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Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
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The Political Round-Up

Ballot brouhaha bubbles on;
A shot of Rye; Local Segall fund raiser set;
Sheridan at the bar; Beach buzz 

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
In a specially called closed meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21 at party headquarters, the Mobile County Democratic Executive Committee will discuss Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis' challenge to three putative Democratic nominees for public office in November's general election.

Davis filed a complaint over the eligibility of school board hopefuls Reginald Crenshaw and Levon Manzie and constable candidate Melvin Law. After conducting a hearing, the judge referred the matter to circuit court to determine whether the candidates violated the state ethics code and should be barred from appearing on the ballot in November. A Sept. 11 deadline looms for getting the ballot to the printer, according to Davis.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge John Lockett, the third judge to get the case after Judges Rick Stout and Jim Wood recused themselves. Stout's wife, Judy, is a school board member. Wood's wife, Mary Olive, is principal of Causey Middle School. All three circuit judges are Democrats. Davis is a Republican.

Lockett has set a scheduling conference on the matter for Friday, Aug. 22 at 2:30 p.m., according to Circuit Clerk Jo Jo Schwarzauer.

Democratic headquarters is located at 3165 Dauphin St. next to Radney Funeral Home.

A Shot of Rye
Mobile advertising/public relations executive Scott Rye is scheduled to return to the U.S. next month after a tour in Iraq where the Naval reserve officer was called for active duty.

In a recent note home, Rye reports:

"We've had a few (emphasis on few) incidents in the run-up to the pilgrimage to Karbala, which culminated yesterday (Saturday, Aug. 16). This is the largest pilgrimage in Iraq (other than pilgrims passing through on their way to Mecca) -- over a million people. Otherwise, it has been extremely quiet. There is a fear that Special Groups leadership that fled to Iran may be planning a comeback, but we have given the Iraqis a heads up and wanted posters of these guys have actually been posted in Basra and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Security Forces and U.S. forces are patrolling Sadr City for the first time since the war began, and the people are, for the most part, glad they are there and glad the Mahdi Army has fled. They are pointing out where weapons caches are, where safe houses are and where any remaining bad guys can be found.

The operations up in Diyala are temporarily on hold. The Iraqis have a different means of prosecuting a war ... they telegraph their intentions, have ops for a few days and then offer an amnesty period for the bad guys to turn in their weapons or turn themselves in ... afterward, it's back to kinetic ops and search and seizure.

I'll finish up here toward the end of the month and fly down to Ali al Salem, turn in my gear, attend mandatory counseling, then head to Gulfport on Sept. 3. Be there for two or three days and then I'll come off active duty on Sept. 22.

I really do think that I've been here at the best time --seeing the reduction in violence, the fruits of the surge, the growing confidence -- and capability -- of the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi Security Forces, disrupting and scattering AQI, breaking the back (hopefully) of the Special Groups and seeing the imminent dissolution of the once feared and mighty Mahdi Army. Obviously, we have to keep the pressure on to make the gains take hold and become durable, but tremendous strides have been made. And, now that it's over, I'm glad that I was here during the Special Groups seven-week assault that began on Easter. I know what it's like to be under fire, to come to grips with my own mortality and to know that I not only continued to do my duty but did it well."

Segall fund raiser slated
A reception to benefit Joshua Segall's Democratic bid to represent Alabama's Third District in Congress is set for Wednesday, Sept. 3 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the 1605 Government St. home of Richard Dorman and Margaret O’Brien.

Hosts for the event are:

For more information contact Alexis Bentley at (334) 265-7904 or

Sheridan at the bar
Noted Mobile-based oddsmaker Danny Sheridan recently gave his annual talk to a packed luncheon meeting of the Mobile Bar Association luncheon. While most of his talk was devoted to football, Sheridan strayed into the political arena briefly to make a few observations and predictions.

Sheridan projected Deborah Bell Paseur to win her Democratic bid for a seat on the state Supreme Court over GOP nominee Greg Shaw. Sheridan pointed out that he previously and correctly pegged Sue Bell Cobb to win the chief justice post on the Alabama Supreme Court.

Furthermore Sheridan invited and agreed to cover all action "with deep pockets" wanting to bet on GOP presidential nominee John McCain to beat Barack Obama.

"... while I don't bet ... please send him or her (McCainiacs) my way and when I'm correct ... after I collect the winnings ... I'll give my winnings to charity," said Sheridan.

Sheridan added that the Democrats are poised to reclaim the Governor's Mansion in 2010.

Beach buzz
Interesting municipal elections abound in Mobile and Baldwin Counties and the Alabama Gulf Coast is no exception. 

MBT's men on the ground (or in this instance, the sand) filed the following reports in advance of Aug. 26 balloting:

#1: "There are a couple of interesting mayoral races in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Robert Craft, a sitting councilman, is challenging Mayor Billy Duke. Craft is an articulate, intelligent businessman and will be well-financed. He is showing up at events all around town and, apparently, is going all out to win. He is thought of as the more 'visionary' candidate.

Billy Duke is entrenched with the old guard of Gulf Shores citizenry, many of whom go back three generations. This race could be characterized as the 'old' versus the 'new' and Craft will probably embrace the 'new.'

Orange Beach will also have an exciting race. Pete Blalock chose not to stand for re-election and there are three candidates for the post of Mayor:

These two races will be fun to watch!

#2: "On Orange Beach, Tony Kennon is the presumptive leader with Alexander vying to get in a runoff. Recent surveys I have seen indicate Tony could win without a runoff but it will be close. In Gulf Shores, I'm not as familiar but personally think Craft will take it."
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