By Kim Chandler, Associated Press
OPELIKA, Ala. — Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s conviction on ethics charges automatically removes him from office and could mean years in prison for the powerful Republican.
Friday night, a jury found the one-time GOP star guilty of 12 counts of public corruption for using the influence and prestige of his political stature to benefit his companies and clients. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each count.
The jury, which arrived at the verdict after nearly seven hours of deliberation, acquitted Hubbard on 11 other counts.
The conviction comes amid a season of scandal that has engulfed Republicans at the helm of Alabama’s legislative, judicial and executive branches of government. Chief Justice Roy Moore faces possible ouster from office over accusations that he violated canons of judicial ethics during the fight over same-sex marriage. And Gov. Robert Bentley has faced calls for his impeachment after a sex-tinged scandal involving a former top aide. Continue reading →
Tennessee isn’t the only Southern state where Democrats have had difficulties in coming up with a credible candidate for statewide office, observes the Tennessean. While Tennessee Democrats have disowned and vowed not to support nominee Mark Clayton of Whites Creek in the U.S. Senate race — due to his views on gays and his association with an anti-gay group — their Alabama counterparts took an even more drastic step with one of their candidates.
The Democratic Party there disqualified its nominee for chief justice of the state Supreme Court because of comments he made online about the Republican nominee, accusing him of having “dementia” and being “a devil worshipper.” Party officials felt the comments were improper for a judicial nominee. It just so happened the Democratic nominee in question, Harry Lyon, also had a long history of entering and losing Alabama political races.
And in Mississippi, Democrats are relying on an 82-year-old to fill a ballot spot opposite incumbent Republican Sen. Roger Wicker. His name is Albert N. Gore Jr., who the Mississippi League of Women voters says is a distant cousin to Al Gore, the former Democratic vice president and U.S. senator from Tennessee.
Gore told National Public Radio that someone younger should be making the race but “they didn’t want to fight.”
“The lack of even qualified Democrats is really becoming a problem (in the South). More and more Republicans are running unopposed,” said Steve Borrelli, political analyst at the University of Alabama.
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Threats, denunciations and verbal potshots between the National Rifle Association and the leaders of the Legislature were common in the decades that Democrats ran the show in the Tennessee Capitol. Turns out Republicans are just as good at running afoul of the powerful gun rights group.
GOP leaders in Nashville infuriated the NRA this year by refusing to go along with a bill to prevent businesses from banning guns on their property, and now the group is using its deep pockets to try to unseat one of them. Elsewhere, NRA-backed measures also ran into Republican roadblocks in Georgia, Alabama, Idaho and North Carolina this year.
The NRA notes recent successes in the legislatures of Virginia, Ohio and South Carolina, describing the recent setbacks as temporary.
“First of all the legislative process is rarely quick and is rarely pretty,” chief NRA lobbyist Chris W. Cox said in a phone interview. “We certainly take the long view and we’re committed to bring this not only to Tennessee but across the country.”
The NRA is backing up its words with campaign cash in Tennessee, spending $75,000 in an effort to defeat the No. 3 Republican in the state House, Rep. Debra Maggart of Hendersonville.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee has shared a drug used in the lethal injection of condemned prisoners with Alabama, which had none on hand for a scheduled execution.
State prison officials in Tennessee say they did nothing improper in lending eight grams of sodium thiopental to Alabama and did not charge for the drug, but expected it to be returned when Alabama again found a supplier, according to The Tennessean.
“We have not acted illegally,” said Dorinda Carter, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Correction.
The drug was intended for the May 19 execution of Jason Oric Williams in Alabama.
Since the loan was made, federal agents have seized supplies of the drug from states, including Alabama and Tennessee.