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The Political Fray

Giles Perkins gets vital New South endorsement;
Nodine about to get feet on street;
Recount on; And why not, asks Chapman;
Town of Semmes vote Aug. 17;
Dresner Wickers driving Bentley;
Newcomb, others to board Green machine;
Voter registration deadline July 2

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
Birmingham lawyer Giles Perkins got a vital endorsement, perhaps "a game changer," in his bid to wrest the Democratic nomination for Attorney General from the June 1 primary's top vote-getter James Anderson.

The Alabama New South Coalition interviewed Perkins and Anderson Saturday.

The predominantly black political group endorsed Mobile attorney Michel Nicrosi in the June 1 primary. She trailed the leaders to finish third and was eliminated.

The front-running Anderson came within a whisker of avoiding a runoff, claiming 49.6 percent of the primary vote to fall just side of a majority.

The Democratic runoff for attorney general will be July 13.

Had Perkins failed to sell ANSC on his candidacy, he likely would've strongly considered withdrawing from the race.

Nodine to put feet on street
Ex-Mobile County Commissioner Steve Nodine will likely be freed within 24-36 hours with pending trials for murder and a federal gun/drug charge still ahead, according to lawyers involved in the case.

Nodine, accused of murder in the May 9 shooting death of his paramour Angel Downs in Gulf Shores, remains in federal custody while prosecutors pursue an appeal of a magistrate's order that he be released.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Cassidy ordered rigorous conditions on Nodine's movements and behavior, all of which Nodine pledged to observe.

Nodine has a job with a local construction firm upon his release, according to Gordon Armstrong, Nodine's attorney in the federal case.

Rarely is a magistrate's ruling in such matters reversed by the district judge, according to Dennis Knizley, who with his associate John Conrad Williams is defending Nodine against the state murder charge in Baldwin County.

“It was the right ruling,” said Knizley. “I don’t think Nodine is a flight risk or a danger to the community. The judge (Cassidy) doesn’t think either exists to any significant degree. Consequently, there’s no reason to reverse the ruling.”

Nodine was released on a $250,000 bond on the murder charge when federal authorities swooped in to detain him on the exotic "drug addict in possession of a firearm" charge.

State court officials here say they can keep the federal criminal justice turnstiles spinning with as many as 40 such cases a month if agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Drug Enforcement Administration only place their order.     

One potato, two potato, three potato, four ...
Local Republican officials this morning will begin a recount of the Mobile County vote in the GOP primary for governor.

The recount was contingent on the campaign of candidate Tim James paying the $5,800 cost of the recount by 2 p.m. Monday, according to Mobile County Republican Party Chairman Kyle Callaghan.

James trailed Robert Bentley by just 167 votes in the June 1 primary, apparently to finish third behind Bentley and leading vote-getter Bradley Byrne. Initially the James campaign indicated that it would seek a recount in more populated and GOP-leaning counties, but later favored a recount in all 67 counties despite the increased cost.

Callaghan's notice stated, "The financial cost to the James Campaign is as follows: Mobile County Probate Court $4,600, and Mobile County Republican Executive Committee $1,200.

According to Callaghan, the re-count will begin at "8 a.m. sharp" Tuesday and "may be carried over into the next day ..." Each session, assuming more than one, would end at 5 p.m.

Under Election Re-Count Poll Supervisor Mrs. Allen Barnett, about 25 MCREC volunteers will assist Probate Court workers and 10 Mobile County Sheriffs Office Deputies.

Callaghan stated that each candidate may appoint a poll watcher, bearing an official letter signed by the candidate designating him or her as the candidate's representative, to attend and observe the re-counting of the votes.

Callaghan instructed the James campaign to deliver a check payable to the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee in the amount of $5,800.00 by 2 p.m. Monday. The check should be delivered to MCREC attorney Mark Erwin, with Satterwhite & Erwin Law Firm, 1325 Dauphin Street Mobile, Alabama 36604, 251-432-8120. Erwin served as James' local campaign chairman until resigning to concentrate on his ultimately unsuccessful run for district attorney.

No reason not to re-count vote, says Chapman
State election officials should proceed with a recount of the vote in the GOP gubernatorial primary to help determine a runoff opponent for leading vote-getter Bradley Byrne, according to Secretary of State Beth Chapman.

Tim James trailed Robert Bentley by 167 votes for the crucial second position. James has agreed to bear the cost of a recount

Chapman's memorandum to GOP state, Chairman Mike Hubbard, Bentley and James reads:

"Though the unprecedented primary recount should fall to the Republican Party, as the State’s Chief Elections Official, I believe I should continue to take the leadership role that the people of this state elected me to take by issuing this statement.

Mr. Tim James petitioned for a recount. The Republican Party chairman agreed to a recount, the Attorney General agreed to a recount, I have agreed to a recount and an hour and a half meeting was held on Friday in preparation for that recount.

Probate Judges from across the state attended that meeting, as did party officials including many of the party’s county chairmen – all in preparation for that recount.

A recount for Mr. James is the one thing that everyone has agreed to and he has agreed to pay for that recount.

The section of the Attorney General’s opinion pertaining to procedures after the recount only applies if the recount yields a different result than we received Primary Election Day, June 1.

As Secretary of State I believe the best course of action at this point is to proceed with the recount due to the fact that no one has disputed that Tim James is entitled to have a recount prior to the Primary runoff election.

Town of Semmes?
Residents of Semmes will go to the polls Aug. 17 to determine whether or not the west Mobile Community incorporates as the county’s 11th municipality.

Voting will take place at the Semmes First Baptist Church from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., according to Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis.

The church is located at 4070 Wulff Road East. Davis said Semmes representatives had posted the appropriate deposit for the cost of the election.

The proposed area for the town includes about 1,500-1,600 registered voters. The proposed corporate limits encompasses most if not all of the Semmes First Baptist Church precinct but also parts of three other precincts --the River of Life Church precinct, the Azalea City Church of Christ precinct and the Semmes Community Center precinct.

A quirk of the incorporation election, noted Davis, is that
a person registered to vote in any precinct in Mobile County who has also resided within the proposed municipal territory for the three-month period preceding the election can participate in the election.

"For example, you could be registerd to vote at the E.R. Dickson School poll, but if you have lived in the proposed municipal limits for the three months preceding the Aug. 17 election you could properly vote in the election," the judge explained.

A map of Semmes with the proposed corporate boundaries is available for viewing at the probate court offices in downtown Mobile.

For more information about the election, contact Mobile County elections coordinator Roxanne Dyess at 574-6080.

Doc's adviser
Dresner Wickers & Associates scored a big win in Alabama as general consultant, media consultant and pollster for Dr. Robert Bentley’s June 1 GOP primary campaign for governor. With the nomination now tantalizingly close, the San Francisco-based firm will play an expanded role in the Tuscaloosa legislator's surprisingly strong showing.

Bryan Sanders, son-in-law of ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, will take over as campaign manager and press contact for the expected runoff campaign. Sanders is a senior associate based in Little Rock. He has been with Dresner Wickers for a year.

The Dresner Wickers' roster of clients has included Huckabee, U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, former U.S. Sens. Phil Gramm of Texas and Paula Hawkins of Florida and international politicos such as Russia's Vladimir Putin and Boris Yeltsin, two-time President Alfonso Lopez Michelson of Colombia, and former Prime Minister Constantin Mitsotakis, Greece.

Newcomb, others to back Green for Baldwin D.A.
David Green, who faces Hallie Dixon in a Republican runoff election July 13 for Baldwin County District Attorney, will publicly accept endorsements, including among others that of vanquished incumbent District Attorney Judy Newcomb, on the steps of the Baldwin County Courthouse at noon Tuesday, June 15, the Green campaign announced.

For more information contact Wynn Radford at 251-978-4068.

Who spent what and why?
The state Department of Public Examiners found the following area of "non-compliance" in its audit of the Mobile County Commission's financial activities in fiscal year 2009-2010:

The Mobile County Commission’s Travel Policy states, “In addition to an original itemized and dated receipt, all claims for reimbursement of expenses incurred on behalf of business associates must include the name of the associate and the business purpose.”

The Commission paid travel expenses that were not
in compliance with the provision in their travel policy that states the associates must be named and the business purpose of the meeting.

Recommendation: Travel claims submitted for payment by the Commission should be in compliance with the Commission’s Travel Policy.     

Closing Katrina Cut
BP has agreed to fund the $15 million closing of Katrina Cut to restore Dauphin Island to its more recent natural state.

Must register by July 2 to vote in runoff
If you want to vote in Alabama's runoff election July 13, the last day to register is July 2.

According to Secretary of State Beth Chapman, people interested in voting can get the forms from her office's website.

The runoff on the Republican ballot is highlighted by the governor's race and also features runoffs in Baldwin County for district attorney and two county commission seats. The Democratic ballot features a runoff for attorney general.

Baldwin D.A. rivals at GOP luncheon
The two remaining Baldwin County District Attorney candidates Hallie Dixon and David Green are set to speak to the Eastern Shore Republican Women's monthly luncheon Wednesday, June 16 at 11:30 a.m. at the Fairhope Yacht Club.

Dixon and Green finished first and second ahead of incumbent Baldwin County District Attorney Judy Newcomb in the June 1 primary election to force a runoff July 13.

Rebecca Byrne, wife of leading GOP gubernatorial vote-getter Bradley Byrne, will also speak to the gathering.

Guests and prospective members are welcome. Lunch is $16. Reservations should be made by Friday, June 11 to

For more information, contact ESRW Publicity Chairperson Mary Ann Baltzer at 251-929-2394 or

GOP to sponsor forum for commission candidates
The Mobile County Republican Executive Committee on July 8 will sponsor a forum/debate involving candidates in the special election for Mobile County Commission District 2. The program will be held at 7 p.m. at a location to be determined. Contenders for the vacancy include Sheriff's Office administrator Ralph Buffkin, towing company owner Tommy Gordon, Mobile City Councilwoman Connie Hudson, School Board member Ken Megginson, conservative political organizer Pete Riehm, Semmes barber Carmen Tillman.

The GOP special election primary will be July 13  

Murder suspect Nodine resigned instead of facing trial for impeachment.

Hudson rolls out radio spot
Mobile City Councilwoman Connie Hudson rolled out a radio spot in her bid to win the District 2 county commission slot. 

Scratch the Violence Luncheon Aug. 6
Tickets are available for the Scratch the Violence Community Involvement Luncheon, according to luncheon chairman James A.H. Blackman.

The event will be held Aug. 06 at the Figures Community Center at 12 noon.

"There will be an inspiring messenger, great entertainment, a hearty lunch and beautiful fellowship," Blackman promised.

For more information, call 767-1589.
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