jeff Greene invoked the tragedy in some television ads. This is happening while Republican frontrunner Adam Putnam is trying to walk back some controversial remarks about the... read more

Around the South for August 7th: TX, FL, & SC

Texas: Sessions/Allred race a “toss-up.”  The race between Republican incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions and Democratic challenger Colin Allred has been classified as a “toss-up” by pundits, signaling that the long-time incumbent may be in trouble.  Hillary Clinton won the suburban Dallas district by 2 points in 2016.  Florida: Congressional candidate calls for ICE dissolution.  Democrat David Richardson, running for Congress in Florida’s 27th District, has called for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a Spanish-language ad.  The issue has been a controversial one even amongst Dems, with more moderate candidates attempting to stay away from the topic as the calendar turns toward November.  1st District targeted by Dems.  U.S. Marc Sanford’s 1st Congressional District, where he lost a primary earlier this Summer, is no Republican lock according to poll-watchers.  A ‘blue wave’ could flip the district, where Republican Katie Arrington and Democrat Joe Cunningham will square off in November.  Arrington, who was supported by President Donald Trump in her primary upset, was out-raised by Cunningham in the 2nd... read more

Around the South for August 2nd: NC, TX, & FL

North Carolina: Schools suing legislature.  More than 20 school districts are suing the state to get them to turn over some $730 million they were promised back in 2008 to upgrade technology for students.  The impetus will fall on the state legislature to determine how to come up with the money – or get out of owing it.  Texas: Senatorial candidates agree to debate series.  U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and challenger Beto O’Rourke have agreed to a series of 5 debates ahead of the November election.  Some details are still being hammered out, but both candidates seem up to the challenge in what is possibly the most high profile race of the cycle.  Florida: Trump stumps for DeSantis.  President Donald Trump held a rally for Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL), currently in a gubernatorial primary with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.  In a race that has drawn many similarities to the Georgia runoff, where Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle saw his lead collapse following Trump’s endorsement of Secretary of State Brian Kemp, DeSantis has erased a double-digit deficit and now seems primed to take the nomination.  ... read more

Around the South for August 1st: FL, TX, & LA

Florida: DeSantis all in on Trump.  GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, who has been endorsed by the president, is shown in a new ad “building the wall” with his infant daughter, and also “teaching her how to read” by holding a Trump campaign sign and reciting the president’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.  Buoyed by a recent Trump campaign appearance, he is all in on the president.  Texas: O’Rourke refuses to denounce ICE.  Democratic senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke has refused calls from some in his party to dismiss ICE, saying that abolishing the agency would do nothing to resolve the issues of families and children being separated at the United States Mexico border.  Louisiana: Small town can’t find law enforcement.  The tiny Louisiana town of Palmetto is in search of a new police chief. The search has gotten a bit tougher though after no volunteers showed up to run for the job after the previous chief moved away. The town is currently looking into having the St. Landry’s Parrish Sheriff’s Office patrol the tiny town with 170 residents.  ... read more

Around the South for July 30th: OK, TN, & GA

Oklahoma: Fallin least popular gov.  A survey from Morning Consult shows that Governor Mary Fallin is the least popular governor in the country, with a disapproval rating sitting at 74% and approval at just 19%.  That ranking is in large part due to her handling of the teacher’s strike that took place earlier this year.  Tennessee: Outside money pours into gov.’s race.   Presumptive Republican U.S. Senate nominee Marsha Blackburn and her likely opponent in the general election, former gov. Phil Bredesen, are about to get some serious outside cash spent on their behalf’s.  Republican group the Senate Leadership Fund has already purchased $4.4 million worth of airtime for Blackburn, while its Democratic counterpart, the Senate Majority PAC, has booked $3.4 million for Bresden.  Georgia: GOP pledges unity.  Governor Nathan Deal, Sen. David Perdue, and many other Republican leaders were on hand last week at a “Unity Rally” for their party’s November ticket.  The officials rallied behind Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who recently defeated Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to become the GOP’s nominee for... read more

Around the South for July 26th: GA, TN, & OK

Georgia: McBath wins runoff.  Gun control activist Lucy McBath won the Democratic runoff over Keven Abel on Tuesday in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.  Buoyed by heavy spending from gun control groups, she will now face incumbent Republican Karen Handel, who is no stranger to big money races, having won the seat by defeating Jon Ossoff in the most expensive congressional campaign in U.S. history.  Tennessee: GOP gov.’s primary gets heated.  The four Republican candidates for governor in Tennessee have dumped $33 million in combined personal wealth into the race and are now lambasting one another over not supporting President Donald Trump sufficiently.  The state of the race led Republican Gov. Bill Haslam to warned the GOP candidates that they need to focus more on issues facing the state, but it figures to get more expensive, and nastier, ahead of the August 2nd primary.  Oklahoma:  Battle over Ethics Commission.  A legal fight over the state of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission has made its way to the state’s Supreme Court.  Some legislators have called it a ‘rogue agency’ and claimed that it considers itself a fourth branch of government.  On the other side, the commission received just $700,000 in funding this year from the legislature, when they claim they need more than $2 million to effectively operate.... read more

Around the South for July 25th: AL, LA, & MS

Alabama: Minority parties fill ballots.  10 independent party candidates, and 2 libertarian candidates have qualified to be on the Alabama ballot in several state house and senate districts in the November 6 general election.The candidates were able to garner the minimum percentage of signatures on a petition of the registered voters in their districts to get on the ballot.  Louisiana:  a congressional candidate arrested for impersonating officer. Billy Burkette qualified last Friday to run for the seat in the 5th congressional district. However, Burkette was ultimately detained by deputies, and arrested on the outstanding warrant upon completion of his backround check.  Mississippi: Fundraising ramps up. $3 million has already been spent in the special election to determine who will fill the remainder of retired Senator Thad Cochran’s term. Over half of the 180,000 contributions to the candidate’s committees have been from out of state, and the incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith has raised $650,000 from out of state PAC’s since April... read more

Around the South for July 24th: GA, TX, & FL

Georgia: GOP leaders call for Rep. to resign.  Republican leaders in the Peach State are calling for the resignation of state Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) following an interview on Showtime’s satirical show “Who Is America?” where he was duped into shouting racist obscenities and mooning the camera.  Spencer, who lost his re-election bid in May and will be out of office at the end of the year, has refused the calls to step down.  Texas: Dems running more candidates.  For the first time in more than 20 years, Texas Democrats are running a candidate in every Congressional district in the state.  Many will of course lose, (badly) but for a party that hasn’t won a statewide race since 1994, getting on the ballot across the state is a step in the right direction.  Florida: GOP primary gets testy.  The battle between U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam for the Republican nomination for governor is getting heated, with the candidates hammering one another over donors in an attempt to depict their adversaries as ‘swamp creatures.’  DeSantis leads in most polls... read more

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