Alabama Cites Supreme Court Abortion Decision in Transgender Youth Case

Just days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade,  Alabama has cited that ruling in a bid to outlaw parents from obtaining puberty blockers and certain other medical treatment for their transgender children.

The citation came in an appeal by Alabama’s attorney general seeking to lift a federal court injunction that partially blocked enforcement of a newly enacted state ban on medical interventions for transgender youths.

The appeal is believed to mark the first time a state has expressly invoked the recent Supreme Court opinion overturning its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and applied the same reasoning to a separate issue bearing on other rights.

Echoing the high court’s language in striking down Roe, the Alabama appeal filed on Monday argued that the state has the authority to outlaw puberty-blocking hormones and other therapies for transgender minors in part because they are not “deeply rooted in our history or traditions.”

The appeal also asserted that such treatments are dangerous and experimental.

The decision from the Supreme Court on June 24 immediately paved the way for numerous states to enact measures banning or restricting abortions.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said in the majority opinion that the abortion ruling should not cast “doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” But Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the same legal reasoning should be used to reconsider high court rulings protecting same-sex marriage, gay sex, and contraceptives.

The Alabama law, passed by a Republican-dominated legislature, was blocked from enforcement in May, less than a week after it went into effect, in a preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Liles Burke, an appointee of former Republican President Donald Trump.

Burke held that higher court rulings made clear that parents have a right to direct the medical care of their children if it meets acceptable standards and that transgender people are protected against discrimination under federal law.

Burke left in place the part of the law banning sex-altering surgeries and other provisions prohibiting school officials from keeping certain gender-identity information secret from parents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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Tie in Alabama GOP Race Means Winner to Be Selected By Lot

Alabama’s Republican Party has declared a tie in the primary race for a state Senate seat and says the winner will be chosen by lot.

A state party news release says the party’s Candidate Committee held a hearing Saturday and said the District 27 primary race between Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey and incumbent Tom Whatley was officially a tie. It said the winner would be determined in accordance with the state election code.

News outlets reported that the committee held the hearing after provisional ballots were counted in the already close primary race and Hovey appeared to be ahead by only a single vote. The party did not release a reason for its decision.

Hovey in a message to The Montgomery Advertiser on Saturday night accused the party of counting an unregistered voter to bring the race to a tie.

“Certainly every vote is important and it’s unfortunate if anyone is mistaken that they are registered to vote,” Hovey wrote. It was unclear if he would challenge the decision.

The state election code says that in the event of a tie in a legislative race, the Secretary of State shall decide the winner by lot.

The district covers Tallapoosa, Lee and Russell counties. The GOP news release did not provide details on when the winner would be selected or the method to be used.

The Opelika-Auburn News reports that one method of deciding a tie by lot is to have the candidates draw slips of paper with one of them being marked as the winner.

“It could be a roll of a dice, high card, or rock-paper-scissors,” Secretary of State John Merrill told

Whoever is declared the winner of the primary will run against Democrat candidate Sherri Reese of Opelika in the general election in November. Reese was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

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Rep. Brooks Slams ‘Flawed’ Jan. 6 Hearings, Offers Conditions for Testifying

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., on Thursday wrote a lengthy letter to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, unrest at the Capitol, detailing his feelings about being subpoenaed for testimony and questioning the fairness of hearings that don’t provide opportunities for witness cross-examination.

Brooks also submitted a series of conditions for providing sworn testimony to the House panel, all of which were available for public consumption on his Twitter account.

The letter initially reads:

“I understand the Committee wishes to depose me concerning January 6 events and have heard rumor the Committee ‘issued’ a subpoena for my appearance. I have on countless occasions been in public venues in Alabama, in my Congressional office, on the House Floor, and numerous places in between, yet no Committee subpoena has been served. This is puzzling.

“I don’t believe I have knowledge of January 6 events that are not already known or that add to what the Committee already knows.

”As the Committee knows, I have already made multiple, lengthy sworn statements in the Eric Swalwell lawsuit in federal court and made multiple, lengthy written and oral statements elsewhere.

”Presumably, the Committee has already obtained and reviewed these statements,” said Brooks, who recently lost Alabama’s GOP runoff primary for a U.S. Senate seat to Republican Katie Britt.

“I have numerous reservations about the Committee. Here are a few examples:

  • “The Committee refused to seat all of the majority party’s Republican appointees (a first in the history of the House of Representatives). This means minority party witnesses who might illuminate different views are less likely to be called and appropriate cross-examination questions are not asked, thereby failing to reveal truth (the purported goal of the Committee). No court of law would use such a flawed process. Why? Because judicial processes are designed to find truth.”
  • “The Committee insists on doing the public’s business (deposing witnesses) clandestinely and in secrecy. Hence, the Committee’s processes conflict with time-honored judicial processes designed to maximize the likelihood that viewers reach a fair, just and accurate impression of the truth of a matter.”
  • “I have read about leaked witness testimony. This distorts truth perception among the American people because the testimony leaked is in bits and pieces, not the whole, thereby depriving Americans of testimony and facts needed to make an informed decision about January 6 events.”
  • “A witness’s demeanor is critical to determining veracity and truth. This is one of the reason why judges and juries responsible for discerning truth view witness testimony in person. Failure to observe live testimony, in its entirety, reduces the ability of Americans to determine the truth of this matter.”

Regarding the conditions for offering sworn testimony, Brooks is seeking:

(1) A public hearing: The testimony must be provided in an open setting, meaning that TV/Web viewers would have live access to Brooks’ comments.

(2) Jan. 6 scope: Every question must have relevance to the events of that day in 2021.

(3) Questions by congressional leaders only; congressional staffers and any other non-elected leaders would not be permitted to submit queries to Brooks.

(4) Document disclosure: Brooks would require a minimum of seven days of preparation time, before commenting on prior statements, electronic communications, written communications, etc.

(5) Deposition date options: The testimony must be provided on days when Brooks was already slated to be in Washington.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Trump-Backed Katie Britt Tops Rep. Brooks for Alabama GOP Senate Nomination

Katie Britt won the Republican nomination for Senate in Alabama on Tuesday, defeating six-term Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., in a primary runoff after former President Donald Trump took the unusual step of rescinding his endorsement of Brooks.

The loss ends a turbulent campaign for Brooks, a conservative firebrand who fully embraced Trump’s election challenges and had run under the banner “MAGA Mo.” But it was not enough for the former president, who initially backed Brooks in the race to replace Britt’s former boss, retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., but then pulled his support as Brooks languished in the polls.

Trump eventually endorsed Britt in the race’s final stretch after she emerged as the top vote-getter in the state’s May 24 primary. She will face Democrat Will Boyd in November in the overwhelmingly Republican state.

The race was among a handful of contests held Tuesday at the midpoint of a primary season that has been shaped by Trump’s effort to influence the GOP.

While Britt was already considered the favorite by the time Trump got behind her, the result gives the former president a victory at a time his influence over the GOP has come under scrutiny.

The Alabama Senate runoff had drawn particular attention because of the drama surrounding Trump’s endorsement. Trump initially endorsed Brooks in the spring of 2021, rewarding an ardent champion of his claims of a stolen election. Brooks had voted against certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election victory and delivered a fiery Jan. 6 speech at the rally before the Capitol was stormed by protesters, telling the crowd, “Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”

But nearly a year later, Trump rescinded his support after the pair’s relationship soured and as Brooks languished in the polls. Trump blamed his decision on comments Brooks had made months earlier, at an August rally, when he said it was time for the party to move on from litigating the 2020 presidential race — comments Trump claimed showed Brooks, one of the most conservative members of Congress, had gone “woke.”

Brooks, who is known for his bombastic oratory style, has described the primary race as a battle for the soul of Republican Party, pitting the “true conservative” wing against establishment members of the GOP. He disparaged Britt, 40, as a “RINO” — the GOP pejorative meaning “Republican in name only” — and maintained he was the only one with a proven conservative record.

The founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus also made his opposition to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a pillar of his campaign, embarking on a “Fire McConnell Tour” of town halls.

In his concession speech Tuesday night, Brooks told supporters he respected the race’s outcome. But in a sign of the contentious race, he accused voters of having been seduced by false advertising and congratulated high-dollar donors and “special interest groups” for funding Britt’s campaign.

“We are sending to Washington, D.C., the exact opposite of what we need in the United States Senate. But the voters have spoken. They might not have spoken wisely,” he groused.

Britt, meanwhile, cast herself as part of a new generation of conservative leaders while disparaging Brooks, 68, as a career politician. If victorious in November, Britt will be the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama and one of its youngest members. The state’s previous female senators had been appointed.

“Alabama has spoken. We want new blood. We want fresh blood,” she said at her victory party. “We want someone who will fight for Christian conservative values, who will fight for the freedoms and liberties this nation was founded on and will fight for the American dream for the next generation and the next generation.”

That argument seemed to resonate with some voters Tuesday.

“She’s young. She’s smart,” said 86-year-old Carolyn Bowman. “That’s what we need in Congress.”

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Alabama Polls: Katie Britt Surges After Trump Endorsement

The Alabama GOP primary runoff between Katie Britt and Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., was close just a week ago, but the endorsement of former President Donald Trump might make it a runaway, the latest polls show.

Britt is a runaway favorite in Tuesday’s runoff against Brooks, who had his endorsement pulled when he told an Alabama Save America rally GOP voters should stop looking back at the 2020 presidential election integrity issues.

The Trump endorsement is being hailed as a catalyst, including Friday’s Alabama Forestry Association poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associates:

  1. Britt: 58.4%.
  2. Brooks: 32.6%.
  3. Undecided: 9.0%.

That poll is not unlike a pair of others bills on RealClearPolitics.

The Hill/Emerson College Poll has Britt with 59% support and Brooks at 41% – when it forced respondents to make a decision.

The Auburn University Poll had Britt up 20 points, with 50% support to Brooks’ 30% support.

All three polls came after Trump endorsed Katie Britt on Friday, June 10, doubling down on the former president’s decision to spurn his previous choice in the Republican primary.

Trump called Britt “an incredible fighter for the people of Alabama.” The former president had originally backed Brooks in the race, but rescinded that endorsement in March after their relationship soured.

Britt was chief of staff to retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., before stepping down to lead a state business group, and is now running to fill Shelby’s vacant seat. Britt and Brooks face off in the June 21 runoff that will decide the Republican nominee.

“Above all, Katie Britt will never let you down,” Trump wrote, adding, “she has my complete and total endorsement!”

The decision was another blow to Brooks, who had sought to regain Trump’s support.

“Mo has been wanting it back ever since, but I cannot give it to him!” Trump wrote. “Katie Britt, on the other hand, is a fearless America First Warrior.”

Trump endorsed Brooks last year, rewarding the conservative firebrand who had been an ardent supporter of Trump’s 2020 election fraud claims. Brooks had whipped up a crowd of Trump supporters at the Jan. 6, 2021, rally that preceded the storming of the Capitol.

But Trump pulled that endorsement, citing Brooks’ languishing performance in the race and going “woke” for saying at a Cullman rally it was time to move on from litigating the 2020 presidential election and focus that energy on upcoming elections instead.

Britt led the primary field in the May primary, and has been seeking Trump’s support since he backed away from Brooks.

“President Trump knows that Alabamians are sick and tired of failed, do-nothing career politicians,” Britt said in a statement. “It’s time for the next generation of conservatives to step up and shake things up in Washington to save the country we know and love for our children and our children’s children.”

Despite losing Trump’s endorsement in March, Brooks had continued to campaign under the label of “MAGA Mo,” a reference to the Make America Great Again slogan, and had challenged Britt to a debate on the singular topic of whether the 2020 election was “stolen.”

Brooks tweeted voters of Alabama will decide the race.

“Let’s just admit it: Trump endorses the wrong people sometimes,” Brooks wrote, noting a Trump-endorsed candidate lost the 2017 Senate race in Alabama.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Trump’s Britt Blessing Mauls Mo In Alabama

In a surprise announcement Friday night, Donald Trump issued a strong endorsement to front-running U.S. Senate hopeful Katie Britt of Alabama in her runoff contest June 21st with fellow Republican and former Trump friend Rep. Mo Brooks.

Most Republican observers in the Yellowhammer State quickly concluded that Trump’s blessing of Britt — who won 46% in the GOP primary earlier this month — almost certainly guarantees her nomination for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Richard Shelby.

Hailing Britt as a “fearless America First Warrior,” Trump praised her background as CEO of Alabama’s Business Council and even hailed her “great husband Wesley” (who played football at the University of Alabama and for the New England Patriots).

But Trump also laid the lash of his words on Brooks, a six-term congressman, whom he had initially endorsed for the Senate nomination and then unendorsed shortly before the primary.

“Mo backtracked and made a big mistake by going Woke at our massive Cullman, Alabama Rally,” read Trump’s statement endorsing Britt. “Instead of denouncing the voter fraud (in the 2020 election), Mo lectured the crowd of 63,000 people saying, ‘Put that behind you, put that behind you,” — meaning that, in effect, forget the Rigged Election (2020) and go on to the future.”

Trump’s problem with that, he said, is “if you do that, it will happen again. … Mo was strongly booed by tens of thousands of Great Alabama Patriots for abandoning his constituents, and what they know to be true about the Election Fraud. He foolishly started listening to the wrong consultants and not to the people, and his 54-point lead (in the primary) evaporated overnight. Likewise, his words caused me to withdraw my endorsement, and Mo has been wanting it back ever since — but I cannot give it to him!”

Britt, 46, carried 62 of 65 counties in Alabama in the primary. Brooks, who came in second with 29%, was considered to be in an uphill climb to catch up with Britt. With Trump making his surprise decision Friday, Brooks is now likely to face difficulty raising funds for the runoff that is 10 days away.

This latest development came on the heels of third place primary finisher (23%) and “Black Hawk Down” hero Mike Durant failing to endorse Brooks in the runoff and instead declaring he would vote for neither Brooks nor Britt.

Alabama has had two women senators — Democrats Dixie Bibb Graves (1937-1938) and Maryon Allen (1977-1978) — but both were appointed to fill vacancies for brief periods. If triumphant, Britt would be the first woman elected to the Senate from Alabama.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Rep. Mo Brooks Goes Scorched Earth After Trump Backs Britt

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., running for Senate in a June 21 GOP primary runoff against Katie Britt, lost the endorsement and trust of former President Donald Trump, and now he is going scorched earth after Trump endorsed his opponent.

“This is weird: last time Donald Trump talked about Katie Britt, he said she was unqualified for the Senate,” Brooks wrote in a statement Saturday, according to Birmingham, Alabama’s ABC-6. “Donald Trump is the only man in American politics who could get conned by Mitch McConnell twice in an Alabama Senate race.

“Let’s just admit it: Trump endorses the wrong people sometimes. He endorsed Mitt Romney, he endorsed John McCain, and now he’s endorsed Katie Britt, who his own son, Don Jr. called ‘Alabama’s Liz Cheney.’

“Alabama grassroots remember in 2017 when Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell got involved in a Senate primary in Alabama — and we rejected them. The people of Alabama will decide.”

The Brooks-Trump back and forth has gone on for months after Trump pulled his endorsement and mostly stayed out of the Alabama GOP Senate primary until Friday night, delivering his official endorsement for Britt.

“Last year I endorsed Mo Brooks for the U.S. Senate because I thought he was a fighter, especially when it came to the rigged and stolen presidential election of 2020,” Trump wrote in a lengthy statement from his Save America PAC, posted on Truth Social on Friday night. “The evidence is irrefutable. Then, out of nowhere, and for seemingly no reason, Mo backtracked and made a big mistake by going woke at our massive Cullman, Alabama, rally.

“Instead of denouncing the voter fraud in the election, Mo lectured the crowd of 63,000 people saying, ‘Put that behind you, put that behind you,’ meaning that, in effect, forget the rigged election and go on to the future. The problem is, if you do that, it will happen again.”

Late last month, Brooks blasted a “Fox News Sunday” host for siding with Democrats and liberal media in erroneously claiming – The Associated Press in particular – “no evidence or proof provided” of fraud.

“That’s wrong,” Brooks said stopping the Fox News host on fake news. “I don’t know why you people need to keep saying that, but that is absolutely false.

“You keep saying it every time, but that’s absolutely false. You have 150 congressmen and senators that absolutely disagree with you on what you just said. So what are you calling them? What are you calling them when you have 150 Republican senators and congressmen looked at the voter fraud issue and said there was a major problem.”

That testy exchange was not enough to flip Trump’s endorsement back to Brooks.

“Why do Republicans allow Democrats to get away with rigging and stealing elections?” Trump added his in Britt endorsement. “Mo was strongly booed by tens of thousands of great Alabama patriots for abandoning his constituents, and what they know to be true about the election fraud. He foolishly started listening to the wrong consultants and not to the people, and his 54-point lead evaporated overnight.

“Likewise, his words caused me to withdraw my endorsement, and Mo has been wanting it back ever since — but I cannot give it to him!”

Brooks has been claiming he is the “America First” candidate of choice in the Alabama Senate GOP primary, but now Trump officially disagrees.

“Katie Britt, on the other hand, is a fearless America First warrior,” Trump’s statement added. “The opposition says Katie is close to Mitch McConnell, but actually, she is not — in fact, she believes that McConnell put Mike Durant in the race to stop her, which is very possibly true. Katie is an incredible fighter for the people of Alabama.

“As president and CEO of Alabama’s Business Council, Katie has been working hard to grow Alabama’s economy, create jobs, and restore the great American dream. She has the total support and endorsement of Chairman Jimmy Parnell and the Alabama Farmers Federation.”

Britt has a husband who played both for the University of Alabama and the NFL’s New England Patriots, Trump noted.

“The proud mother of two wonderful children, Katie, along with her great husband, Wesley, a Star at the University of Alabama and the New England Patriots, are true champions for the American family,” Trump’s statement concluded. “Katie strongly supports our under siege Second Amendment, stands up for parental rights, and will fight for our military, our vets, and election integrity.

“Above all, Katie Britt will never let you down. So get out and vote for Katie Britt on June 21st in the Alabama Senate runoff — she has my complete and total endorsement!”

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Trump Likely to Stay Out of Alabama Senate GOP Primary Runoff

Three days after the initial Alabama Republican Senate primary, and three weeks before the runoff, sources close to Donald Trump say they expect the former president not to choose in the contest between former Alabama Business Council head Katie Britt and Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala.

Britt, onetime top aide to retiring GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, topped the primary field with 46% of the vote Tuesday.

But because she did not reach 50%, Britt must face runner-up Brooks (29%). The six-term congressman and House Freedom Caucus member initially had Trump’s endorsement, only to be “unendorsed” by the former president after he said it was time to look ahead to the 2022 and ’24 elections and not back to 2020.

Now the big question is whether Trump will reverse his rescinding of the original endorsement and go back to supporting Brooks.

One former Alabama legislator who was involved in Trump’s ’16 and ’20 campaigns insisted “the former president withdrew his support for Mo, and it would not look good if he suddenly decided to undo his unendorsement now.”

“Trump is always a wild card,” Coalmont Electrical Development Corporation President Shaun McCutcheon, a Trump delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention, told Newsmax. “If he endorses Mo again that would be huge in Alabama, one of the strongest Trump supporting states. Trump surely wants a win after Georgia [where three statewide candidates he supported lost the primary last week] and he can get it here.”

But others who spoke to Newsmax say it will be an uphill climb for Brooks in the runoff—even with third-place finisher and Blackhawk Down hero Mike Durant (23%) endorsing him.

Noting Durant is a resident of Brooks 5th District (Huntsville, Alabama), Washington Examiner columnist and Mobile, Alabama, resident Quin Hilyer told us: “It’s probably a reasonable assumption that two-thirds of Durant’s votes up there would go Brooks in a two-way race.

“In other words, Durant made Brook’s plurality in his home district smaller.”

But Hilyer also pointed out, “that’s not the case statewide, though, where my sense is the Durant vote will go about 55-45 with Brooks. That’s nowhere near enough for Brooks to make up the difference, absent a major shift in turnout.”

Brooks is expected to hit hard at Britt for the Alabama Business Council’s support of a state gas tax increase while she was its president.

Inarguably, working to Britt’s advantage in the primary was her support from popular retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. Britt, 46, had been press secretary and chief of staff to Shelby, the Yellowhammer State’s longest-serving (36 years) senator.

Should Britt win, she would be the first chief of staff to a senator to go to the Senate since Democrat Gale McGee, top aide to Wyoming’s Sen. Joseph C. O’Mahoney, won the Cowboy State’s other seat in 1958.

Alabama has had two women senators — Democrats Dixie Bibb Graves (1937-’38) and Maryon Allen (1977-’78) — but both were appointed to fill vacancies for brief periods. If triumphant, Britt would be the first woman elected to the Senate from Alabama.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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GOP Primary Race for Alabama Senate Seat a High-dollar Contest

Alabama’s Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby has become a bitter high-dollar contest with the three strongest contenders jockeying for the nomination.

The leading candidates are U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks who won — and then lost — former President Donald Trump’s backing in the race; Katie Boyd Britt, the former leader of Business Council of Alabama and Shelby’s former chief of staff; and Mike Durant, an aerospace company owner best known as the helicopter pilot whose capture during a U.S. military mission in Somalia was chronicled in the “Black Hawk Down” book and subsequent movie.

Lillie Boddie, Karla M. Dupriest and Jake Schafer are also seeking the GOP nomination.

Observers say it’s hard to predict whether the nomination will be settled in Tuesday’s primary. The fractured field increases the chances that the race will go to a June 21 runoff, which is required unless one candidate captures more than 50% of Tuesday’s vote. David Mowery, an Alabama-based political consultant, said the race has an up-for-grabs feel.

“It’s anybody guess as to who’s in first and who’s in second in the runoff,” he said.

As for the barrage of negative campaign ads in the primary’s closing days, Mowery said: “The gloves have come off.”

The Alabama race is one of several bitterly contested GOP primaries for open Senate seats. Retirements also sparked heated races this season in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and in Ohio. Trump further scrambled the Alabama race this spring when he rescinded his endorsement of Brooks. Both Britt and Durant have courted Trump’s nod, but he has so far stayed out of the Alabama race.

“We look at this country and don’t recognize it right now. Unfortunately, under the Biden administration, every single thing in this nation is moving in the wrong direction,” Britt said during a speech to the Republican Women of East Alabama.

Before leading the Business Council, Britt served as chief of staff to Shelby, one the Senate’s most senior members and a traditional Republican known for his ability to bring home federal projects and funding to his home state.

But in speeches Britt, running under a slogan of Alabama First, has leaned away from her hefty Washington resume. She said it’s important voters get to know her and kind of senator she will be. Her experience, she said, gave her an opportunity to understand how the Senate works.

“I can hit the ground running on day one. And for me, Alabama First is not just a slogan. It’s a mission,” she said.

Brooks, a six-term congressman from north Alabama, is banking on his long history with Alabama voters to overcome his feud with Trump.

“If you’re a conservative Republican I would submit to you that I’m the only proven conservative in this race. With me there is no rolling the dice to determine how I’m going to go on major public policy issues,” Brooks said, urging people to look up his ratings from the National Rifle Association, Heritage Action and other groups.

Despite losing Trump’s backing, he continues to run as “MAGA Mo,” invoking Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan, and his campaign website continues to include old video footage of Trump praising the north Alabama congressman.

Trump initially endorsed Brooks last year, rewarding the conservative firebrand who whipped up a crowd of Trump supporters at the Jan. 6, 2021 “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the U.S. Capitol insurrection.

“Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” Brooks said. But Trump withdrew the endorsement in March after their relationship soured. Trump cited Brooks’ languishing performance and accused the conservative congressman of going “woke” for saying it was time to move on from the 2020 presidential outcome and focus on upcoming elections. Brooks said Trump was trying to get him to illegally rescind the election.

Trump has not made a new endorsement in the race. Both Durant and Britt have maintained they are the superior choice for Trump’s backing if the race goes to a runoff.

At a speech in Phenix City, a town in the shadow of the U.S. Army’s Fort Benning, Durant pitched himself as the outsider in the race. He began a speech by describing his combat service — which included not just Somalia but Desert Storm and missions in Panama — and then working in the defense industry and founding an aerospace company.

“I’m not a politician,” Durant said. “That is what people are tired of. That’s why people want outsiders. That is why people want straight shooters.”

Durant said his military experience separates him from those in Washington who “don’t know what they’re talking about” when discussing deploying troops.

“This is serious business. We don’t deploy troops, we don’t get in skirmishes, we don’t try to do nation building unless we truly understand the commitment that we’re about to make — not only financially, but the lives of young men and women, our national credibility, all those things that are on the line.”

Durant, a helicopter pilot who was held prisoner after being shot down, is seeking the endorsement of Trump, who once disputed that Sen. John McCain was a war hero because he was held as a POW. “I like people that weren’t captured,” Trump said in 2015. Asked about that, Durant said he thought the divisions between the two were “based on politics, not based on service.”

Both Britt and Brooks have criticized Durant for “dodging debates” after his campaign declined three separate dates offered by the Alabama Republican Party. Durant said he is willing to debate but could not make it fit his schedule.

Outside groups have pumped more than $20 million into the race to either support or oppose one of the frontrunners.

The Super PACs have been responsible for many of the attack ads in the race. Alabama Patriots PAC spent $4 million to support Durant after receiving money from America’s Project, a Virginia-based PAC associated with Jacob Harriman, a Marine Corps veteran who operates the organization “More Perfect Union.” Alabama’s Future, a PAC opposing Brooks, has received $2 million from a Mitch McConnell-aligned PAC.

The Rev. Will Boyd, former Brighton Mayor Brandaun Dean and retired Army veteran Lanny Kackson are vying for the Democratic nomination. However, Democrats have struggled in recent years in statewide races in Alabama. Former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones harnessed a well-funded campaign and a scandal surrounding GOP nominee Roy Moore to win a special election in 2017. But Jones, who was the first Alabama Democrat elected to the Senate in more than two decades, lost the following election.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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This Alabama Farmers Market is Helping Small Family Farms Put Down Roots in the Community

A farmers market in Birmingham, Alabama, provides community, nourishment, and solace

Early on a Saturday fall morning in the Southside neighborhood of Birmingham, Alabama, within the parking lot of an old Dr. Pepper bottling plant, farmers began to set up their stands. They would soon be selling fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and a plethora of locally grown harvest. If you had walked among the farm stands, you would have almost smelled the fresh earth nourishing the crops, seen the colors emanating from nature’s bounty, and heard the tractors tilling the rich meadows.

Growing up in a rural area near Birmingham, Cathy Crenshaw developed an early love for this land and the wilderness all around her. She played in tiny creeks and caught minnows and got muddy feet—which influenced her to embrace concepts like sustainability, conservation, and connectedness. Later in life, she searched for locally grown food and embraced small family farms. She adored working in the urban city and worked to promote the downtown area. But when suburban sprawl, which started in the 1960s, led to the decline of the city center and replaced family farms with huge supermarkets, she decided to take action.

(Karim Shamsi-Basha for American Essence)

“I couldn’t just sit there allowing huge corporations to kill those family farms. I had to do something, so in 2000, I started Pepper Place Farmers Market, named after the Dr. Pepper bottling plant nearby. We had seven stands and a few chefs who supported the market early on,” Crenshaw said. “That was the key to us growing.”

Local chefs like Frank Stitt and Franklin Biggs were early supporters of the farmers market, and many others followed. The chefs needed the basics, from cucumbers and tomatoes to corn and peaches. They also wanted asparagus, different varieties of mushrooms, several types and colors of beets, and even sunflowers. The Pepper Place Farmers Market grew in size and offerings.

Thirty years later, Crenshaw is humbled and proud when she walks through the market, greeting friends and the farmers she has known for decades. She adores the fresh aroma of the vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers, and she cherishes the place where everyone can commune with one another about life’s basics.

Epoch Times Photo
(Karim Shamsi-Basha for American Essence)

“It brings tears to my eyes when I see four generations from the same family of farmers that had started the market. Now, their children and grandchildren are running the stands. We grew from seven stands to over a hundred. On a recent Saturday, we had nearly 10,000 visitors. It’s truly very humbling,” Crenshaw said.

Crenshaw’s sister, Leigh Sloss-Cora, is executive director of the Pepper Place Farmers Market. She lived and worked in New England for 20 years, then decided to come home to Birmingham. Sloss-Cora oversees the market operations and fundraising.

“Leading the market has been so rewarding, and getting to know the farmers who work so hard is truly inspiring,” Sloss-Cora said. “We should celebrate our farmers, artisans, and food producers. They are true heroes who make this market a wonderful place.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Karim Shamsi-Basha for American Essence)
Epoch Times Photo
(Karim Shamsi-Basha for American Essence)

Sloss-Cora is proud of what the farmers produce and the way everyone works together to make Pepper Place Farmers Market one of the coolest events happening in Birmingham on Saturday mornings.

“The market keeps me connected to investing my energy in my community. It’s a real privilege. For us to have a truly livable city, we must have a thriving and diverse farmers market. It’s the perfect place for people to share and connect,” Sloss-Cora said.

Their goal of protecting the small family farm has endured, and the sisters have seen the market become more important for residents. Crenshaw added, “My heart smiles when I realize this market is the sole provider of fruit and vegetables for so many families. But you know what? I believe the market offers much more than that. It offers connectedness.”

According to Crenshaw, the connection between the people and the land is most important. This connectedness contributes to building community. “Everyone wants community where they live, where they shop, and where they play. People want to feed their souls—and community does exactly that. It feeds your soul,” Crenshaw said. “There is something even bigger than that. I truly believe this market and others like it help with land conservation.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Karim Shamsi-Basha for American Essence)

For Crenshaw, protecting small family farms contributes to keeping the land green, which ultimately helps with land conservation. As family farms mature and thrive, so do other organic principles like growing a harvest free of pesticides and chemicals that harm the land. “We don’t treat this lovely earth the way we should, and family farms are one of many things that should help. If we take care of the earth, we can endure as humans.” Then, with a slight grin, she added, “I absolutely love Birmingham—my city—and I feel that I need to help it endure.”

Cathy went on to explain that Birmingham, in addition to its rich history and culture, has become a food and travel destination. She senses much hope in the future, but it all starts with small steps like supporting these family farms.

A few hours later, after the farmers had taken down their stands, emptied of the harvest they brought, the Dr. Pepper bottling plant parking lot was back to being empty. But the smell of the fresh earth, the colors of nature’s harvest, and those sounds of tractors tilling the earth still resonated within home kitchens all over the city.

This article was originally published in American Essence magazine. 

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