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The Political Wrap

Not the 'swang vote'; Rich rally;
Dean in lion's den; Green on St. Paddy's Day;
Byrne, Strange claim wins in straw poll;
Tanner on sidelines officially; Foster for DA?; Open Secret; Erwin HQ to open;
Young Repubs set meet; Figures' fete set;

By Chip Drago
A quick whirl around the area political scene:

State Sen. Ben Brooks, R-Theodore, "ain't the swang vote" on bingo legislation.

A staunch foe of pro-gambling bills recently advanced in the present session of the state Legislature, Brooks got a phone call from country singer Jon Anderson (Swingin') to urge his support for laws favorable to gambling venues such as Country Crossin' in Dothan. Brooks told his colleague, state Sen. Harri Anne Smith, R-Slocomb, about the call, joking that while Anderson was not able to persuade him, country music legend George Jones might be another story. In short order, Brooks got a call from Jones. Brooks said he advised Jones that his vote against the pending legislation was solid. Jones told Brooks he appreciated his candor. Brooks said he told the Nashville star that Jones and Merle Haggard topped his late father's list of favorite country artists, but both, of course, trailed Hank Williams Sr. who was in another category altogether.   

Rich rally
A number of relatives of murder victims will co-host a rally in Ashley Rich's campaign for district attorney Tuesday, March 23 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Mobile County Law Enforcement Association's meeting hall at 3701 RIviere du Chien Road.

Among those taking an active role in her campaign, said RIch, are:

Calling the survivors "hardworking people whose lives were touched in an instant by crime," Rich said they were among several co-chairs of her campaign.

"It's humbling to me that these people, who wouldn't normally get involved in politics, would do this because they believe in me," said Rich. "It's just fantastic."

Rich said the rally will be "a good old-fashioned family fun event" with a cookout, an antique car show and activities for kids.

Dean in lion's den
Republican Mobile County Commissioner Mike Dean will be the guest speaker at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 18 at the Tiny Diny on Halls Mill Road for the monthly meeting of the largely Democratic Friends & Fellowship Club, according to F&F chairman Floyd Stringfellow. The public is welcome to attend the Dutch treat luncheon. For more information, contact Stringfellow at 344-2014. 

Green on St. Paddy's Day
David Green, one of four Republican contenders for district attorney in Baldwin County, will kick off his campaign with a $100 a person fundraiser Wednesday, March 17 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Craft Farms Club House, 3840 Cotton Creek Circle in Gulf Shores.

Hosts for the event include:

For more information, call 251.269.9131 or email, The GOP primary is June 1.
Byrne claims top spot in JeffCo straw poll
Gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne won a recent Jefferson County GOP Straw Poll conducted during a Jefferson County GOP meeting at the Gardendale Civic Center. The victory followed a mid-week announcement of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's endorsement of Byrne in the 2010 governor's race.

According to Jefferson County GOP officials, Byrne earned 35 percent of the 217 votes cast. Results were: Byrne, 35% - 75 votes; Tim James, 25% - 55 votes; Robert Bentley, 14% - 31 votes; Roy Moore, 13% - 29 votes; Bill Johnson, 10% - 21 votes; and Kay Ivey, 3% - 6 votes.

Local boy makes good
Luther Strange trounced incumbent GOP Attorney General Troy King in the same Jefferson County straw poll by a 140-49 count. Strange, a Birmingham attorney, is challenging King in the June 1 GOP primary.

Dems to meet
The Mobile County Democratic Executive Committee will meet Thursday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Davidson High School, 3900 Pleasant Valley Drive. The public welcome.

Tanner makes it official
Not that it's any great surprise, but ex-state Sen. Gary Tanner has officially eliminated himself as a candidate in the state Senate District 35 race this year. Local and state Democratic officials continue to wrack their brains in a quest for someone to challenge GOP incumbent Ben Brooks.

Dems court another D.A. vet?
With the plug pulled on Chris Galanos's brief, though never official, foray into the district attorney's race, Democratic leaders hope to field a contender for an office that has been held by a Mobile County Democrat for more than three decades. Former Clinton administration U.S. Attorney Don Foster acknowledged that he was considering a run.

Open Secret
The Mobile Chapter of Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform and the League of Women Voters of Mobile at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 25 will present "Open Secret: How Alabama’s Citizens Lost Their Voice," a film by Melanie Jeffcoat based on transcripts from the 1901 Alabama Constitutional Convention. The presentation at Dauphin Way United Methodist Church, 1507 Dauphin Street, is free and open to the public. An open forum discussion will follow, featuring local political and community leaders. For more information, contact Karlos Finley
at 251-533-2174 or by email.

Erwin to open campaign headquarters
GOP district attorney contender Mark Erwin tentatively plans a grand opening of his campaign headquarters in the Llanfair shopping center on Airport Blvd. (next to the UPS store near Francia's Formalwear) Saturday, March 27. Local GOP figure John Skipper will serve as Erwin headquarters' manager/coordinator.

Erwin will be the guest speaker for a meeting of the Young Republicans Monday night, March 15, at Buck's Pizza at 6 p.m., according to YR leader Josh Woods. Buck's is located on Dauphin Street at Claiborne across from the Cathedral.

If you're happy and you know it ... bottoms up
Supporters will hold a "Happy Hour for RaShawn Figures" at Taste on Thursday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m. Figures is challenging incumbent District 99 state Rep.James Buskey in the Democratic primary June 1.
350 Dauphin St.