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Off The Record: The latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama

 

For ALGOP, size matters 

When Gov. Ron DeSantis headlined the ALGOP Winter meeting in March, the party had to change locations to accommodate the demand for tickets. It was a record setting event for the GOP and one of DeSantis’ largest crowds outside of Florida. But it seems former President Donald Trump wants to send the message that Alabama remains Trump Country and sources say he has agreed to headline the ALGOP Summer Meeting in Montgomery in early August. One assumes party leaders are scrambling to find a location that could potentially accommodate an even larger crowd than the one for DeSantis. 

Tuberville fight hurting Huntsville?

Word on the street is that Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s fight with the Biden Administration over the DoD’s abortion access plan for service members may have some collateral damage. As the standoff drags on and more military promotions are held up, the concern is growing the administration may use this as a reason to overturn the Space Command move to Redstone Arsenal or at least continue to delay it. Colorado has already brought up Alabama’s restrictive abortion law as a reason to overturn the move and Tuberville’s fight against the DoD policy might be helping them make their case. Observers also say announcing a Space Command move could appear to be rewarding Tuberville while he holds up nearly 200 routine DoD promotions. 

What’s next for Madison? 

After a resounding NO to the city manager vote in this week’s special election, many are asking what’s next for the state’s ninth-largest city. According to Madison Mayor Paul Finley, it’s full steam ahead. Finley is apparently much more likely to seek office for a fourth term after the proposal to appoint a city manager was defeated.  

AL Democratic Party perplexities 

Following what is being described as a “disaster” of a meeting this past weekend, the Alabama Democratic Party is facing pressure from elected members of their own party to get their house in order. Democratic lawmakers have reportedly had it with state party leadership and are distancing themselves from the turmoil. At the controversial executive committee meeting, close to 30 members were barred from participating because of an apparent lack of paying a $50 fee while party leadership also voted to eliminate three caucuses. 

Marshall making moves? 

The recent hire of a new communications director at Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office has caught the attention of more than a few political insiders. Amanda Priest came onboard from Arkansas and leads some to believe this is Marshall’s next step leading to his run for future office.   

Ainsworth’s at it 

Ainsworth’s ambitious grocery tax cut looks clear for landing. As state budgets stand to be approved by their corresponding chambers, it’s rumored the House will advance on the Senate version of a grocery tax elimination — reducing the tax by 2% using the SNAP definition of food. A big win for Ainsworth, the Senate and anyone who buys food. 

Biscuits are big business 

Breakfast has always been big business in North Alabama and plenty of new players have noticed. Maple Street Biscuit Company, a new quick serve restaurant from Cracker Barrel, opened its first north Alabama location at Clift Farms last month and customer response has risen to the occasion. The line was around the building on opening day and even the next weekend. Sources say it was the best opening week for the entire chain and has caused the corporate office to speed up plans for additional North Alabama locations.  

Even more breakfast brokers on the way 

Maple Street isn’t the only new player in the market as Biscuit Belly opened its first North Alabama location in Jones Valley to similar lines. Both are soon to be joined by Big Bad Breakfast, a popular regional chain that has long had a location in downtown Florence. We have been told to expect two BBB locations in Madison County – one at the old Garden Cove Produce location at Pratt Avenue and Meridian Street north of downtown Huntsville and another in the old Smokey’s BBQ location on U.S. 72 in Madison. 

Election to replace South

Outside the 256, a House seat is opening up now just under one year into the quadrennium. OTR mentioned in April, Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette) is joining the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce after serving two full full terms in the House. He’ll take over the CEO spot at one of the state’s most influential chamber groups, succeeding MartinFederal’s Jim Page. Rep. South said he’ll finish out the 2023 regular session. An election to decide who will replace his seat in the House will quickly be set.

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