I just received a media advisory for a William G. Barnes presser tomorrow morning at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Barnes' briefing is co-sponsored by the Justice Integrity Project and the Sarah McClendon Group and will begin at 9:30 am Friday in the Zenger Room of the National Press Club. From the release:
Alabama’s Democratic Senate nominee Bill Barnes will hold a press conference here Friday discussing his candidacy as “a new kind of Democrat” who can win in a Republican state by opposing sell-outs of the public interest.
Barnes, challenging 24-year incumbent Richard Shelby, will attack increased corporate influence over election finances. Shelby, 76, has said he amassed a $17 million war chest for this year’s campaign.
“The corporations are diluting the importance of the individual votes,” says Barnes, 61, a Vietnam Air Force vet and attorney who calls himself “The People’s Candidate.”
Barnes questions why national and state Democratic officials kowtow to Shelby, who became a Republican in the 1990s and who put a Senate “hold” in February on almost every nominee pending from the Obama administration. Barnes says state and national Democratic leaders should have challenged Shelby’s attempt, in effect, to overturn the 2008 election in support what Barnes calls the incumbent’s core constituency of major corporations and wealthy individuals.
Also, Barnes cited many hot-button Alabama-based corruption issues. “The primary issue,” Barnes wrote [AG Eric] Holder, “is fostering public confidence in the fairness and thoroughness of Justice Department's work under your watch.”
I have often questioned why so many state officials — of both parties — kowtow to Richard Shelby. My conclusion is that they simply can't help but bow down to his prowess as a pork bearer. After all, without federal pork, there'd be a heck of a lot less state and local pork for the underlings to pass out.
Shelby's rumored health problems were also mentioned in the release. I find this one hard to believe. Although I'm sure he would appreciate the sympathy vote, Shelby was on C-SPAN a couple of weeks ago and looked ok. Not great, but certainly not at death's door. And don't be fooled by those billboards of Shelby's smiling face all over the state; that photo is from his (much) younger years.