Open Thread: Suite “Home” Alabama

That “unsure” 11% seems important. CNN:

Democrat Doug Jones — once thought to be a longshot in the Deep South — has tied Republican nominee and former judge Roy Moore in Alabama’s US Senate race, a new poll shows…

Moore and Jones will face off in a special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat December 12.

The poll confirms Republicans’ fears that Moore — who campaigns on a theocratic, anti-LGBT message and has twice been ousted as state Supreme Court chief justice, once for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument and once for refusing to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage — would be a uniquely vulnerable candidate in a state President Donald Trump won last year by 28 percentage points…

Jones, a former prosecutor who convicted two former Klansmen in the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, has sought to portray Moore as someone who would embarrass Alabama on the national stage…

Moore has a history of under performing compared to national Republican leaders in Alabama. In the 2012 race for state Supreme Court chief justice, he won by just 2 points over little-known circuit court judge Bob Vance in a year Mitt Romney won the state by 22 points…

Roy Moore’s Senate run is turning into the roadshow version of Trump’s campaign, and that was a farcical imitation of a real campaign…


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Early Morning Open Thread: Roy Moore — Take the Money & Sc(r)am?

Huntsville, Alabama news station WHNT:

The Republican Senate Nominee Roy Moore was the keynote speaker Thursday night at the Madison County Liberty Gala. It was his first major public appearance since several news stories broke this week involving his personal and campaign finances.

Most notably, the Washington Post ran a story about him taking more than a million dollars in undisclosed money from a charity, later run by Moore’s wife.

Moore was scheduled to speak to reporters after the speech, but we got word just about an hour before his address that Moore was not going to be taking any questions.

No reason was given for why that was canceled.

Moore did not directly address any of the controversies that surrounded his campaign but did say, he’s been accused of things he has not done…

Urban cynic that I am, I begin to suspect that ol’ Judge Moore had settled happily into a quasi-legitimate semi-retirement grift until the unexpected success of a certain Donald Trump roiled up the rubes all across thisyere great nation. What with a Godless fella like Trump getting his face and philosophy all over the tee-vee, suddenly doing a trickle of expense-account speaking gigs while his family cashed steady checks for their talent at being related to Judge Moore just didn’t seem… sufficient for God’s devoted servant.

Then the WaPo struck again — “Charity once led by Roy Moore has listed its headquarters for sale, a move that could bring him $540,000 windfall”:

The 1850s-era building was put on the market in April for nearly $1.9 million by Moore’s wife, Kayla, now president of the charity, said Ed Fleming, the listing agent for the property. Fleming said Kayla Moore and her husband were “thinking of moving and retiring” at the time.

“I deal with Kayla. She made the decision,” he said.

The circumstances of the listing add to questions swirling around the charity and more than $1 million in compensation for Roy Moore while he was working part time from 2007 to 2012. Kayla Moore took over as president in 2013, earning $65,000 a year.

On Wednesday, The Washington Post revealed that the nonprofit group, the Foundation for Moral Law, agreed to pay Moore $180,000 in annual salary, far more than the charity reported paying him in most of those years, and to honor the agreement even in years it did not have enough in contributions.

Moore was given a promissory note for back pay in 2011, tax filings and mortgage documents show, the first public indication that his annual compensation surpassed what had been reported. The note, backed by a second mortgage on the building that serves as the charity’s headquarters, was eventually worth $540,000, mortgage records show.

Kayla and Roy Moore declined multiple requests for interviews…
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Late Night Dark Fantasy Open Thread: Mercenary Prince Wants New Dress-Up Costume

Prince better have kept up his SEAL training, because when Liz Cheney finds out about his latest attention-getting stunt, she’s not gonna be hapy with him stepping on “her” turf. Steve Bannon’s got a high opinion of his own Chaotic Evil worth, but Liz’s daddy was corrupting public office when Stevie was just learning to set the bullies against the nerds in middle school:

Over the weekend, Mr. Prince traveled to Wyoming with his family to explore ways to establish residency there, said one person who had spoken to him.

If he runs, Mr. Prince would face formidable obstacles in seeking to unseat Mr. Barrasso, a popular and genial but low-profile senator who will have the full backing of Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, and the well-funded political committees loyal to him. Mr. Prince, who has never run for public office, has been a polarizing figure for years, as Blackwater faced a welter of ethical and legal problems over its work for the military in places like Iraq, including an episode in 2007 in which its employees killed 17 civilians in Baghdad…

Though Mr. Prince carries baggage, Republicans have privately said that a primary challenge against a lawmaker like Mr. Barrasso is the kind they fear most: an out-of-the-blue run by a renegade from the right against a senator whose sin is not a lack of conservative credentials, but an association with Mr. McConnell and other party leaders…

In 1997, Mr. Prince founded Blackwater as a private, for-profit force to aid the military, and he is wealthy enough to self-finance his race. For months this year, Mr. Prince — with Mr. Bannon’s support — pushed a plan to replace soldiers with contractors in Afghanistan. The proposal, which would have radically changed the way the fight in that country is conducted, was vehemently opposed by the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, and the defense secretary, Jim Mattis.

Beyond his support of the use of contractors in war zones, Mr. Prince’s views on political issues are less widely known. He has been described as a libertarian. In 1992, he supported Pat Buchanan’s run for president.

Mr. Prince is emblematic of the type of parallel government apparatus that Mr. Bannon built inside the administration during his time as Mr. Trump’s chief strategist. Mr. Bannon, with help from the Mercer family, is now trying to build the same kind of parallel structure inside the Republican Party. And Mr. Prince is not the only candidate on his wish list…

Between his sister Betsy and failed MI Gov. Rick Snyder, forecasts for the GOP in Michigan are not so great right now, which probably has something to do with Bannon trying to persuade him to up sticks to a place where the lands are larger and the voters fewer. Also, Debbie Stabenow is not exactly a pushover, as the deVos klan has reason to know.



Local Races: Doug Jones* Wins His Senate Primary in Alabama

From the local site AL.com:

Jones, a former U.S. Attorney known for the prosecution of convicted killers Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry for the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, has picked up several endorsements from Democratic leaders, including Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and Rep. Terri Sewell.

Last week, Jones also received an endorsement from former Vice President Joe Biden.

“All my life I have been trying to work with folks to make sure people have equal opportunities–they’re treated fairly, they’re treated the same under the law, they re treated with dignity and respect,” Jones said when he arrived to his watch party after learning he had won.

“You know, 15 years ago, I actually went up against the Klan. And we won,” Jones said…

Meanwhile, the Repubs get to duke it out, until September 26, over a choice between Roy ‘Ayatollah of Alabama’ Moore and Luther ‘Trump’s Pick’ Strange.

I am well aware that everybody considers the Alabama Democratic Party a mere placeholder for some future Day of Jubilee… but it should interesting (and, I sincerely hope, damaging to the GOP in general) to watch Strange & Stranger battle for the ‘Most Sincere Revanchist’ crown.

Anybody here know enough about Alabama politics to tell whether it’s worth contributing to Doug Jones’ campaign, just for the look of it? Or should we concentrate on rooting for Repub injuries?

*(Nope, not our DougJ)



Paul Ryan Has A Challenger: Randy “Ironstache” Bryce

DougJ shared Bryce’s now-famous campaign ad earlier this week, though not in a prime time slot. There’s been a rash of news reports since then, but the best I’ve seen is from Mike Elk’s Payday Report:

RACINE, WISCONSIN – Despite his 6’2 frame, the half-Mexican, half-Polish Army veteran known as the “@IronStache” on Twitter is the epitome of a gentle giant. Holding a beef brisket sandwich in his hand, he hugs, back slaps, and laughs his way through the crowd at the Juneteenth parade on the lakefront of Racine.

“I’m running for Congress against Paul Ryan,” ironworker Randy Bryce struggles to tell an African American woman over the noise of a gospel choir singing on the stage behind them.

Ryan, the Speaker of the House and a former vice presidential candidate, has more than $8 million in the bank for his re-election bid. By contrast, Bryce is a rank and file ironworker activist who has built some of Southeast Wisconsin’s best-known landmarks, including Milwaukee’s Miller Park and the landmark Northwestern Mutual Building.

However, it’s not an entirely uphill battle. Ryan’s district includes the pro-union bastions of Racine and Kenosha, as well as the suburban Milwaukee Republican stronghold of Waukesha. According to the Cook Political Report, the district is only 5 points more Republican than Democratic. If 2018 turns out to be a wave election year, some think Ryan could be defeated by a candidate like Bryce in such a marginal swing district…

“People know that the system is rigged and something has to be done, and Donald Trump took advantage of that,” says SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin’s Bruce Coburn, who serves as the union’s Vice President for Politics and Growth. “Randy, though, is someone who really believes in people and has shown it in all the years he has been in the labor movement.”

I first got to know Randy through the #wiunion hashtag during the Occupation of Wisconsin Capitol in 2011, and since then we have become personal friends. Bryce was part of the tens of thousands who occupied the Capitol in order to stop Scott Walker’s anti-union agenda.

Bryce sips Limeaid in the living room of his small two bedroom apartment outside of Racine as he recalls that battle.

“Walker’s strategy was to divide and conquer,” Bryce says. “His strategy was pointing out people and saying they are being the reason that the others didn’t have it as good as they possibly could. Now that’s being taken to the national level with Donald Trump.”…

If elected to Congress, he sees his role there as being more of a shop steward than a politician, and that he aims to run a campaign that amplifies the voices of others. “For an African American woman, there is no possible way that I can put myself into that woman’s frame of mind, the struggles she faces on a daily basis,” Bryce says. “I could do something to pretend, but I can’t experience it myself, so I need to rely on other people.”…



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Happy Solstice!

Summer solstice, for most Balloon-Juice readers. Today’s Google doodle will strike a chord for all of us who’ve ever resented the extrovert’s Such a lovely day — put down that book and come outside to enjoy it! (Those of you in the Southern Hemisphere get a different version of your own.)

Thoughts & prayers (seriously) to those of you in the Southwest bearing the triple-digit brunt of that “scientific hoax” known as climate change!

Apart from that, what’s on the agenda for the day?

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Couple quick notes on last night’s GA-6 race. Josh Marshall, at TPM:

This is a big disappointment. But remember, by any objective measure these races show a Democratic party resurgent and a GOP on the ropes. These seats came open because they were vacated by people Trump picked for cabinet appointments. They got those picks because they came from safe seats. They are by no means a cross section of House seats. The thing to do is learn what we can from coming up just short and move on to the next fight. No one should expect any of this to be easy. If you do, bow out of civic questions and just watch movies and TV. We need people with more endurance.

Ed Kilgore, in NYMag:

Democrats searching for a silver lining in the Georgia race don’t have to look too far. This is the third consecutive special election (the fourth if you count South Carolina) in a historically Republican district where the Democratic percentage of the vote jumped sharply. Democrats will surely retake the House if the swing in their direction is similarly strong in 2018. In retrospect, ironically, tonight’s results may inspire new respect for Hillary Clinton’s performance–when she came within a point of Donald Trump in this district last November — and provide some new data points for doing well in GOP-leaning districts that resemble GA-06 with its highly educated population.

As a long-time Georgian, I would add that in my experience Georgia Democrats don’t much show up to vote in special elections, or runoffs, much less special election runoffs. That so many did in this election was a minor miracle…



Open Thread: Everybody BREATHE, Godsdammit!

So, yay Newt Gingrich’s former constituents, Karen Handel gets to sit in Congress… for the next 500 days. We get to piss & moan tonight, and then we start working to ensure she’s another one-abbreviated-term wonder, like Scott ‘Cosmo Boy’ Brown. And while a certain amount of bitterness is understandable, let’s keep the knife fights for when we’re facing down the Repubs, ‘kay?