The Associated Press has coined a good, quick description for the GOP end of the U.S. Senate race in Alabama: Donald Trump vs. Trumpland.
The president will be in Huntsville this evening, the headliner for a rally to boost incumbent Luther Strange, who wants to make permanent his grip on the seat given up by Jeff Sessions, now U.S. attorney general. Strange has also received a boatload of financial support from Senate Republican leaders, including Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Strange’s opponent in the Tuesday runoff is Roy Moore, a former Alabama chief justice who has twice been thrown off the bench. Moore is running ahead in most polls. And last night, after a raucous debate between the two candidates, a pair of Trump allies, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka, were the featured speakers at a rally for Moore. From the AP:
Palin stressed her support for the president, while arguing that Moore was a better match for Trump’s “movement.”
“A vote for Judge Moore isn’t a vote against the president. It is a vote for the people’s agenda that elected the president,” Palin told several hundred cheering supporters.
She also said Strange’s appointment by then-Gov. Robert Bentley amounted to “quid pro quo,” referring to the then-attorney general office’s investigation of Bentley involving the potential use of state resources to cover up an affair.
“Getting the job of the temporary Senate seat, being handed the job by the politician who’s now gone because corruption, whatever,” Palin said, trailing off. “I don’t know what you guys call it, but up in Alaska we call it quid pro quo, which I think is an old Eskimo term for that which fertilizes the swamp.”
The debate, advertised as a “Lincoln-Douglas style” confrontation without a moderator, generated this marvelous though slightly slanted lead from the conservative Washington Examiner:
Incumbent Sen. Luther Strange talked so much about his “personal relationship” with Donald Trump that the audience could be forgiven if they accidentally accepted the president of the United States as their lord and savior during the debate Thursday night…
“The president supports me,” Strange said in a testimony that would play on repeat. “Why would he do that?” he continued. “Because we’ve developed a close personal friendship.”
Moore shot back that he couldn’t tell what the president thinks or describe every move he makes or say “when he goes to the bathroom and when he doesn’t, like my opponent.”
State Sen. Michael Williams of Cumming, a Republican candidate for governor, has issued a very specific quid pro quo to the Cherokee County school board:
I will cancel Wednesday’s protest of the teacher who kicked out students for wearing Make American Great Again shirts – IF the school board calls a special meeting prior and fire her.
They refused to terminate her at the previous meeting, forcing us to call attention now. If the school is so concerned by our protest, do the right thing and we’ll stay home.
You don’t often see political candidates singling out public employees like that. Over at the Resurgent, Erick Erickson is taking Williams to task over the threat, calling it “profoundly morally wrong”:
What the teacher did was wrong. But she was disciplined and an appropriate apology was issued. Williams has no business trying to run for governor at the head of a lynch mob going after anyone he thinks can advance his career. And that is exactly what is happening. He is using someone else’s screw-up to advance his agenda through that other person’s personal destruction.
The school system already defended the First Amendment. They disciplined the teacher. They told the kids they could wear those shirts. This isn’t about the First Amendment, but about extortionist behavior by someone running for office trying to get attention.
The entire post is worth reading.
Our AJC colleague Scott Trubey says that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the former Democratic presidential candidate, will be in Atlanta to campaign for mayoral candidate Vincent Fort on Sept. 30. That’s a Saturday, but it’s also the deadline for a new Senate Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act with only GOP votes. Which could make the event doubly worth watching.
“…James Randolph Evans of Georgia to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.”
Randy Evans is an Atlanta attorney and longtime Newt Gingrich confidante. And until recently, a member of the Republican National Committee.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, was a little more blunt than usual on Thursday while discussing the need for more involvement in civil rights issues during a town hall event in Washington, D.C. “I believe in the philosophy and the discipline of nonviolence, but sometimes I feel like taking a bullwhip and saying to people, ‘You get your butt up. You go out there and do what you must do,'” Lewis said, according to the right-leaning Washington Examiner.
U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta, may have some primary opposition next year. This is the Twitter handle of Michael Owens, chairman of the Cobb County Democratic party: @OwensForGA13
We told you yesterday about Health Secretary Tom Price’s spate of recent travel by private jet. Now a group of congressional Democrats is calling for an investigation into the former Georgia’ congressman’s travel history. “I would remind Secretary Price that taxpayer funds are not meant to be used as a jet-setting slush fund,” New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone said in a statement. Given GOP control of the U.S. House, such an investigation is highly unlikely.
Emory University is among 31 colleges and universities that have now signed onto an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Oct. 10.
The Georgia GOP has long tried to get bigger fish to speak at its annual fundraisers to raise cash for the cash-strapped organization. It got one this time around: Former presidential candidate Ben Carson, who is Donald Trump’s housing secretary, will headline the Oct. 30 event at the Georgia International Convention Center. Tickets start at $150 a pop, a co-chair spot will run you $25,000.
Three staffers were injured after Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s motorcade was involved in an accident in Texas on a trip to survey damage from Hurricane Harvey. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said two of the aides worked for House Agriculture Chair Mike Conaway and one was from Perdue’s office. Perdue and Conaway were in a separate car and unharmed by the wreck, which took place in a Houston suburb after the caravan left a listening session with agriculture industry officials.
On a related topic, Politico.com notes that while the appointment of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to head the agency was well received, his department may have become a dumping ground for former Trump campaigners:
President Donald Trump’s appointees to jobs at Agriculture Department headquarters include a long-haul truck driver, a country club cabana attendant and the owner of a scented-candle company.
The suburban embrace of commuter rail continues. Developer Mark Toro has tweeted that, during a visit to Toronto, Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash declared that “Gwinnett is ready for transit.” Proof:
More on this last topic is coming Sunday.