By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
Ex-U.S. Attorney Don Foster qualified just under the deadline Friday to run for district attorney, giving the Mobile County Democratic Party a chance to hold on to an office occupied by a Democrat for more than 30 years.
Former DA Chris Galanos took a hard look at bidding to resume his prosecutorial career but ultimately backed off. With Galanos out, local Democrats scrambled for a candidate and Foster emerged as their principal focus.
Mark Erwin and Ashley Rich are in a hot contest for the GOP nomination to succeed incumbent DA John Tyson Jr. who decided against seeking re-election.
Foster served as a Clinton appointee heading the U.S. Attorney's office here for six years.
In a press release Friday, Foster noted that although both the county and the federal prosecutor posts are primarily management-related, as U.S. Attorney, he used his trial experience to join his assistants in prosecuting cases, including "the more difficult and controversial cases such as the Leroy Hill case,
the Little River Church fire case and the rare capital murder cases."
A native of Foley, Foster earned degrees in industrial management from Georgia Tech and law from the University of Alabama Law School.
Byrne, King top GOP meet
Bradley Byrne and Troy King will headline the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, April 5 at Westminster Presbyterian Church at the intersection of Airport Boulevard and Sage Avenue. Byrne is seeking the GOP nomination for governor and King is battling for re-election as the state's Attorney General in a field that includes both GOP and Democratic contenders. It will be MCREC's last meeting before the Republican primary on June 1.
Fixing to mess with Eliot Ness
Attorneys for a lobbyist with ties to Dothan's Country Crossings casino have filed a formal complaint with the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility in which they accuse FBI agents of bullying, "veiled threats," and political coercion in their investigation of bingo legislation and its progress in this session of the state Legislature.
A fund raiser for Montgomery attorney James H. Anderson's Democratic campaign for Attorney General is set for Tuesday, April 6 from 5-6:30 p.m. at The Bull, 605 Dauphin Street in downtown Mobile. The suggested contribution for attendees is $100. Anderson is vying with Giles Perkins and Michel Nicrosi for the party's nomination in the June 1 primary. For more information visit www.andersonforag.com.
District 7 pow-wow
Mobile City Councilwoman Gina Gregory will host a District 7 community meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Mobile Museum of Art auditorium, 4850 Museum Drive. New Mobile Police Chief Michael Williams will be the featured speaker. Williams recently pulled city police from the FBI's Violent Crimes Task Force here. Assistant Chief Lester Hargrove said the redeployment was temporary and came because of MPD's need to "put more officers on the street; first things first." Other sources had attributed the move to a clash with federal authorities.
State legislators whose districts include District 7 have also been invited, according to Gregory.
Tying the knot
Lobbyist Armand Dekeyser and Torrey Van Antwerp Smitherman exchanged wedding vows Saturday at her cousin Tom Van Antwerp's home in Baldwin County. Dekeyser ran for City Council in 1985, losing to Reggie Copeland, before signing on as Mayor Arthur Outlaw's chief of staff. Dekeyser then joined U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions' office, accompanying him to Montgomery when he was elected Attorney General and then to Washington when Sessions was elected to the U.S. Senate. Dekeyser is now employed with the MITA Group. Dekeyser said he expected to continue lobbying and would commute to Washington from Birmingham.
Talking large mouths
Well-known Alabama fisherman and outsdoorsman Ray Scott, founder of the Bass Angler's Sportsman Society (BASS), will join GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim James at a press conference at 2 p.m. Monday in Montgomery to "discuss the importance of protecting Alabama’s natural resources and other issues important to Alabama hunters and fishermen." For more information contact Brett Hall at 334-318-6081 or by email.
Dems get together
The Mobile County Democratic Executive Committee will meet April 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the library at Davidson High School on Pleasant Valley Road.
With both parties' primaries just two months away, Alabama's gubernatorial race is wide open, according to Rasmussen Reports.
Buzbee challenges Brooks
Democrat Scott Buzbee will challenge GOP incumbent state Sen. Ben Brooks for the District 35 seat in elections next fall.
In a news release announcing his candidacy, the Irvington resident cited his patriotism and his religious faith in answering another "call to service."
An injury during training with the U.S. Marine Corps prevented him from joining the country's fight against terrorism overseas, he noted, but did not dampen his desire to serve.
“I looked on TV, saw America under attack, saw our police and firemen and military putting their lives in harm's way, and was led to answer the call of duty for our nation,” Buzbee says.
His political campaign also stems from the recognition of a threat to America: "the professional politicians who are more interested in serving themselves and playing politics than standing up for the people."
According to Buzbee, Brooks "is a professional politician who has been totally ineffective at getting results for South Mobile County. Whether it’s the economy, jobs, support for our schools, or even the problem of insurance reform there has been more talk than results. Many good bills for South Mobile County have passed the House only to see Sen. Brooks ineffective in passing them in the Senate. That must change.”
"I am ready for the campaign and I look forward to the campaign," said Brooks.
Buzbee, who describes himself as a conservative motivated by family and faith, did not limit his criticism to Brooks and Republicans.
"Some say wait four years, but I don’t know that our state and our country can wait for four more years," contends Buzbee. "The politicians are doing what they do best which is to play politics, take pay raises despite people losing jobs, and that goes for many in both parties. I believe with all my heart that Democrats, Republicans, Independents and the many good people in the Tea Party want a change.”
Buzbee says his platform will be fiscally and socially conservative. He says that he is pro-life, low tax, and less government. He attended Theodore High School before graduating from Alba High School. He is also a graduate of the University of Mobile. Buzbee and his wife, Brandie, are the parents of four children.
Buzbee and his father have been in the health insurance business together for many years, he said. His experience as a small businessman will be invaluable in addressing government spending, according to Buzbee.
Bonner, Bentley top ESRW card
GOP political candidates Dr. Robert Bentley and U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner will address the Eastern Shore Republican Women luncheon meeting Monday, April 19 at 11:30 a.m. at the Fairhope Yacht Club. Guests and prospective members are welcome. Lunch is $16. Reservations should be made by Thursday, April 15 to Lucy Sundbeck, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 929-0081.
Bentley, a state legislator from Tuscaloosa, is running for governor. Bonner is seeking re-election to Congress.
Home builders back Byrne
The 12,000-member Home Builders Association of Alabama today in Fairhope announced its endorsement of Bradley Byrne in this year's race for governor.
HBAA picked the Montrose man over seven other candidates in the race. The Home Builders Association represents a variety of occupations including builders, developers, architects, engineers, suppliers and other industry figures. Previously, Byrne won endorsements from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama, the Alabama Association of REALTORS® and the Alabama Retail Association.
Cliff Pitman, the HBAA’s 2010 president, said construction “fuels not only the economies of local and state governments, it fuels the families of all Alabamians. We are certain that the wealth of experience Bradley brings to the table will help him lead us through these tough economic times and put our state back on a path of growth that will benefit all of Alabama."
Scheduled to speak to the Knollwood Republican
Women’s Club in coming weeks are:
- April 14 -- Bill Johnson, candidate for governor and Ashley Rich, candidate for Mobile County District Attorney
- May 12 -- Hank Erwin, candidate for Lieutenant governor;
- June 9 -- Open invitation to all run-off candidates.
The club meets at Gordon Oaks Retirement Community at 3159 Knollwood Drive, Building B Dining Room
at 2 p.m.
Lighting it up for Sparks
State Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks keeps hanging in in his Democratic gubernatorial bid. He's had a few opportunities to pack it in, but instead he's covered up and then trudged on. Artur Davis still has to be regarded as a heavy favorite for the nomination, but the longer Sparks lingers the odds grow shorter for making Davis pay for running a general election campaign in a party primary.
Area Sparks' supporters include:
- Taylor Harper, $1,100; Terry Joe Debrow, $250; J. Cecil Gardner, $200;
- Steve Dampier, Fairhope, $500; Elliot Maisel, $2,500;
- Ed Kahalley, $500; Ben Sumrall, $250; Gary Tanner, $2,000;
- Mike Windom, $500; Julie Kittrell, $250; Sam Marston, $200;
- Martha Sessions, $500; Terry McLeod, $250; Desi Tobias, $500.
On the GOP side, Robert Bentley shares some of the same qualities of endurance as Sparks. Against long odds, Bentley has hung in, not faded and is probably more of a factor with less than two months to go than many political soothsayers would have believed.
His local supporters are few and include:
- T.P. Amhadi, $25; Fred and Julie Bodie, $200; Rick Sheffield, $50; Rawson Trucking, $500; R&S Grading & Paving, $500.