MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG)-A campaign flyer mailed this week to houses in and around downtown Mobile asking voters to support City Council President Levon Manzie, who recently died, was paid for by TSA PAC, a political action committee backed by a veteran Republican campaign official out of Auburn.
Municipal races in Alabama are non-partisan, but Manzie was a supporter of democratic politicians during his years in office. The campaign for Manzie leading some voters to conclude a PAC is working to get a special election, to get a pro-annexation on the ballot.
Manzie’s opponent William Carroll a part of this concern. “Who is spending this much money and why? Whoever it is needs to come out of the shadows and tell the voters what it is they want.”
TSA PAC was formed on August 31 and is run by Tripp Skipper, a Mobile native who has a long-running political history…including running various GOP candidates over the years including Senator Tuberville’s campaign last year.
The financial record shows other money for the flyers came from South Alabamians for Good Government or SAGG…a PAC that supports various candidates for Mobile offices over the year. Including over 300 thousand dollars for Stimpson’s multiple campaigns. SAGG ran by Richard Weavil, also bringing in money to TSA PAC through Southern Impact Group.
State records showing TSA PAC received 25 thousand dollars from Southern Impact Group on Sept 20. A day after Manzie’s passing. Five days later SAGG contributed 37 thousand to Southern Impact Group. An additional five thousand was contributed to TSA from Southern Impact on the 23rd.
But before that on Sept 17th SAGG received 11 thousand dollars in contributions from some big names in Mobile including Joe Bullard Cadillac, David Mark and the mayor’s brother Fred Stimpson. And to note, PAC on PAC funding is illegal in Alabama.
Originally a supporter of Manzie, Pastor of Saint Peter Baptist Church says he feels his vote is being bought.
Cleveland Mcfarland, he said ” we feel like David standing before Golliath. These people have massive amounts of money which gives me the idea that they are trying to buy us. and they are buying it using the sympathy of our people and the sympathy of the voters.”
He’s concerned about the campaign past the outside funding…but cited annexation and the supermajority vote. Mcfarland continuing “I believe that our voters smart enough to know what’s happening and that outside forces a PAC are giving more money to a man who is deceased than they gave to a man who was alive.”
We reached out to Tripp Skipper and the Manzie campaign again as we since we discovered this funding on Wednesday…but we have yet to hear back. Mayor Stimpson also would not comment on the push to get Manzie elected.