Daily News Digest – April 4, 2018

Daily News Digest – April 4, 2018

Good morning! This is your Daily News for Wednesday, April 4.

1. Today marks 50 years since MLK’s assassination. 

  • The above photo is one of the last known images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. alive. It was taken moments before he was shot and instantly killed at the Loraine Hotel in Memphis.
  • The night before, Dr. King had given his famous “mountaintop” speech to striking sanitation workers, which ominously foretold his death.
  • That speech is worth a listen today as the nation marks 50 years since King’s tragic death. It is available on YouTube HERE.

2. Fundraising reports.

March campaign finance reports are in, and there’s a lot to dig through.

I started with the major statewide candidates. Their updated amounts raised, amounts spent and cash on hand is available HERE.

*Be sure to view it in “Read” or “Print” mode until I can get my website to cooperate.

A few takeaways:

  • The two numbers most pay attention to is the amount raised and cash on hand. BUT, don’t neglect the significance of the amount spent, particularly what that spending paid for.
  • With two months to go until the primaries, candidates need to be up on TV and radio – particularly those with low name ID.
  • If a campaign was fortunate enough to have already paid the money to produce and place those expensive ads, they might have more gas in the tank going down the stretch.
  • In the same way, having to go spend that money going forward can be a drag on an otherwise healthy cash on hand number.
  • For example, Gov. Kay Ivey’s campaign raised $351,792 in March, spent $505,023, and now has $2.08 million on hand. A good portion of that $505K appears to have gone to television production. Meanwhile, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battleraised $112,305 in March, spent $83,847 and has $1.35 millionon hand. However, Battle’s report doesn’t appear to include expenditures for TV production, meaning that’s a major expense his campaign is going to incur in the coming weeks.

See all the numbers HERE.

3. Jack fights back. 

  • State Rep. Jack Williams is fighting back against federal charges of honest services fraud, issuing a statement saying he has “done nothing wrong” and fully expects to be exonerated in court.
  • “I have done nothing wrong, and once the facts are presented, I expect to be found innocent,” he said.
  • Read more HERE.
  • Williams’ attorney Jake Watson also released a statement saying they will present “his side of the story in the courtroom, rather than the media.”
  • Remember: Williams isn’t accused of taking a bribe. He’s being accused of knowing that a colleague (Micky Hammon) had a financial stake in a company and then helping move legislation that would benefit that company by taking official action (calling a public hearing of his committee).
  • What has people scratching their heads in Montgomery is this: public hearings get requested and called on bills all the time. It’s hard to say definitively that’s good way a to advance a bill. In fact, many times opponents of bills will ask for public hearings to drum up more opposition.
  • Maybe there’s more to the story. In any case, Jack is fighting back.

4. Debating the debates.

Gov. Kay Ivey is under fire for not agreeing to a series of debates with her primary challengers.

Raycom Political Reporter Michael Doudna has that story HERE.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle – who is probably Ivey’s closest competitor – called her out in a nice, yet direct way yesterday.

He’s only feeding a media eager for more, so expect those criticisms to get louder and harsher.

Why it matters

  • Say you’re an incumbent candidate with a significant polling lead. Politics 101 teaches that you should never debate your opponent(s) if you don’t have to.
  • Why would you? There is little, if anything, to gain, and everything to lose. You elevate your opponents’s stature and tempt fate for a game-changing gaffe.
  • That said, you can’t get too cute with it. There comes a point of diminishing returns. Avoiding debates might serve your interest for the time being, but you can’t let that narrative sink in with voters down the stretch.
  • That’s where Ivey stands right now.
  • I tend to think that the debate over the debate is mostly confined to the media and political insiders. But, remember that primary elections bring out a higher concentration of high-information voters.

What’s next

  • I’m sure Ivey will eventually appear at a debate or two before the primary on June 5.
  • Until then, expect her opponents to continue to pounce and whip this story up as much as they can. People dressed up as chickens (or giant ducks), empty debate chairs, etc.
  • The media love a good debate about the debate.

5. News briefs.

  • It appears the YouTube shooting yesterday was the result of a domestic dispute. The woman eventually turned the gun on herself, but not before injuring four others. Read more HERE.
  • Pretty big Washington Post scoop on President Trump and the Russia investigation. Special Counsel Robert Mueller apparently informed Trump aides recently that the president is not a target of his investigation, but rather a subject of it. He wants to interview Trump to complete his work and issue a report forthwith. Read that story HERE.
  • This isn’t alarming at all: The U.S. Government suspects countries like China and Russia have listening devices planted around Washington, D.C. by which they can listen in on calls from national leaders. Read more HERE.
  • Today’s Montgomery Advertiser has my column on the legislative session ending and campaigns beginning. I appreciate them publishing it, and I’d appreciate you clicking over to read it HERE.

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Reports are in: how major candidates fared in March fundraising. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Williams: “I’ve done nothing wrong”

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama school board set to hire new superintendent this month.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Former teacher sentenced to prison for producing child porn.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Legislature mostly avoided abortion, LBGT issues.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Montgomerians recall MLK’s death, legacy 50 years after assassination.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Todd Stacy:  Alabama Legislature wraps up productive session.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Roby: Despite shaky process, good economic news exists.

AL.COM – A closer look at Alabama’s $6.63 billion education budget, largest in a decade.

AL.COM – Rep. Jack Williams says he’s innocent, expects to be cleared.

AL.COM – Polaris recalling 107,000 off-road vehicles.

AL.COM – John Lewis: ‘Something died in all of us’ when MLK died.

AL.COM – Alabama budget chairman says smooth year was ‘reprieve’.

AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey outlines broad ‘vision’ without regard to upcoming election.

AL.COM – Alabama home prices up over last year, survey shows.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Columnist Josh Moon:  There’s a reason so much anger is being directed at the Parkland kids.

DECATUR DAILY – Indictment shows Hammon’s debt a factor in alleged actions.

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Mayor weighs in on inmate ministry issue.

GADSDEN TIMES – King’s call to action still resonates.

ANNISTON STAR – Alabama cars, the world over.

ANNISTON STAR – Anniston, the city that didn’t riot when MLK was assassinated.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Editor Troy Turner:  Finally, in a high school auditorium…

WASHINGTON POST – Mueller told Trump’s attorneys the president remains under investigation but is not currently a criminal target.

WASHINGTON POST – Trump floats idea of sending military to guard U.S.-Mexico border but offers no details.

WASHINGTON POST – Supreme Court justice affirms activists’ fears that police can ‘shoot first and think later’.

WASHINGTON POST – Nearly 12 million people enrolled in 2018 health coverage under the ACA.

WASHINGTON POST – Short staffing leads to long waits for Social Security disability hearing decisions.

NEW YORK TIMES – 50 Years Later, Remembering King, and the Battles That Outlived Him

NEW YORK TIMES – China Strikes Back at the U.S. With Plans for Its Own Tariffs

NEW YORK TIMES – Inside a Private Prison: Blood, Suicide and Poorly Paid Guards

NEW YORK TIMES – White House Turf Battle Threatens to Delay Tax Law Rollout

NEW YORK TIMES – Contributor Jesse Jackson:  How Dr. King Lived Is Why He Died

Front pages (Images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)