Alan Abramowitz: “When Alabama voters were asked which party they would prefer to control the Senate, 50% chose Republicans while 45% chose Democrats. That is a stunning result — perhaps even more stunning than Jones’s victory. Moreover, only 43% had a favorable opinion of the Republican Party while 47% had a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party.”
“As long as I’m secretary of state of Alabama, you’re going to have to show some initiative to become a registered voter in this state.”
— Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R), quoted by Mother Jones.
The Alabama Supreme Court “allowed the impeachment of Governor Robert Bentley to start next week, staying a temporary restraining order from a lower court that had blocked hearings,” Reuters reports.
“Bentley, a Republican, has been battling impeachment efforts over the last year related to political fallout from his relationship with a former aide.”
Alabama House Speaker Michael Hubbard (R), “whose sharp-elbowed approach to politics propelled the Republican Party to dominance in his state, was convicted Friday on 12 felony ethics charges, leaving him stripped of power and facing the possibility of decades in prison,” the New York Times reports.
“The verdict…deepened the political crisis in Alabama, where some of the most influential state officials are facing inquiries and threats of ouster.”
New York Times: “The chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court has been hit with ethics charges for defying federal courts on same-sex marriage, and could be removed from his seat. The governor, caught on tape engaging in salacious banter, apparently with his powerful chief adviser, is facing criminal investigations and calls for impeachment.”
“That the governor’s racy calls became public at all is because of what may be the most significant and sweeping crisis of the lot: the impending trial of the Alabama House speaker, Michael G. Hubbard, described by friends and foes as the most powerful man in state politics.”
“Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore already lost his job once. Now he’s at risk of losing it again,” the Washington Post reports.
“A state commission on Friday suspended Moore from the bench, alleging that the top-ranking state judicial official disregarded “clear law” this year when he instructed state judges to ignore the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last summer that established nationwide same-sex marriage rights.”
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “made perhaps his most heartfelt apology yet on Monday, repeatedly asking the people of Alabama for forgiveness for the scandal that has engulfed his administration,” the Birmingham News reports.
Said Bentley: “I’ve asked God to forgive me because that’s the most important thing. I want back in His fellowship. And so I asked God to forgive me. But I asked other people to again forgive me and I’ve already done that and I have truly asked the people of this state – they’re the folks who love me and are the best people in the world – I have asked them to forgive me.”
The Fix: “But wait a minute. Forgive him for what? Bentley hasn’t ever admitted to the affair he has been accused of. “
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “pressured law enforcement officers to use federal and state resources to target those critical of his relationship with senior advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason,” according to the Alabama Political Reporter.
Meanwhile, Yellowhammer News reports Bentley and Mason “share a secret safe deposit box at a Montgomery bank.”
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s (R) attempt to defund Planned Parenthood of about $4,453 over two years will instead cost the state $51,000 to pay the group’s legal fees, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.
Said Bentley: “Headlines may not show it was a win, but it was a win.”
Bloomberg: “In Alabama, one of the Bush campaign’s top targets in March, Bush has endorsements from a member of Congress, a handful of state legislators and statewide officials. Yet, in contrast with Donald Trump or Marco Rubio, Bush wasn’t able to find a full slate of delegates to run on the ballot by Friday’s deadline.”
“After days of judicial confusion, some clarity may come on Thursday to Alabama’s approach to same-sex marriage, as a federal judge considers whether to compel a probate judge here to issue marriage licenses to gay couples,” the New York Times reports.
“While a ruling would pertain only to the probate judge in Mobile County, it would send a signal to judges statewide, who are caught between a federal ruling that lifts the state ban on same-sex marriage and an order from the State Supreme Court chief justice to ignore the ruling. For now, probate judges in 23 of Alabama’s 67 counties are issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Licenses are being handed out only to straight couples in 18 counties, and no marriage licenses at all are being issued in 26 counties.”
Meanwhile, The Hill reports that Alabama Supreme Court’s chief justice “is ready to go to war with the Supreme Court, if the high court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, asserting that the potential ruling could be as damaging as historical decisions that set back racial equality.”