Around the South for Jul. 26: VA, AL & TX

  Virginia: Governor’s race a dead heat. A survey of likely voters in Virginia found that Ed Gillespie (R) and Ralph Northam (D) are each favored by 44%, with 3% for Libertarian Cliff Hyra and 9% undecided. Gillespie ran stronger than many observers expected, especially since in the same poll, President Trump’s approval rating was 37%, with 57% disapproving. The survey was conducted by Monmouth University and reported in the Washington Post ……. Alabama: Brooks ad causes controversy. A television spot for US Senate candidate Mo Brooks has received criticism in both Alabama and Washington. The ad opens with the sound of five gunshots and describes how Brooks, at the shooting last month that severely injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), used his belt as a tourniquet on the injured. He also reaffirms his support for Second Amendment gun rights. Brett Horton, Scalise’s chief of staff, tweeted that the ad “makes my stomach turn,” reports The Hill ……. Texas: Abbott strong-arming lawmakers. The Houston-based Quorum Report says that Gov. Greg Abbott (R) told some 50 state House members of the Texas Conservative Coalition that they must put their names on Abbott’s top priority bills by this Friday. The report comes as a surprise, inasmuch as Abbott has been seen as a hands-off, largely ineffective governor up till now... read more

Around the South for Jul. 25: AL, FL & NC

    Alabama: Ivey has high approval rating. Only some three-and-a-half months after succeeding to the governorship following the resignation of former Gov. Robert Bentley (R), Gov. Kay Ivey (R) gets an approval rating of 64% positive, 13% negative. This makes her the sixth most popular governor in the nation, says Morning Consult, reports ……. Florida: Rubio ready to repeal without replacement. US Sen. Marco Rubio (R) says he is ready to vote to repeal Obamacare without having a healthcare program enacted to replace it. “I believe Obamacare is broken, I think it’s bad for our country,” Rubio said, reported the USA Today Network ……. North Carolina: Cooper opposes offshore drilling. Gov. Roy Cooper (D), in a reversal of former Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) position, has come out in opposition to the Trump Administration’s promotion of opening the Atlantic Ocean to petroleum exploration and development. Citing environmental hazards, Cooper said “I can sum it up in four words: Not off our coast. It is simply not worth the risk,” reported the News & Observer …….... read more

Around the South for Jul. 25: AL, VA & TN

  Alabama: GOP senators side with Sessions. Interviews with nine Republican senators who are former colleagues of Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) showed strong support for the AG in his dispute with President Trump over Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russian investigation, writes David Hawkings in Roll Call. “He’s a totally honorable man…” said Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK). “I respected the recusal decision when he made it and I still respect it now.” ……. Tennessee: ’18 gubernatorial candidates raise major dough. Financial disclosures last week, reported in The Tennessee Journal, showed that on the GOP side Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd reported raising $4.34 million by June 30; farmer Bill Lee reported $2.75 million; and State Sen. Mae Beavers reported $57,000. House Speaker Beth Harwell (R) entered the race last week and won’t have to file a financial report until January. Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, the lone Democrat in the race so far, reported bringing in $1.2 million ……. Virginia: Candidates for governor hold first debate. Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie took starkly different positions on issues in their first debate on Saturday, reported the Washington Post. Their biggest divergence: President Trump. Northup said he stood by his comment that Trump was a “narcissistic maniac.” Gillespie, noting the governor has to deal with the president, said, “What are you going to do – call the White House, ‘Please put me through to the narcissistic maniac?” …….... read more

Around the South for Jul. 21: TX, OK & GA

  Texas: Cruz threatened. “Pretty soon you’re gonna be runnin for your life, just hope your family is not with ya because I’m not gonna insult them, I’m gonna kill them, right after I shoot you in front of them…,” said the message left on US Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R) Capitol office voice mail by James Amos Headley. Headley, 59, has been identified as a Trump supporter by the San Antonio Express-News, and apparently was angry with Cruz for differing with President Trump on some issues. Headley has been arrested by the FBI ……. Oklahoma: Cole calls for health care that works. Appearing on Morning Joe, US Rep. Tom Cole (R) called for the Senate to come up with a health care plan that works. Later, in an interview with Buzz Feed, Cole said that the Senate is “risking our majority, in my view, honestly, more than theirs,” says The McCarville Report …….Georgia: Deal announces new plant. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) announced yesterday that Coyote Logistics, a subsidiary of United Parcel Service, will open a plant in Atlanta that will employ some 325 people, reported the Atlanta Business Chronicle. “We plan to draw upon top local talent who have the skills and initiative for our fast pace,” Coyote president Jonathan Sisler said in a statement... read more

Around the South for Jul.19: FL, SC & TX

  Florida: Politicos react to healthcare collapse. “The Senate has failed the American people and abandoned voters who were promised that they would repeal and replace the disastrous Obamacare… I’m very upset with the Senate,” said US Rep. Dennis Ross (R), senior deputy majority whip, reports Sunshine State News. On the Democratic side, US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, “The resistance and compassion won out… the American people do not want less healthcare coverage at a higher cost.” And US Rep. Alcee Hastings said, “The reason that Trumpcare keeps falling apart is because it is cruel.” ……. South Carolina: Voters want to un-register. The state’s Election Commission has cancelled the registration of 13 voters so far in June, twice more than normal, after receiving hundreds of calls from citizens concerned about their personal information falling into the hands of the Trump commission on voter fraud, reports The State. That, however, pales in comparison with Colorado, where some 3,400 residents have cancelled their voter registrations ……. Texas: Culberson foes raising money. At least six Democrats have announced to challenge US Rep. John Culberson (R), who has represented his West Houston district for 17 years, and they have raised a combined total of $1.2 million. Meanwhile, Culberson, who has one primary opponent, raised some $335,672 during the same period, between April and June, reports the Houston Chronicle... read more

Around the South for Jul.19: VA, SC & TN

  Virginia: Gillespie has more money. In the financial reports filed June 30, Republican Ed Gillespie had $3.2 million cash-on-hand, in part because his over-confident campaign spent less money trying to defeat his primary foe, Corey Stewart, who ended up only 1.2 points behind him. Ralph Northam, who was in a hotly contested primary with Tom Perriello, spent most of the money he had raised, and had $1.75 million on hand at the end of June, reports the Washington Post ……. South Carolina: Lame-duck lite gov can raise money. The State Ethics Commission has ruled that Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant (R) can continue to raise campaign funds, even though the job he now holds will not be elected separately in 2018. That’s because voters approved a change in the law allowing gubernatorial candidates to choose a running mate for the number two spot. As of June 30, Bryant – who may run for governor – had $101,000 on hand ……. Tennessee: Corker praises Trump actions on Iran. US Sen. Bob Corker (R), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement on President Trump’s OK on Iran’s technical compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, concurrent with the imposition of new sanctions. These actions “demonstrate that President Trump is fully committed to confront the threat from Iran in a strategic and effective way,” said Corker... read more

Around the South for Jul. 18: TX, FL & VA

  Texas: Preparations underway for border wall. The US Customs and Border Protection have “been quietly preparing to build the first piece of President Trump’s border wall” through the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, reports the Texas Observer. The federal agency plans to build an 18-foot concrete base stretching for three miles, topped with a fence of steel bollards ……. Florida: NRSC hits Nelson on Obamacare. In a digital ad that is expected to remain posted for the rest of July, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is slamming US Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and other Democrats for being dishonest with voters by claiming that Obamacare would lower their premiums, reports Sunshine State News. Nelson is a top GOP target in 2018 ……. Virginia: Stewart will be vicious. Declaring that the “kinder, gentler Republican” is extinct, Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart (R) promised “to run the most vicious, ruthless campaign” against US Sen. Tim Kaine (D) next year, reported the Washington Post. Stewart, who came within 1.2 points of winning the GOP gubernatorial primary in June, made the preservation of Confederate monuments a major issue in his campaign …….... read more

Around the South for Jul. 17: VA, TN & FL

  Virginia: Walker honored in Richmond. A 10-foot tall bronze statue of Maggie Lena Walker, the first black woman to found a bank, was erected Saturday in downtownRichmond, once the capital of the Confederacy. The statue was unveiled at the corner of Adams and Broad Streets by Walker’s great-great granddaughter, Liza Mickens, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch ……. Tennessee: Trump nominates four judges. In a move that will help move the judicial process forward in the Volunteer State, President Trump nominated four prominent attorneys to fill four vacancies on US District Courts in Tennessee, reports the Tennessee Journal. The four are state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, who had been considering a gubernatorial bid; former assistant US attorney Thomas Lee Robinson “Tommy” Parker; William L. “Chip” Campbell, Jr., a former Marine Corps officer now practicing law in Nashville; and Eli J. Richardson, a former FBI agent also practicing in Nashville ……. Florida: It really is Southern. In an article citing five myths about the Sunshine State, Washington Postwriter Adam Weinstein rebutted the popular notion that Florida is not the South: “[I]f you’ve ever traveled down the Panhandle’s Redneck Riviera to eat oysters in Apalachicola or made a pilgrimage to watch college football in Doak and the Swamp, you know there’s a lot of twang to go with the Tang. There really is a place called the... read more

Around the South for Jul. 14: GA, SC & VA

  Georgia: Coca-Cola helped finance Fitzgerald’s anti-fat program. Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, the new head of the Centers for Disease Control, promoted an anti-obesity drive partly financed by Coke that emphasized exercise and made little mention of avoiding sugary soft drinks when she was former chief health official in Georgia. “We hope Dr. Fitzgerald, as head of CDC, avoids partnering with Coke on obesity,” Jim O’Hara, director of the left-leaning Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the Washington Post ……. South Carolina: Duncan, Conway discuss Venezuela’s Citgo stock. US Rep. Jeff Duncan (R) and retired Marine general who is co-chair of Securing America’s Future Energy published a column in The Hill last week to draw attention to Venezuela’s use of nearly half of its stock in Citgo as collateral for a loan from Russia. Should Venezuela default, then Citgo’s substantial US facilities could fall into Russia’s hands. “This move has attracted very little mainstream media attention,” the two wrote ……. Virginia: Top GOPers urge Gillespie to hire Trump strategists. Concerned that Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie’s narrow primary victory spells trouble for him in November, GOP insiders from the White House and the Republican National Committee are urging him to hire some of President Trump’s consultants for the campaign. Gillespie, “whose resume reads establishment Republican,” may not be comfortable with such a move, says the Washington Post... read more

Around the South for Jul. 13: OK, FL & SC

  Oklahoma: Democrats win special elections. Democratic candidates won special elections Tuesday in two legislative districts previously held by Republicans. In House District 75, Karen Gaddis (D) defeated Tressa Nunley (R) 52% to 48%. And In Senate District 44, Michael Brooks (D) defeated Joe Griffin (R) by 55% to 45%. According to The McCarville Report, in the House district, the GOP incumbent resigned following disclosure of a sexual harassment issue, and in Senate District 44, the previous incumbent (R) resigned due to an arrested for involvement with an underage male prostitute. Let’s hear it for family values! ……. Florida: GOP has bad 2nd Quarter. The Republican Party of Florida raised only $338,000 in the 2nd Quarter, compared with $2.1 million in the 1st Quarter, reports Sunshine State News, its worst 2nd quarter since 1996. Meanwhile, Florida Democrats raised $1.67 million during the 2nd Quarter …….South Carolina: Long may it wave? Partisans of the Confederate battle flag gathered some 100 strong on the State House grounds waving dozens of Confederate flags. The demonstration was organized by the South Carolina Secessionist Party. Meanwhile, in neighboring North Carolina, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and another group have erected an 85-foot flag pole, with a 20-by-30-foot Confederate flag on top. “They take down our monuments; we try to put up 100 flags,” said SCV member Robert Smith, reports the Hickory Record... read more

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