The polls are now open in Alabama, where a Trumpist revolution may be rising up against the personal pick of President Donald Trump.
Luther Strange, the Republican incumbent, faces former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore in a special primary runoff to determine who will finish out Jeff Session’s term in the U.S. Senate.
Trump has sided with Senate Republicans who are attempting to preserve one of their own, while former Trump advisor Steve Bannon has sided with Moore.
Trump may be losing control of his own brand. From the Associated Press:
Trailing in the polls, Strange has looked to the White House to help make up ground against Moore, who is best known for defiant stands against gay marriage and for the public display of the Ten Commandments. Vice President Mike Pence campaigned for Strange in Birmingham, Alabama, while Bannon, speaking at a Moore rally, argued Moore is a better fit for Trump’s “populist” movement.
“All of Washington is watching to see what Alabama does,” Moore said at a south Alabama rally attended by Bannon, Brexit leader Nigel Farage, and “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson
The video of Bannon is worth watching in its entirety:
Trump appeared with Strange in Huntsville on Friday, and worked the phones on Monday. Again, from AP:
“Luther Strange is going to be a great senator. He already has, and he has already helped me,” Trump said on the “Rick & Bubba” radio show. Trump predicted that Moore, whom he mistakenly called “Ray,” would have a “hard time” in the December election against Doug Jones. A Democrat, Jones is a lawyer and former U.S. attorney during the Clinton administration.
And there’s always Twitter, of course. From the White House this morning:
Luther Strange has been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement. Finish the job – vote today for “Big Luther.”
A Moore victory could send shudders through Washington, where GOP leaders worry that the most conservative elements of their party could be encouraged to mount primary challenges to congressional Republicans across the board.
A Moore win would also encourage several Republican candidates for governor in Georgia – specifically, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, former state senator Hunter Hill and state Sen. Michael Williams, all of whom are directing their attention toward conservative evangelicals.
There is a key difference between Alabama and Georgia, however. Moore’s campaign is fueled by evangelical conservatives in a state where they make up 49 percent of the adult population, according to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape study.
In Georgia, that figure is 38 percent. (Tennessee has the highest percentage, with 52 percent.
Former Georgia congressman John Barrow’s decision to run for secretary of state has not discouraged a lesser-known Democrat from staying in the hunt. Former Rockdale County tax commissioner R.J. Hadley said he was under pressure to drop out, but he decided against it. “I’m an outsider, long-shot guy anyway,” he said. “Just adds to the legend.”
John Barrow’s candidacy could set him up for a competition against an old foe. The same political consultancy team behind Republican Rick Allen’s 2014 U.S. House victory — Scott Rials and Jay Walker — is also the team hired by Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle. Belle Isle is among four contenders competing for the GOP nod.
A first glimpse of the hunt for a second Amazon.com headquarters making its way into a state legislative race comes from Charlie Fiveash, one of several Republicans in the race to fill the seat being vacated by state Sen. Hunter Hill of Atlanta. From the press release:
“In order to attract this project and future prospects, we have to build on our reputation as the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business by attacking our weak points head on. We do that by prioritizing transportation solutions that get goods and people moving more quickly through the region and improving the public education system that trains our future workforce.
A political newcomer who bills himself as a “pro-Trump business turnaround CEO” is running for a ruby-red state Senate seat centered on Forsyth County being vacated by Michael Williams next year. Bill Fielder said he’ll support religious liberty, more relaxed gun rules and “other areas that need someone unafraid to do what is needed.” (GB)
Sally Yates, the former acting U.S. attorney fired by President Donald Trump, stuck to a tight script on Monday when she made an Ohio appearance at a fundraiser for a Democratic candidate attorney general. From Cleveland.com:
She declined to answer most questions about the blowup with the Trump administration earlier this year. As for the recently revised travel ban, she said she hadn’t read it.
“I haven’t closely examined the travel ban and I wouldn’t make a decision or even opine on something like that without looking at it carefully,” she said.
The Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods has a Wednesday forum for nine candidates in Atlanta City Council races: Council president; At-Large Post 1; At-Large Post 2; and District 8. Loretta Lepore, a Republican governmental affairs specialist, will moderate the 7 p.m. event in the North Atlanta High School auditorium.
President Donald Trump’s new pick to lead logistics and materiel readiness at the Pentagon is a Macon businessman and retired Air Force major general. The White House announced on Monday its plans to nominate Bob McMahon to be an assistant secretary of defense. The former Boeing executive is currently president of the Macon real estate company Fickling Management Services.
Georgia’s members of the U.S. House voted along party lines last night to reject legislation providing tax relief to the victims of hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria and reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. The vote was 245-171, technically a majority but not the two-thirds margin GOP leaders needed to quickly advance the measure. Democrats criticized the bill for not going far enough to help victims. As our Cox colleague Jamie Dupree reports, Republican leaders have multiple options for passing the bill later this week.
Tom Price, secretary of health and human services, has been in the news quite a bit this week for his charter flights on the public dime, but on Thursday the former Georgia lawmaker will be tackling another airborne problem. Price is headlining a press conference with public health officials highlighting the need for people to get the flu vaccine. We’re told he’ll be getting the 2017-2018 shot in front of the cameras.