AEA backing both of Moore’s opponents; Singleton doesn’t file finance reports

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 22, 2004

For now, it seems Demopolis City Councilman Thomas Moore may have more than two opponents in his bid to replace an outgoing State Senator.

Moore, State Rep. Bryant Melton, D-Tuscaloosa, and State Rep. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, all have qualified to run in an Oct. 26 special election called after Charles Steele resigned his District 24 seat in the Alabama State Senate.

Moore and Melton filed 45-day campaign finance reports with the Alabama Secretary of State’s office last week, and Melton reported one contribution of $10,000. Moore, on the other hand, reported 10 contributions totaling $5,670.

Singleton did not file a 45-day report, though he and Melton apparently have a common political ally.

Melton’s one contribution for $10,000 came from a political action committee called A-Vote. That PAC – Alabama Voice of Teachers for Education – represents the Alabama Education Association and is chaired by Dr. Paul Hubbert, considered one of the most powerful lobbyists in the state.

In A-Vote’s 45-day report, they listed the $10,000 contribution to Melton, which came on Sept. 8 – the last day a candidate could qualify for the Oct. 26 special election. However, A-Vote also reported a $10,000 contribution to Singleton. That disbursement came on Sept. 10, three days before the 45-day reports were due to the Secretary of State’s office.

In Alabama, there is no penalty for failure to file a report, and it is unclear if Singleton obtained the contribution before his report was due.

In 2002, when Singleton defeated former State Rep. Andrew Hayden, he also received $10,000 from A-Vote.

Though he has received $10,000 for his campaign, Melton has not spent much money on the race, yet. In fact, the only expenditure listed by Melton was a $600 qualifying fee with the Alabama Democratic Party.

Moore, on the other hand, has spent almost every penny he has raised. In his report, filed Sept. 10, Moore reported expenditures for signs, office set-up, food, gas and consultation.

Because Singleton did not file a report, it is unclear whether or not he has begun actively campaigning for the state senate seat.

While it may appear Moore is at a disadvantage because of the AEA contributions to his two competitors, the Demopolis city councilman doesn’t see it that way. In fact, he believes he’ll get a share of the AEA pie eventually.

“I’ve been told that I’m going to get something from them,” Moore said Tuesday night. “I just don’t know how much it is or when I’m going to get it.”

For that matter, Moore has found fund-raising to be one of the toughest parts of his campaign to represent a state senate district that includes portions of Marengo, Hale, Greene, Perry, Sumter, Bibb and Tuscaloosa counties.

“It really is a challenge,” Moore said. “In some ways, I think it’s because people are holding out until the end; they’re not showing their cards. I also think they’re waiting for the run-off.”

With three candidates seeking the seat Steele vacated on Aug. 10, some believe none of the three will receive a majority of the vote on Oct. 26. If that happens, Gov. Bob Riley has set Dec. 14 as the run-off date for the state senate election.

Though Moore said he plans to devote a good deal of attention to fund-raising over the next few weeks, he said his campaign strategy – with fewer dollars than his opponents – is to set up key workers in all of the counties represented by the District 24 seat.

“Once that happens, we’ll keep working at [fund-raising],” Moore said.