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Mobile Bay Times
McCain not backing Jones
or anyone in mayor's race

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
Mobile mayoral candidate Sam Jones may have "put the lessons he learned from an American hero to work for Mobile," but the hero in question -- U.S. Sen. John McCain -- would be more likely to back any one of Jones' three foes in the city's Aug. 23 mayoral election, according to the Arizona Republican's political advisor.

A direct mail piece touting Jones' candidacy -- headlined "Quiet leadership and the true meaning of service" -- makes several references to McCain and the pair's military service in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era.

Above a photograph of a battleship, the copy reads: "At an early age, in a difficult time, Sam Jones served directly under John McCain. The lessons he learned have served Mobile ever since." 

Jones served aboard the USS Forrestal in the Vietnam era as flight deck troubleshooter.

"After Vietnam, Sam re-enlisted and reported directly to Executive Officer John McCain at Cecil Field Naval Air Station as Equal Opportunity Officer and Race Relations Education Specialist," the piece reads.

"McCain and Sam shared an understanding -- it doesn't matter what your background or where you come from, in war you have to be able to trust your life to the brave soul fighting beside you," it continued.

"While he appreciates Mr. Jones' service to the country, Sen. McCain has made no endorsement in the mayor's race in Mobile," said McCain political advisor John Weaver. "There should be no inference by Mr. Jones or anyone else that he has."

Furthermore, said Weaver, were McCain to lend his name in behalf of any candidate at the local, state or federal levels, as a Republican, he would support candidates who espouse GOP principles.

Jones has held office on the Mobile County Commission as a Democrat for more than 18 years.

Jones' three opponents -- Ann Bedsole, Bess Rich and John Peavy -- have all either held office or sought office as Republicans.

The city election is non-partisan.

"Obviously, the senator is not involved in any way in the mayor's race in Mobile and clearly the senator doesn't even know the other candidates," said Weaver.

The Jones' campaign issued the following statement:

"The most defining period in my life were the years I spent serving our country in the U.S. Navy. The lessons I learned in the Navy, and specifically, while serving with Executive Officer John McCain, have helped define who I am today, and the way I go about serving our community. At no time have I asked or expected Senator McCain to get involved in the mayor’s race, nor have I suggested that he has endorsed my campaign."

Jones enlisted in the U.S. Navy for nine years where he served as a community services coordinator among other assignments.

Following military service, Jones returned to Mobile and  became the executive director of Mobile Community Action, a public service agency. From 1980 to 1987, he supervised more than 240 employees and administered a $5 million annual budget, according to his campaign. He then began his career on the Mobile County Commission.

A run-off election, if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote Aug. 23, will be conducted on Sept. 13.

Incumbent Mayor Mike Dow decided not to seek a fifth term.