Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle’s (R) largest contributor last month was Moving Alabama Forward PAC, which has operated since 2013 with multiple ties to Battle and has never given to any other candidates, according to documents filed with the offices of the Madison County Probate Judge and the Secretary of State.
Bill Sullins, who has been chair of the PAC since June, said the group primarily promoted “economic development issues” in Huntsville, as well as Battle’s initiatives on roads and literacy. Sullins: “We’d like to change the face of Alabama, … and [Battle] certainly seems like the guy who can do that.”
There are other connections between the PAC and Battle. His son, Drew Battle, serves as the PAC’s treasurer. Battle’s campaign consultants, Red Brick Strategies, also did work for the PAC.
Battle told AL.com in 2013, when he was considering challenging then-first-term Gov. Robert Bentley (R), that the PAC at its formation was “not connected to a possible run for higher office.” Instead, he said, it would “focus on the future of Huntsville, and how Huntsville relates to the rest of the state.”
Battle communications director Nick Lough: “I don’t know anything about the PAC.”
State law dictates a PAC that supports “primarily” one candidate is actually a principal campaign committee, which is restricted to fundraising within a year before the primary. Secretary of State John Merrill’s (R) communications director, John Bennett, said Friday that “it appears” that the PAC’s “only intention” was to support Battle, but “we don’t have the ability to make that determination at this point. … At some point, we would expect them to contribute to another candidate in some capacity … if they were going to remain a PAC.” (Hotline reporting)
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