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Alabama GOP censures candidate over 'egregious' comments

The Alabama Republican Party warned voters away from one of its candidates for a utility-regulating agency Wednesday in a statement that cited his "egregious" comments on social media and radio.

Posted: May 30, 2018 3:51 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Republican Party warned voters away from one of its candidates for a utility-regulating agency Wednesday in a statement that cited his "egregious" comments on social media and radio.

State GOP chair Terry Lathan said the party's candidate committee had voted unanimously to censure Public Service Commission candidate Jim Bonner, who has twice served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention and bills himself as an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump.

Bonner, 65, is a former community college teacher from Phil Campbell whose Facebook page includes posts that could be offensive to women, blacks and Muslims.

Lathan said Bonner's comments "are not condoned by the Alabama Republican Party," and the party is asking people not to vote for him.

"Mr. Bonner is welcome to his opinions and his first amendment right of free speech. The Alabama Republican Party is welcome to our opinion as well, and we reject the egregious comments Mr. Bonner continues to spew," said the statement by Lathan.

Bonner, who is trying to unseat Public Service Commission member Jeremy Oden in Tuesday's primary, said he is drawing opposition within his own party for suggesting that the commission increase regulation on the politically powerful Alabama Power Co.

"I'm a good old boy. I'm Mayberry RFD. I'm Andy Griffith. Well, maybe Andy Griffith with a foul mouth," Bonner said in a telephone interview.

Bonner, who previously ran for the state school board, denied making any comments that are purposefully hurtful; critics are judging him on snippets of comments or social media posts taken out of context, he said.

In one recent post, Bonner shared a photo of an orangutan wearing leaves like a hat with the comment, "Getting ready for the royal wedding." Critics took the post as an offensive comment aimed at the mixed-race background of Meghan Markle, but Bonner denied any such intention.

"People jump up and say racist and sexist and misogynistic, or whatever that word is, and it's not," Bonner said in a telephone interview.

While Bonner said he has raised only $1,000 and campaigns mainly by free social media and radio appearances, the Montgomery-based political consulting firm Cyngal said a recent survey showed Bonner in a tight race with the incumbent Oden among decided voters, although nearly 70 percent of voters are undecided.

Brent Buchanan, president of Cyngal, said Bonner might be benefiting from his last name. Jo Bonner used to represent southwest Alabama in Congress, and his sister Judy Bonner is the retired president of the University of Alabama.

"It appears from the data that this PSC race is within the margin of error strictly because of name confusion," Buchanan said in a statement.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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