Weird coincidences cover Alabama like pine straw
Editor’s note: I live in Georgia, but I’m from Alabama. I married a beautiful Alabama gal, and graduated from the University of Alabama in 2005. I have roots there and care about its future.
I may be having a case of deja vu.
Part of the reason I haven’t written in a few days is because I’ve been digging deeper into the oddly-timed resignation of Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala.
But today I saw something weird flash across my news feed.
“Secretary of State Beth Chapman to resign”
Yes, for the second time in approximately two months, a high ranking Republican official in Alabama will resign for another job before their term is through, creating two vacancies.
Coincidence or coordination?
Well, no one has dared link the two. But let’s look at the similarities, shall we?
Similarity No. 1
Jo Bonner: high ranking Republican
Beth Chapman: high ranking Republican
This was my first clue that it might be more than simple coincidence, but I would be equally suspicious if the two officials were Democrats. The only difference from my point of view is that one party happens to be in charge at the moment.
Similarity No. 2
Jo Bonner: Announced before a holiday weekend, Memorial Day.
Beth Chapman: Announced before a holiday weekend, Independence Day.
People announce things around holidays because they know people (even reporters) will be busy. It’s classic PR strategy meant to downplay a potentially controversial event.
Similarity No. 3
Jo Bonner: Going to take a job doing economic development and government relations for the University of Alabama.
Beth Chapman: Taking a job in government and public relations for an unknown company.
Similarity No. 4.
Jo Bonner: 18 months left in term at time of announcement.
Beth Chapman: 17 months left in term at time of announcement.
Similarity No. 5
Jo Bonner: Said he’s leaving early because, “While I had every intention of completing this term, sometimes opportunities come along that are so rare — and so special — that it forces you to alter even your best-made plans.”
Beth Chapman: “I’ve been given a once in a lifetime opportunity in the private sector.”
The good news: there IS opportunity in Alabama. The bad news: you have to resign from a high-profile elected office first.
Similarity No. 6
Jo Bonner: Resignation Aug. 15
Beth Chapman: Resignation Aug. 1
August. What is it about August?
There are differences. There will have to be a special election for Jo Bonner’s seat, but Gov. Robert Bentley can appoint an interim for Beth Chapman to serve as Secretary of State until the next election. Also, Beth Chapman hasn’t yet announced if she’s working for a company-institution where a relative holds a top job, though there’s obviously recent precedent.
But the other similarities are too striking to ignore. Something very strange is afoot in my home state of Alabama. People in high places are making abrupt exits while everyone is enjoying their summer vacation. It makes the need for aggressive reporting that much more urgent. August will be here before you know it.