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Building Relationships
 The Political Round-Up

17 lawyers eye judicial vacancy

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
​This and that collected along the political trail of late ...

Seventeen Mobile attorneys have applied for an impending vacancy on the Mobile County District Court bench.

Seeking to succeed veteran District Judge Mike McMaken, who will end a 25-year career on the district bench on Oct. 1, are:

A five-member judicial selection committee will interview the applicants and submit the names of three finalists to Gov. Robert Bentley who has 90 days to appoint one of the three nominees. In the unlikely event that the governor fails to act, the authority to appoint would shift to the chief justice of the state's Supreme Court.

Headed by presiding Circuit Court Judge Charlie Graddick, the judicial selection committee includes two representatives from the legal profession, attorneys Billy Bedsole and Danner Frazer, and two representatives from the public at-large, former state Rep. Chris Pringle and businessman Harris Morrissette.

Graddick said he intended to move expeditiously with the committee's role in the process.

"The District Court handles thousands of cases and we need it fully staffed," said Graddick. "There may be a period between Mike’s retirement date and the Governor’s appointment. I will appoint lawyers to fill in as Special sitting District Court Judges in the interim, at no additional cost."

After the applicants are interviewed, the committee will allow "a couple of weeks" for public comment, then deliberate and decide on the three finalists, said Graddick.

The list would be sent to the governor immediately, said Graddick.

​District judges serve six-year terms of office. McMaken, 65, first took office in January, 1987 and was last re-elected in 2010. The post pays about $112,000 annually.
Local Dems to host convention party 
The Campaign to re-Elect President Obama, Obama For America and the Mobile County Democratic Executive Committee, will host a Convention Speech Watch Party Thursday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. at the campaign 
headquarters at 918 Government St. in downtown Mobile. The public is invited. 

Speech watchers are invited to join the party early and bring a dish and drinks to share with others. The speech will be projected on two screens.

Campaign literature, yard signs, and paraphernalia will be available. For more information, contact Campaign HQ at 251-432-4300/2012, or Ken Kronebusch at 

GOP coffee club
The Baldwin County Republican Party Coffee Club regular first Saturday of the month meeting set for Sept. 1 has been cancelled due to the Labor Day weekend, according to BCRP CC's Peggy Vanover. The October meeting has been moved from Oct. 6 to Sept. 29 to allow coffee club members to participate in the Baldwin County Republican Party Executive Committee's project to travel by bus Saturday, Oct. 6 to Florida to campaign for the Romney/Ryan ticket in a battleground state. Baldwin County Republican volunteers will also travel to Escambia County, Ala. to assist the emerging GOP there. 

The Baldwin County Republican Party will charterbusses to take volunteers to Escambia County, Florida and Escambia County, Alabama, in early October to aid in grassroots campaign in these counties.

Baldwin County GOP Chair Matt Simpson said, "This is our contribution to ensure the election of Republicans to office in November in these critical counties. Escambia County, AL, has been a traditionally Democrat county in the past but has five Republican candidates running for local office this November. Escambia County, FL. is critical to Governor Romney's winning Florida."

Buses will leave from Robertsdale at 7 a.m. Oct. 6, to Escambia County, Fla. and Oct. 13 to Escambia County, Ala.

Food and drink will be provided. For more information or to volunteer contact Jessica Breland at 205-405--0380.

The Baldwin County Republican Party also plans to open its area headquarters at 1320 No. McKenzie St. in Foley and 1410 Highway 98 in Daphne in mid-September. For more information on the Baldwin County Republican Party go to

The GOP coffee club meets on the first Saturday of the month at 8 a.m. at Mama Lou's Restaurant in Robertsdale. For more information contact Peggy Vanover at

Vote early, vote often​
Is Perry County in Alabama's Black Belt the state's most enthusiastically democratic county or is something rotten in Uniontown? When 130 percent of your county's total population is registered to vote, there can be little doubt of the citizens' commitment to participatory democracy, or at least a handful of them with their hands on the levers. When nearly 50 percent of the ballots cast in an election are by absentee ballot, the citizenry wants to be heard and maybe heard even a second or third time

Republicans say the vote in Perry County casts doubt on the integrity of the election and called on state Democratic Party leaders to work as hard at combating voter fraud, especially among such a hard-core Democratic bloc as African-Americans, as screaming "racism" whenever voter ID laws are broached. 

From the Republican National Convention in Tampa, state GOP chairman Bill Armistead commented on  
Dana Beyerle's Wednesday report in the Tuscaloosa News that Uniontown in Perry County has 130 percent of their population registered to vote. 

In the municipal elections held on Tuesday, 1,431 ballots were cast, representing 125 percent of the population in Uniontown that is 18 or older. Beyerle also reported that 45 percent of the ballots cast were absentee ballots, compared to the 3 to 5 percent average for the state.

"Something is fishy in Perry County and it amazes me that Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy refuses to acknowledge the evidence placed before him concerning voter fraud in Alabama," stated Bill Armistead, Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party. "It is completely obvious to anyone who looks at the facts with an open mind that voter fraud is alive and well in Alabama.

"Unfortunately, Kennedy is so busy trying to cloud the issue by hysterically screaming 'racism' everywhere he goes, he can't see that African American voters are being disenfranchised by the criminal activities such as what's happening in Uniontown," Armistead continued.

"As former Alabama Democratic Congressman Artur Davis told the Montgomery Advertiser earlier this year, 'The truth is that the most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African American community, at least in Alabama, is the wholesale manufacture of ballots, at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black Belt.'

"Fortunately, Artur decided to put principle above partisanship and has joined the Republican Party in our efforts to expose and combat voter fraud in Alabama. It is my hope that Chairman Kennedy will put aside politics and posturing long enough to realize he needs to investigate these claims for himself and do everything he can to promote fair and transparent elections at every ballot box in the state. Alabama voters, both Republican and Democrat, deserve that much," concluded Armistead.

... til the last dog dies 
"With your help in asking others to sign this petition, maybe, just maybe I’ll be home before Christmas," so says Don Siegelman in a bid to convince President Barack Obama that the former governor of Alabama deserves a pardon. Siegelman was recently ordered to begin serving a 6-1/2 year prison sentence for public corruption. 

Thomas's travails
Former Mobile County Circuit Judge Herman Thomas this week was disbarred in Florida. Thomas was disbarred in Alabama in the wake of sensational charges alleging that he paddled young inmates in a spare courthouse office for his sexual gratification. He was acquitted of criminal charges but lost his judgeship through state judicial disciplinary proceedings.

Road work
Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson's 2012 "Pay As You Go" road paving program totals $7 million including almost $3 million inside the city of Mobile.

Big winners were Mobile City Council Districts 6 and 7. District 6 Council got $872,750 for 33 different projects. District 7 was awarded more than 1.4 million, almost half of which will be spent installing a "roundabout" at the intersection of Museum Drive and McGregor Avenue. District 5 got $160,000 and District 4 received $125,000.

Click here to see the complete list.

GOP HQ opening
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will be the special guest when the Mobile County Republican Party stages the grand opening of its campaign headquarters at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6 in the Yester Oaks Shopping Center on Airport Blvd. A light dinner will be available. The event is open to the public.

The HQ informally opened Aug. 21 and hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays. Romney/Ryan items will be available. Volunteers may sign up at

Armistead Mobile bound
State GOP Chairman Bill Armistead will be the special guest at the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee's fall meeting Monday, Oct. 1. A 6:30 p.m. reception will precede a 7 p.m. meeting. The place is to be determined.

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Need help with legal research or, for that matter, any type of research? Public records and other research? Witness interviews? Consider contacting former Press-Register investigative reporter Eddie Curran. For more information, call Eddie at 251-454-1911, or visit Curran Research Services.