R18 Alabama Special Senate Election Coverage
NewsRadio 105-5 WERC is Alabama’s Station of Political Record
When President Donald Trump picked Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General, it became incumbent on Alabama’s (then) Governor Robert Bentley to select his replacement in the US Senate. Governor Bentley picked Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, who at the time was involved in investigating the Governor for actions that would ultimately lead to the Governor’s impeachment and then resignation from office. The next morning on April 11th, on Alabama’s Morning news, JT spoke live with Senator Luther Strange. JT asked point blank if there was any quid-pro-quo involved in his appointment by the Governor to the US Senate.
Despite Senator Strange’s denials, one week after Alabama’s Lt. Governor Kay Ivey took office she announced she too shared those same concerns. She called for a special election to be held December 12, with the primary on August 15th. This sent a field of Republican hopefuls included US Congressmen Mo Brooks, former Chief justice Roy Moore, and of course Senator Luther Strange scrambling to best one another. Little attention was paid to the Democratic side of the contest. In crimson red Alabama, it was assumed that whoever won the Republican primary would be the heir apparent to in the General election.
As the race unfolded, WERC in conjunction with the Middle Alabama Republican Club held a series candidate forums starting in May and running to July where our listeners had an opportunity to hear from each of the 8 declared candidates in person. These forms were aggregated in to 2 hour prime time specials which first aired on WERC on July 17.th
Only 3 weeks later as the race tightened and the primary approached, many of the candidates were once looking to best one another and take swipes at one another. A second forum was conducted on August 7th, this time with JT as moderator in Trussville. As you will hear in a short exchange between Senator Luther Strange and Randy Brinson things became heated.
On August 15th, NewsRadio 105-5 WERC assembled our entire news team to cover the results of the primary elections as poles closed. JT, Leah Brandon, Jim Faherty, and Angie Norvell brought the news that there would be a Run-off between Luther Strange and Roy Moore.
On September 21st Newsradio 105-5 WERC Broadcast live on the scene in Montgomery of the “Lincoln-Douglas Style” debate between Moore and Strange.
On September 25th Vice president Mike Pence made a trip to Alabama to stump for Luther strange. WERC’s own JT was picked to MC the event.
In spite of Vice president Mike Pence’s efforts, the Run-off election the next day on the 26th resulted on Judge Roy Moore winning the republican nomination. Once again NewsRadio 105-5 WERC provided complete coverage, analysis and a place for listeners to react. It seemed the Senate Seat was all but Roy Moore’s he had a double digit lead over his Democratic opponent Doug Jones, it would take something unheard of to keep him from winning the general election in December. However along came Leigh Corfman.
On the afternoon of November 9th, The news broke that Roy Moore was being accused by multiple women who claimed that in the late 70s while they were underage, Roy Moore made Sexual advances. By the next day, Roy Moore spoke exclusively on NewsRadio 105-5 WERC. At a candidate appearance on Saturday which also ran exclusively on WERC Roy Moore again denied the charges. Our microphones remained after the event to talk to the people who attended the event to see what his constituents were thinking. Roy Moore continued to dominate the political talk landscape of the nation and WERC remained an oracle for all voices.
Finally on Tuesday December JT had the Judge on his morning show one last time to give him a chance to plead his case. The Judge maintained his innocence. That night however, it proved to not be enough, and Roy Moore lost to Doug Jones. As always, NewsRadio 105-5 Provided four hours of special election coverage and analysis that night and the following day provided a place for listeners for cathartic release. In the weeks to follow, Judge Moore never would concede, however Doug Jones became the next US Senator from the state of Alabama.
Jeff (JT) Tyson, Jim Faherty, Leah Brandon, Angie Norvell, Wade Smith, and John Mountz
Contest: 2018 ABBYs Category R18
Station NewsRadio 105-5 WERC
Large Market: Birmingham
Submitter: John Mountz
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