Archived Story

Finger pointing continues as Senate District 30 race nears Tuesday’s runoff

Published 6:05pm Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Monday’s Republican Senate District 30 debate between runoff candidates Clyde Chambliss Jr. and Harris Garner was simply “he said, he said.”

The debate, hosted by the Republican Club of Central Alabama, did touch on some hot button issues, but for the most part was much of the same where each candidate continued the mudslinging.

The hottest topic of the night came late in the program when both candidates were asked if they had taken money from special interests, specifically gaming interests and the Alabama Education Association.

Garner said he never took any AEA money.

“I made a huge investment into this campaign,” he said. “I have taken money from (the Poarch Band of Creek Indians) because I could not keep up with the special interests who have taken interest in my opponent’s campaign. The amount of the special interest money in my campaign is a low percentage compared to my opponent.”

While Chambliss denied the accusation from Garner that he had been to Atmore before Garner to seek financial help, Chambliss did confirm he had received more than $60,000 from the Business Council of Alabama.

“That’s 14 percent (of total contributions) from BCA, while 63 percent is from PCI. The difference is clear,” Chambliss said.

In the latest campaign contributions listed on the Secretary of State’s website, Chambliss has received $318,000 of the $475,000 raised from PACs.

Garner has been given more than $170,000 of his $418,000 from PACS. More than 90 percent of the PAC money Garner received did come from PCI.

The candidates addressed simple questions about limiting terms for legislators, their position on marriage as well as limited home rule.

It wasn’t much longer and the verbal jabs were thrown.

Garner was the first to say that Chambliss had raised taxes on Autauga County and Prattville citizens seven times while he had been a county commissioner and later as a city councilman.

Chambliss said that was a lie.

“I’m not lying, I’m only stating the facts as I have them,” Garner said.

Common Core continued to be a hot-button issue between the candidates. Garner said he would “be a leader on the issue” to repeal Common Core.

Chambliss also said he would support legislative efforts to repeal Common Core.

Runoff elections will be held July 15 to determine winners of those races nor decided during the June 3 primaries.

The lone local race is the Republican matchup between Chambliss and Garner for the Senate District 30 bid.

Three statewide nominations are still up for grabs on the Republican ticket – the Secretary of State’s race between Reese McKinney and John Merrill, the State Auditor’s race between Dale Peterson and Jim Zeigler and the Public Service Commission Place 2 contest between Chris “Chip” Beeker and Terry Dunn.

An amendment will also be on all runoff ballots (Democratic and Republican) that if approved will allow the state’s cotton farmers to decide if their current checkoff program should become automatic.

The amendment is supported by  the Alabama Cotton Commission, Cotton Incorporated and the Alabama Farmers Federation State Cotton Committee.

Additional information on the amendment and the state’s cotton checkoff program is available at ChooseCotton.com.

Peggy Blackburn contributed to this report.

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