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...

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...

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...

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...

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...