by Xander Norris
The South is a big, complicated place. The irregular happens regularly, and many of the nation’s most important debates and happenings seem to either start or end somewhere within our borders. That’s why every Saturday morning, the Overby Center is committed to bringing you a rundown of this week’s most prominent southern news stories, all in one easily-digestible place. So grab a cup of coffee, settle into your most comfortable chair, and prepare to get caught up on what’s currently happening… Around the South.
- Gov. Ron DeSantis and Charlie Crist, his Democratic challenger, debated for the only time in the Florida governor’s race on Monday, a rowdy exchange featuring a raucous crowd and a slew of culture war issues that have dominated the state’s political discourse. Crist, a former congressman and governor with plenty of debate experience, gave a polished performance as he went on the attack. But no single moment from Crist seemed like it would upend the dynamics of the contest. Public polls show DeSantis, a Republican, comfortably ahead in the race, a rarity for Florida, which until recently had some of the tightest contests in the nation.
- A second woman has come forward to say Herschel Walker urged her to abort their child, claiming that the football star turned GOP Senate candidate personally drove her to a clinic in the 1990s to have an abortion against her wishes. However, Walker, a professed devout Christian, has repeatedly compared abortion to murder, and has emphasized that he does not support any exceptions, at one point dismissing them as “excuses.”
- Democrats are increasingly concerned that Florida, once the nation’s premier swing state, may slip away this fall and beyond as emboldened Republicans capitalize on divisive cultural issues and population shifts in crucial contests for governor and the U.S. Senate.
- For weeks, Georgia’s Democratic and Republican parties had urged voters to cast their ballots as soon as possible instead of waiting until Election Day. Voters apparently listened. More than 1 million Georgians have voted early, a dramatic increase from the last midtermelection in 2018 and nearly on pace with the 2020 presidential election,according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office.
- From college classrooms to media studios and the halls of Congress, politicians, professors and pundits are once again warning about misinformation, raising concerns that manipulated and misleading content — particularly in Spanish-language media — could have an impact in the midterm elections. Often, these concerns are pointed at conservative-leaning media, which dominate radio and social media platforms in Miami and have at times on different programs promoted problematic narratives, such as Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. In the era of “fake news” and media skepticism, Miami Republican voters — whose views of media veracity are sometimes left unexpressed in a conversation dominated by left-leaning sources — are weighing in on disinformation, its sources and its impact ahead of the election.
- Criminal justice groups in Mississippi say pardoning people for simple marijuana possession could help remove barriers when applying for jobs or securing housing. Following President Joe Biden’s announcement to pardon all federal offenses of simple marijuana possession, the Mississippi Center for Justice is figuring out how that action could be applied locally, who it could affect and what kind of impact that action could have, said Charity Bruce, deputy director of consumer protection and public benefits. A pardon is a way to legally forgive someone of a crime and restore civil rights lost during conviction such as voting. However, a pardon doesn’t remove the offense from a person’s criminal record. That would need to be done through expungement.
- Joe Biddle, a former Nashville Banner and Tennessean sports columnist whose second act made him a beloved sports talk radio personality, died Wednesday at Alive Hospice. He was 78 and had suffered from dementia. Biddle was a four-time Tennessee Sports Writer of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sports Writers Association. He was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2013, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Alumni Hall of Fame by ETSU’s Communication Department in 2005.
- The Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s fourth annual Women in Classical Music Symposium will focus on the challenges facing women moving toward leadership roles in classical music. In the U.S., the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Nathalie Stutzmann is the only female music director at a major orchestra. Both the Dallas and Fort Worth symphony orchestras have never been led by female music directors, though the DSO has hired several female assistant conductors over the past few decades, and appointed Gemma New as principal guest conductor in 2018. The FWSO has also brought in more female guest conductors in recent seasons. Classical music groups across the country have also been programming more female composers, but they are still underrepresented.
- Jerry Lee Lewis is a rock ‘n’ roll legend and at the same time one of the most controversial figures in the history of music. However, he is not dead. The 87-year-old musician nicknamed the Killer was reported to have died Wednesday. TMZ was one of the first outlets to report that Lewis had died, however within a few hours the original story had been scrubbed from the site and in its place was a retraction.
- Tennessee fans will be getting both a night game and black jerseys for their contest with Kentucky on Saturday. The alternate jersey, also known as “Dark Mode”, is an all-black jersey with orange numbers, black pants with orange stripes, and black helmet with orange accents and Power T. The Volunteers announced the new uniforms on Twitter on Tuesday.