GOP secretary of state, Dem gubernatorial nominations set
Voters selected the Republican nominee for Alabama’s top election official in the runoff Tuesday, and the general election race for governor was set as Democratic voters picked their gubernatorial nominee. Three other statewide nominations plus a U.S. House seat also were on the ballot. Here is a look at the results:
SECRETARY OF STATE
State Rep. Wes Allen won the Republican nomination for secretary of state in a contest that featured both candidates promoting the need to tighten election security in harmony with former President Donald Trump’s false claims that he lost the 2020 presidential race because of fraud.
Allen defeated outgoing State Auditor Jim Zeigler and will face Democrat Pamela J. Laffitte, an Air Force veteran and corrections supervisor in Mobile County, in the general election to become Alabama’s top election official.
Zeigler received the most votes among four candidates in the primary election in May, but Allen overcame the deficit.
Allen, from Troy, previously served as probate judge in Pike County. Citing the potential for fraud, he opposed early voting and no-excuse absentee balloting and sponsored a law that barred “curbside” voting meant in part to make it easier for people with disabilities to cast a ballot.
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During the campaign, Zeigler dubbed himself a “watchman” against ballot fraud, so-called “ballot harvesting” and voting by mail. Trump has blamed all those and more for his loss to Democratic President Joe Biden, and many GOP voters believe him despite a lack of evidence.
The current secretary of state, Republican John Merrill, couldn’t run again because of term limits, and the GOP nominee will be a heavy favorite to win in November.
Yolanda Rochelle Flowers defeated state Sen. Malika Sanders Fortier in the Democratic race for governor to become the first Black person to win a major party’s gubernatorial nomination in Alabama.
Flowers, a career educator from Birmingham, narrowly led a six-person field in the May primary. In what will be the state’s first all-female gubernatorial race, she will be a decided underdog against Gov. Kay Ivey, who vanquished eight challengers to win the GOP primary without a runoff.
Almost four times as many people voted in the Republican primary as the Democratic primary in May, and Republicans hold every statewide office.
Flowers ran on a platform of “reconstructing” Alabama by rebuilding its economy and systems for education, health care and criminal justice, Among other things, she advocated for a state lottery and a state minimum wage of $15.
Fortier, a state lawmaker from Selma, campaigned on the theme of building the biblical “beloved community” promoted by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. by improving the state’s economy, schools and health care. She is the daughter of former state Sen. Hank Sanders and attorney Faya Rose Toure.
Andrew Sorrell claimed the GOP nomination for state auditor by defeating Stan Cooke, a win that was tantamount to election since there’s no Democratic contender.
Sorrell, a state representative from Colbert County who led balloting in the May primary, tried to make election security a prime issue, saying a strong auditor is needed to appoint county registrars who will keep voter rolls clean.
Cooke, a pastor from the Jefferson County town of Kimberly, claimed Alabama is at a crossroads where it could remain a conservative state or come under the control of liberal Democrats. Echoing Trump’s false claims of election theft, he highlighted the auditor’s role in appointing county election officials who can prevent Democrats from stealing elections.
The current auditor, Republican Jim Zeigler, was barred from seeking another term.
Madison County Commission chair Dale Strong won the only runoff among the state’s seven U.S. House seats, claiming the Republican nomination for an open position in north Alabama’s 5th District.
Strong defeated Casey Wardynski, a former Huntsville school superintendent. Strong handily led a six-candidate field with about 45% of the primary vote in May but couldn’t avoid a runoff.
Strong will face Democrat Kathy Warner-Stanton of Decatur in the mostly Republican Tennessee Valley district in November.
The seat was given up by U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, who lost a runoff race with former business lobby leader Katie Britt for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby.
ALABAMA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
Two Republican incumbents on the Alabama Public Service Commission dispatched challengers to keep their jobs on the three-member utility-regulating board.
Jeremy Oden, a former state legislator from Cullman seeking his third term, defeated attorney Brent Woodall, a PSC staffer and Republican activist, for the Place 1 nomination. Oden cast himself as a conservative bulwark against liberal environmental policies.
Chip Beeker, a former Greene County commissioner first elected to the PSC in 2014, defeated Robert L. McCollum to win the GOP nomination for Place 2. Beeker portrayed himself as an opponent of Democratic environmental policies, while McCollum, a small business owner from Tallapoosa County, argued the commission is too close to Alabama Power Co.
No Democrat qualified for either position, making a victory in the Republican runoff tantamount to election.