If there’s something Alabama voters can count on during campaign season, it’s the inevitable bombshell that has nothing to do with the actual business of governing.
Late last year, we watched as fallout from megaton nuclear sex scandal accusations turned GOP hopeful Roy Moore radioactive. Now, with the June 5 primaries right around the corner, a Democrat, gubernatorial candidate Sue Bell Cobb, has her own explosive PR firestorm to contain.
News broke late last week that Cobb’s campaign field manager for Jefferson County, Paul Littlejohn III, served 30 years in state prison for a rape conviction, and now faces charges of violating the state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
Cobb calls the arrest “politically motivated,” and defends Littlejohn’s character. Littlejohn promptly resigned from the campaign.
Bringing the campaign aide’s status to light may well have been a partisan strategy. The arrest, however, is standard law enforcement procedure.
The brouhaha adds an interesting wrinkle to the governor’s race, and it’s less about whether or not Littlejohn complied with SORNA requirements than Cobb’s failure to anticipate the explosive potential of not disclosing the employment of a convicted sex offender as a campaign aide - assuming she knew before Littlejohn’s status was reported.
What’s regrettable is that a political race, which should be focused on how each candidate hopes to improve the state of Alabama, is once again mired in salacious controversy.
Perhaps as political cover, Cobb has said that she knows of no campaign that performs background checks on its workers.
We imagine this is the last campaign season that will be the case.