Off The Record: The latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama
District 10’s slow burn
The Alabama House District 10 race is quietly heating up behind the scenes. Republican Teddy Powell and Democrat Marilyn Lands will face off in a special election on March 26. You can expect both campaigns to be running full steam ahead in the new year. But in the meantime, both Powell and Lands are assembling supporters and donors. Last night ALFA-endorsed Powell was celebrated by admiring supporters in the home of a longtime political heavyweight in Madison. On the Lands side, we hear reports of “very successful fundraising efforts” and “extremely enthusiastic support at the doors, even more than before.” You’ll remember in 2022, Lands ran against former State Rep. David Cole who resigned after running afoul of the residency requirements. The 2022 race was close, less than a thousand votes tipped the scales to Cole. Powell, a Madison City Council member, is considered a much stronger candidate than political novice Cole. However, special election races are notorious for their unpredictability. Every vote will count in this one.
We told you last week popular community leader Kim Lewis was reportedly eyeing the District 5 Huntsville City Council seat, currently held by John Meredith. It seems District 1 could see some competition as well. In a somewhat ironic twist, former District 5 Councilman Will Culver, who was unseated by Meredith, is reportedly considering challenging current District 1 Councilman Devyn Keith. Once considered unbeatable, Keith’s standing took a hit after he pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor shoplifting this past summer. The City of Huntsville’s municipal elections are Aug. 27, 2024.
Hold likened to ‘pine box’
This week, Sen. Tommy Tuberville dropped his nearly 10-month hold on most military promotions that he began in protest of the Pentagon’s abortion policy. The abrupt about face comes despite Alabama’s senior senator maintaining the hold would stay in place as long as it takes. While many were seemingly surprised by Tuberville’s action Tuesday, a college football fan told OTR no one should be, “I heard something like that about a pine box in Oxford once.” Apparently a reference back to 1998, when then-Ole Miss head coach Tuberville famously declared, “They’ll have to carry me out of here in a pine box,” before leaving for the top coaching job at Auburn two days later. Long is the memory of a grudgeful football fan.
How did he swing it?
Stories can, and will, be written about how Alabama, the state and university, was able to solidify itself as the host site of an official presidential debate. Party politics aside, everyone can be proud the state had the honor Wednesday night. But it takes party politics to be in that conversation. According to every insider we’ve spoken to, State GOP Chairman John Wahl deserves the credit. His clout in the Republican National Committee proved historic for Alabama. As time goes on, maybe he’ll share more about how he pulled it off.
Ukraine aid = Great for Alabama
National security experts recently took a close look at which military installations, and the states that give them a home, have benefitted the most from U.S. aid to Ukraine. It should come as no surprise that Alabama had a towering presence on that list. As Congress debates and finalizes its defense appropriations and Ukraine aid package in the coming week, you can assume Alabama’s federal officials will be thinking of their districts when it comes to a vote.