Politics Chess Bedsole headlines packed Cullman GOP meeting; candidate list | CullmanSense


Chess Bedsole headlines packed Cullman GOP meeting; candidate list

Candidate for Alabama attorney general, Chess Bedsole, headlined the latest meeting of the Cullman County Republican Party. / Nick Griffin

CULLMAN - The Cullman County Republican Party held its monthly breakfast meeting this past weekend, welcoming one of its biggest crowds in recent memory.

Nearly all of the local GOP members who are running for elected office in 2018 were in attendance, ranging from county school board members to judges, and each got a few moments to speak. Those running unopposed kept their statements brief, while candidates gearing up for contested races spoke a bit longer.

After the local officials got their chance to speak to the packed room, featured speaker Chess Bedsole, who is a candidate for Alabama attorney general, took the podium. Bedsole is a lawyer and former criminal court judge in north Alabama. He has been working with President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions for the past couple of years, providing counsel for the Department of Justice, and is perhaps best known for his work on George W. Bush’s campaign during the Florida recount in 2004.

Bedsole began his speech by talking about the path that has led him to this race and his interactions with candidate Trump back before the 2016 election. Bedsole was asked by then Sen. Jeff Sessions if he would be interested in running a statewide campaign, and after saying yes, Bedsole said he received a phone call that changed his political career forever and was his first interaction with Trump.

“Two weeks later totally out of context I’m down in Florida on a family vacation in a short-sleeved shirt having fun with my kids and my wife and my phone rings. It’s a 23-year-old girl on a cell phone and she says, ‘Hey this is the Donald Trump for President Campaign.’ Thinking it was a joke I kind of joked back with her and two hours later I found out it wasn’t a joke and two days later I meet Mr. Trump,” Bedsole said.

“I go up to New York and he comes down off the elevator and he’s wearing jeans and a long-sleeve polo shirt, just a regular cotton shirt. He was the nicest man in the world and the easiest guy to talk to and he has a huge curiosity. He could ask you anything at all and its just 20 questions all the time from him and it might be about your hair or how your business did five years ago compared to now, it could literally be anything and it’s all the time questions and he’s a really interesting guy.”

Bedsole continued, “After 45 minutes of chit-chat he looked at me and he said, ‘Listen, everybody get serious, everybody get serious I want to say something serious right now. If you all are going to work on this campaign, I want you to know one thing right now. There’s going to come that night at 2:30 in the morning when you check into a city where you don’t even know where you are because you’ve been travelling so much and working so hard and sleeping so little and you’re going to look in the mirror and you’re not even going to recognize the person looking back at you because you will be so tired that you won’t even look like yourself. When that moment comes, and you know that you look that bad, I want you to know one thing, I outworked you that day. I outworked Hilary Clinton and all her people and everybody on my campaign and everybody on her campaign, I outworked all of you. I will never spend a single day where somebody outworks me and here’s why. We’re not in it to get a nomination, we’re not in it to make some papers or get our name ID out here or all this stuff people tell you they’re so proud of after they lose. We’re in it to change this country, grab hold of it and put it back on the track it needs to go on.’”

Bedsole talked about how he feels about the current conditions in Montgomery and some changes that he believes are necessary for Alabama.

“There are two people running for attorney general, one of them took the temporary appointment to be AG from (former) Governor (Robert) Bentley and the other one took the permanent appointment from Governor Bentley to be AG, therefore, neither one of them is qualified to lead the investigation into everything that’s happened in Montgomery in the last three years or four or five, I don’t how long, a long time,” Bedsole said. “Now I found that to be shocking and disturbing, and the reason why is this state cannot turn the page when we don’t have somebody in this job who can actually do it. And as a lifelong Republican who has always been involved in everything I possibly can, I find that unacceptable. So, I went home and talked to my wife about it, we prayed about it, slept on it for probably a week or two and then we decided to get in. What I’m offering you is this, I don’t want you to support me because it’s me, I want you to support what it is I’m doing and what it is I want to do.”

The Cullman County Republicans will have their next meeting on March 3.

2018 Election dates

June 5  Statewide Primary Election
July 17 Statewide Primary Runoff Election
Nov. 6  Statewide General Election

Below is a list of the offices up for re-election and the candidates who qualified for each. The Tribune will be interviewing each local candidate leading up to the primary election on June 5.


  • Kay Ivey - R (incumbent)
  • Tommy Battle - R
  • Bill Hightower - R
  • Michael McAllister - R
  • Slade Blackwell - R
  • Scott Dawson - R
  • Walt Maddox - D
  • Sue Bell Cobb - D
  • James Fields - D
  • Christopher Countryman - D
  • Doug Smith - D
  • Anthony White - D

Lt. Governor

Vacated by Kay Ivey upon appointment to post of governor

  • Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh - R
  • Rusty Glover - R
  • Will Ainsworth - R
  • Will Boyd - D

Secretary of State

  • John Merrill - R (incumbent)
  • Michael Johnson - R
  • Lula Albert - D
  • Heather Milam - D

State Attorney General

  • Steve Marshall- R (incumbent)
  • Chess Bedsole - R
  • Troy King - R
  • Alice Martin - R
  • Joseph Siegelman - D
  • Chris Christie - D

U.S. House District 4

  • Robert Aderholt - R (incumbent)
  • Anthony Blackmon - R
  • Lee Auman- D
  • Rick Neighbors- D

Alabama House District 9:

  • Scott Stadthagen- R
  • James R. Bowling- R
  • Justin Morrow- R
  • Terrie Jones Savage- D

Alabama House District 11:

  • Randall Shedd (incumbent)

Alabama House District 12:

  • Corey Harbison- R (incumbent)
  • Alex Chaney- R

Alabama Senate District 4:

  • Paul Bussman- R (incumbent)
  • Garlan Gudger- R

Cullman County Probate Judge:

  • Tammy Brown- R (incumbent)
  • Carol Berry- R

Cullman County Sheriff:

  • Matt Gentry- R (incumbent)

Cullman County Coroner:

  • Jeremy Kilpatrick- R (incumbent)
  • Gary Murphree- D

Associate Cullman County Commissioner, West Side:

  • Garry Marchman- R (incumbent)
  • Andy Coffee- R

Associate Cullman County Commissioner, East Side:

  • Kerry Watson- R (incumbent)

32nd Judicial Circuit (Cullman County) Circuit Judge, Place 1:

  • Greg Nicholas- R (incumbent)

32nd Judicial Circuit (Cullman County) Circuit Judge, Place 2:

  • Martha Williams- R (incumbent)
  • Melvin Hasting- R

District Judge, Place 2:

  • Wells "Rusty" Turner- R (incumbent)

Circuit Clerk:

  • Lisa Parker McSwain- R (incumbent)

Cullman County School Board, Fairview District:

  • Bill Ballew- R
  • Shane Rusk- R
  • Michael Knop- R

Cullman County School Board, Hanceville District:

  • Kenny Brockman- R (incumbent)

Cullman County School Board, Good Hope District:

  • Jason Speegle- R (incumbent)
  • Kerry Neighbors- R

Cullman County School Board, Vinemont District:

  • Mike Graves- R (incumbent)


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