Text of Attorney General's News Conference

This is a news release.


Regarding James' Election Complaint

The primary election contest Tim James filed with the Alabama Republican Party is a temper tantrum thrown on paper and nothing more.  His motivations are obvious.  His basis is premature.  And his filing is frivolous.  Mr. James may not know any better, but his lawyers should.  I wish I could say that I am surprised, but I am not.  Last week, Tim James and his lawyers pressured me for opinions.  When I refused to give the opinions that they wanted, it became clear – they did not want an opinion.  They wanted a result.  They wanted to be declared the winner of an election Tim James does not appear to have won.  He continues to call me names, to miss the point, and to misstate the facts.  The facts are:

✓ Tim James appears to have finished in third place – not because of me – but because two other candidates got more votes than him.

✓ The State Republican Party – not me – declared and certified Senator Bradley Byrne and Dr. Robert Bentley as the runoff candidates.

✓ The Secretary of State – not me – accepted and certified the Republican Party's certification of Senator Byrne and Dr. Bentley as the runoff candidates.  Contrary to statements by the James campaign, both Secretary Chapman and I said a recount was allowable and cleared it to go forward.

✓ Phil Rawls of the Associated Press quoted Mr. James as saying that I had "put a kink in the process."  The "kink" he so eloquently refers to has a name.  It is better known as the law.  Furthermore, even when it is badly written – as this one is – and even when we don't like the law, until it is changed it is still the law, and it applies equally to four million, six hundred thousand Alabamians – including Tim James.

Mike Hubbard and the State Republican Party know what the law is on this issue.  Whether they choose to follow it is up to them.  My Office has given its official Opinion, the one requested by Secretary of State Beth Chapman, for her to use for her purposes.  An Attorney General's Opinion is simply legal advice.  It is not legally binding on the person asking for it so it is certainly not binding on the Republican Party.  For Mr. Hubbard, who says the opinion is "crazy" and "just ridiculous" and for Mr. James who called the opinion "absurd on its face," I remind both of you – you are free to ignore it.  The Birmingham News opined this morning that "King actually could be right.  In that case, it's not his opinion that is 'absurd' or 'ridiculous,' but a woefully inadequate state law on automatic recounts, which is causing far more problems than it is solving."  For once, I could not agree more.

The bottom line is this - Tim James is not presently in the run-off because he got fewer certified votes than the other two candidates. Tim James's willingness to do any self-serving thing to force his way into the run-off is jeopardizing the ability of military overseas voters to participate in the election process they are prepared to die to defend.  Who now should be ashamed?

The reasons Tim James gives for his actions may make sense to him …. but do they to you?