Around the South for Nov. 22: AL, GA & VA

  Alabama: Trump backs Moore. President Donald Trump broke his silence on the embattled US Senate candidacy of Roy Moore (R). In the latest polls, Moore, accused of improper sexual behavior with underage girls, trails former prosecutor Doug Jones (D) in the Dec. 12 election. Trump said, “We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat,” reported Reuters. “Roy Moore denies [the charges]… he totally denies it.” ……. Georgia: Atlanta has black/white runoff for mayor. In a Dec. 5 runoff, Atlantavoters will choose between Keisha Lance Bottoms, who is black and has the support of outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed, and Mary Norwood, who is white. The last time Atlantaelected a white mayor was in 1969, but gentrification has evened out the city’s racial balance somewhat. In the first primary, Bottoms received 26%, Norwood 17%. A close race is likely ……. Virginia: Control of House of Delegates on hold. Too-close-to-call in view of alleged mistakes in registration in two House of Delegates districts led the Virginia Board of Elections to certify 98 elections, but left two undecided. “Let’s just take a timeout,” said board chairman James Alcorn, reported the Washington Post. “Our goal is to make sure voters trust the election results.” The GOP is ahead in one district by 82 votes and in another by a whisper-thin 10 votes... read more

Around the South for Nov. 21: TN, TX & FL

  Tennessee: Cohen leads impeachment effort. US Rep. Steve Cohen and five other Democrats have filed articles of impeachment in the US House. “It’s time for Congress to take action to stop this reckless and harmful behavior by removing Mr. Trump from office,” Cohen said, reported the Tennessean. US Reps. Al Green (TX) and John Yarmuth (KY) also signed on to the impeachment effort ……. Texas: Cruz draws two GOP foes. Two Republicans have filed to challenge US Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in the state’s Republican Primary in March. Stefano de Stefano is a Houston energy attorney. Bannon and friends “are the barbarians at the gates,” he told the American-Statesman and acknowledged that he did not vote for Donald Trump last year (nor for Hillary Clinton). The other challenger is Bruce Jacobsen Jr., a Christian television executive, who said that Trump’s election “was [a] real move of God.” Cruz is the only incumbent Republican Senator up for reelection next year that Steve Bannon has not targeted …….Florida: The heat goes on. State Democratic chair Steve Bittel has resigned amidst charges that he made “inappropriate” and “creepy” comments to six women staffers and consultants. Bittel was known to keep a “breast-shaped squeeze ball” on his desk, reported Sunshine State News... read more

Around the South for Nov. 20: AR, OK & TN

  Arkansas: Clintons in Little Rock for reunion. Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton attended a gathering Saturday commemorating the 25th anniversary of his election in 1992. Key Clinton operative James Carville moderated the discussion before former staff members and supporters in Little Rock’s State Convention Center last Saturday. Carville recalled that Bill Clinton’s poll numbers in New Hampshire were dropping “faster than a thermometer,” reported Arkansas Online, so a group of Arkansans took out an ad in a Granite State newspaper, listing their names and telephone numbers and asking folks to call them to ask why Bill Clinton would be a good president. Bill Clinton thanked them again Saturday ……. Oklahoma: Fallin vetoes budget bill. After the Sooner State legislature finally ended its special session by passing a budget bill, Gov. Mary Fallin (R) vetoed 165 of its 170 sections, contending the measure “does not provide a long-term solution” she said in a statement published in the McCarville Report, “to continuing budget deficits and within three months we will come back facing an estimated $600 million shortfall.” The five sections she did not veto contained funding for key state agencies ……. Tennessee: Bredesen for Senate? With Democratic prospects rising across the South, former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) is pondering a US Senate race. He would face two less influential Democrats in a primary, then oppose the winner of a GOP primary between US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) and former US Rep. Stephen Fincher (R), reports The Tennessee Journal... read more

Around the South for Nov. 17: KY, AL & NC

  Kentucky: McConnell calls for Franken Ethics review. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) has called for the Ethics Committee to review the allegations by a Los Angeles radio host that US Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) kissed and groped her against her will. Franken says he remembers it differently, but apologizes ……. Alabama: Washington Post blasts Moore big time. The Washington Post, which first broke the story of teenage girls reporting unwanted sexual advances by GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore some 38 year ago. The Post hasn’t stopped writing about it: Yesterday, November 16, the paper devoted nearly two-and-a-half pages to the Moore story, including a front-page article. Let’s see what they do with the Al Franken story ……. North Carolina: 31% impacted by opioid addiction. The Elon University Poll reports that nearly one in three North Carolinians say they the opioid crisis has touched them or their friends and family members. “Our data clearly show that North Carolina voters see opioid abuse as a significant issue worthy of attention,” said Elon Poll director Jason Husser in a statement... read more

Around the South for Nov. 16: VA, KY & OK

  Virginia: Comstock recounts harassment incident. At a hearing Tuesday on sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, US Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) told about a young woman “I trust” recounting to her about going to work for one House member who asked her to bring papers to his home, answered the door dressed only in a towel, which he then removed, exposing himself to her. She left his home and subsequently quit her job. Comstock got major local TV coverage on her comments, which shows that, despite Democrat Ralph Northam carrying her district by 13 points, she can’t be counted out in 2018 ……. Kentucky: Paul returns to work. US Sen. Rand Paul (R), still recovering from six broken ribs after a neighbor tackled him in Paul’s front yard, nevertheless returned to Washington on Monday, ready to vote on tax reform and other legislation. He acknowledged that he is “still in a good deal of pain.” ……. Oklahoma: Republicans hold two, Democrats flip one. In three special state legislative elections in Oklahoma this week, Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman narrowly defeated Republican Brian O’Hara for a state Senate seat previously held by the GOP. Ikley-Freeman had 50.35% of the vote to O’Hara’s 49.65, with only 31 votes separating the two. If the results are certified, this will be the fourth state legislative seat the Democrats have flipped this year. In two other districts, one for the state Senate and the other for the state House of Representatives, Republican candidates kept the seats in GOP hands by impressive margins – 57% in the state Senate race; 68% in the House contest... read more

Around the South for Nov. 15: NC, VA & TX

Virginia: Voters divided on Trump. President Trump’s approval rating is 37%, low but better than the 34% a month ago, says the Elon Poll. A little over half believe the investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia is a “serious matter,” while 40% believe it’s “just politics.” And 52% believe the news media is biased against Trump, while 44% said they see no bias ……. Virginia: Team Kaine cites foe’s support for Moore. The campaign organization to reelect US Sen. Tim Kaine (D) emailed a fundraiser tying his 2018 opponent to Roy Moore (R), who has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32. “Tim’s only opponent so far, Corey Stewart, is defending Moore… [he] believes that Roy Moore’s disgusting and predatory behavior should not be condemned.” The proceeds from the fundraising email are to be divided equally between Kaine and Alabama Democrat Doug Jones, who is opposing Moore ……. Texas: Green stepping down. Democratic US Rep. Gene Green announced Monday that he will not seek re-election. Green has been in Congress for 25 years and currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He previously served 20 years in the Texas legislature. His 29th District (Houston) is predominantly Hispanic and is all but certain to stay Democratic, reports The Texas Tribune... read more

Around the South for Nov. 14: KY, AL & FL

  Kentucky: McConnell says Moore should step aside. “I believe the women,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said Monday, adding that Roy Moore, the GOP’s Senate candidate in Alabama, should step aside. He added that Republicans are now considering a write-in campaign. Moore responded, in a tweet, “The person who should step aside is Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced.” …….  Alabama: Polls show divided electorate. An average of four surveys taken quickly following last Thursday’s story alleging Roy Moore engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with a 14-year old girl showed that 45.5% still favor Moore, while 45% favored Democrat Doug Jones ……. Florida: Latvala takes polygraph test; hires lawyer. State Sen. Jack Latvala (R), a 2018 candidate for governor, has reported that he passed a lie detector. More importantly, contends Nancy Smith in Sunshine State News, he has hired Steve Andrews, “a street-fighter of a Tallahassee lawyer with a reputation for tearing the opposition apart.” Smith adds that the strategy tells women victims, “come forward and we’ll rip you to shreds.”... read more

Around the South for Nov. 13: GA, VA & SC

  Georgia: Democrats ran well. Virginia was not the only state where a Democratic trend took place last week. In Georgia, Democratic victories in three special state legislative districts cost the Republicans their super-majority in the House. Two of those districts were considered safe for the GOP ……. Virginia: Voters favored Confederate monuments. Despite many commentators saying that last week’s election showed thatVirginia had moved away from such Southern positions as defending Confederate monuments, exit polls showed that 57% of the state’s voters favored leaving the monuments where they are ……. South Carolina: Bannon comes to town. Former White House advisor Steve Bannon addressed The Citadel Republican Society dinner inCharleston on Friday, causing much stir in the state’s upcoming gubernatorial contest. Although Bannon was praised by three of the four announced candidates, including Gov. Henry McMaster (R), Catherine Templeton, who served as Secretary of Labor under Gov. Nikki Haley (R), got the most attention by introducing Bannon. Templeton then sent out a fundraising email citing her “support for President Trump and Steve Bannon.” Stay tuned... read more

Around the South for Nov. 10: AL, VA & AR

  Alabama: Explosive report up-ends Senate race. A Washington Post story alleges Roy Moore, the Republican nominee in a special Senate election next month, engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with Leigh Corfman in 1979, when she was 14 years old and Moore was 32. The contact allegedly included fondling, but not intercourse. Corfman told the Post that she did not bring it up earlier because she did not want to embarrass her children. She added, “There is no one here [in Gadsden] that doesn’t know that I’m not an angel.” The Post story, which Moore has vehemently denied, quotes three other women who say Moore pursued them when they were between 16 and 18 and he was in his 30s; however, no sexual contact was involved. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) says if the story is true, Moore should step aside…….Virginia: Goodlatte retiring. US Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R), the term-limited chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced Thursday that he will not seek reelection. Goodlatte, 65, represents Virginia’s 6th District (Lynchburg, etc.), which should remain in Republican hands; Trump carried it by almost 25 points, reports The Hill …….Arkansas: Hutchinson pitches trade to Chinese companies. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), who has made trade missions a major feature of his administration, was in China last week in talks about exporting Arkansas rice to the country. He told KARK, “They could be slow walking this with President Trump’s visit, so I’m hopeful [Trump’s visit] will accelerate it.”... read more

Around the South for Nov. 9: VA, TX & GA

  Virginia: Transgender elected. Danica Roem, who changed her gender from male to female, became the first openly transgendered person in the nation elected to a state legislature. Roem, a Democrat, defeated Del. Robert Marshall (R), 73, who has described himself as the state’s “chief homophobe,” had served 26 years in the House of Delegates. Roem was one of at least 15 Democrats who won seats previously held by Republicans, and are one seat a way from a 50-50 tie, pending final results ……. Texas: Poe stepping down. US Rep. Ted Poe (R) last week became the fourth Texas Republican congressman to announce he will not seek reelection next year. Poe, 69, has served in congress since 2005. He represents the 2nd District (Humble, etc.) …….Georgia: Johnson says GOP stole special election. US Rep. Hank Johnson (D) said last week that he believes Republicans may have stolen the special congressional election in which Karen Handel (R) defeated Jon Ossoff (D), reported Roll Call. Johnson cited a questionable server at Kennesaw State University’s Center for Elections Systems. The FBI cleared the server, which has since erased the relevant data... read more

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