Will Ivey debate? Don’t count on it



By Jeff Martin

The General Election is a little more than 3-months away, providing a much-needed reprieve from the misleading political blurbs that have blanketed our televisions, radios and computer screens for the past several months.  But the campaigning for candidates who won their primary will continue, although typically things don’t really ramp up until Labor Day weekend.

    Expect to see and hear a lot from Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Walt Maddox and a lot less from his opponent, Gov. Kay Ivey, whose strategy appears to be the duck and cover approach when not at events controlled by her campaign staff.

     Maddox addressed the Alabama Press Association at their annual summer convention in Gulf Shores this past weekend.    Ivey, who has attended the event many times in years past, declined her invite leaving those who cover Alabama politics scratching their heads. Not really, every political writer in the state is aware that Ivey has no intention of debating or sharing a stage with her Democratic opponent. And the last thing she wants is to be confronted by a bunch of newspaper publishers.

     Maddox, took the opportunity at the convention to announce his comprehensive ethics plan, along with challenging Gov. Ivey to four debates: one based on issues of education and economic development; one on health care, mental health, and infrastructure; and two styled as a town hall, one in a major Alabama city and another in a rural Alabama county.

     I anticipate Ivey will continue to hem-and-haw with excuses to avoid facing off with Maddox, as she did with her GOP opponents in the primary election.


The verdict is in

     Last Friday in the federal corruption case in Birmingham the jury found Balch & Bingham partner Joel Gilbert and Drummond Company Vice President David Roberson guilty of bribing former legislator Oliver Robinson (D-Birmingham).

    U.S. District Judge Abdul Kollan, earlier last week, dismissed the charges against a second Balch & Bingham attorney.

    Roberson and Gilbert face a maximum sentence of 10 years for each of the six counts they were found guilty. Robinson, who pled guilty last year of accepting bribes, will be sentenced at the end of September. 

     “This was a case about greed at the expense of too many,” said U.S. Attorney Jay Towns stated in a prepared release after the verdict.

    Despite me and others ranting about this trial for the past month and considering everything that was revealed during the trial through witnesses, even the most casual observer might think this is just the tip of the iceberg in prosecuting others for political corruption. Maybe even hold our state agencies and elected officials more responsible to the needs of their constituency as opposed to those who fill the campaign coffers with cash. But, it won’t. Winks and nods, backroom deals and the good old boy network will continue as always.


There ought to be a law

     They are nailed to trees along interstates and back roads. Stuck in medians, at various intersections in towns and cities across the state. Plastered up and down exit on-ramps. Some even hang from overpasses. I’m speaking of the dreaded campaign signs that litter our roadways long after the elections have concluded.

    I give Kudos to former Lt. Gov. candidate Rusty Glover who spent the 3-weeks after the primary elections traveling the state removing his political signs. 

     Hopefully other candidates will follow Glover’s lead, but I’m not holding my breath. I imagine we will continue to see signs from various candidates littering the right-of-ways for years to come. It wouldn’t surprise me to have a grandchild ask 20 years in the future who Twinkle is, as we make our way down I-65 headed to the beach.


The end of an era

     With almost 70 years of legislative service between them, Montgomery legislators Alvin Holmes and John Knight will not be returning to the statehouse when the legislature reconvenes in January.  Holmes, the longest serving member of the legislature, has been pretty much missing in action for the past year due to health issues, was defeated by political newcomer Kirk Hatcher.

     Knight gave up his House seat to run for the Senate seat vacated by Quinton Ross, but was defeated by Sen. David Burkette in the Democratic Primary election. Burkette already defeated Knight once for the seat in an earlier special election.

     Tashina Morris, another political newcomer, will take over Knight’s House seat, after defeating insurance agent Malcolm Calhoun.

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