Biden, Trump easily win presidential primaries in Alabama
President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden easily won their party’s presidential primaries in Alabama in Super Tuesday voting.
Trump, who is very popular among Republicans in the deeply conservative state, had an insurmountable lead over the only other candidate on the GOP primary ballot, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.
Biden carried the state after a weekend appearance for an event commemorating the 55th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma.
Fourteen Democrats were on the state’s ballot, but the only candidates still in the race were Biden, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Black voters dominate the state’s Democratic electorate, and Biden and Bloomberg split the endorsements of the state’s largest black political coalitions. The Alabama New South Coalition backed Biden and the Alabama Democratic Conference supported Bloomberg.
Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will face football coach Tommy Tuberville in a GOP runoff as he tries to regain the U.S. Senate seat he held for 20 years in Alabama.
Tuberville led Sessions as the two advanced out of a seven-person field in the GOP primary Tuesday.
The 73-year-old Sessions is seeking the Senate seat he held for two decades before becoming President Donald Trump’s first attorney general.
Tuberville is 65 and a former coach at Auburn University. Both portrayed themselves as staunch Trump supporters. But Trump’s withering criticism of Sessions from his time as head of the Justice Department may have taken a toll.
The winner of the March 31 runoff will face Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in November.
The races for two open congressional seats in south Alabama are crowded, and an incumbent faces primary competition in the Tennessee Valley of north Alabama.
The Republican nomination will be decided by a runoff between entrepreneur Jerry Carl and business owner Bill Hightower in southwest Alabama’s District 1, where Rep. Bradley Byrne didn’t seek reelection. On the Democratic side, biology professor Kiani A. Gardner and James Averhart, a veteran and CEO of a nonprofit, will meet in a runoff. The winner of the March 31 runoffs will face off to represent a district that includes heavily populated Mobile.
Phyllis Harvey Hall has won the Democratic nomination for the District 2 U.S. House seat that represents southeast Alabama. The retired educator defeated Nathan Mathis, a former state legislator and peanut farmer, in balloting Tuesday. She will face the eventual Republican candidate in November. The seat is open because GOP Rep. Martha Roby didn’t seek reelection in the heavily Republican district. On the Republican side, moving company operator Jeff Coleman advanced to a runoff against either Jeff Moore or Jessica Taylor, who were locked in a tight race for second place.
In north Alabama’s District 5, Rep. Mo Brooks turned back a challenge in the Republican primary from retired Navy Cmdr. Chris Lewis. Victory will be tantamount to election because no Democrat is running.
Alabama voters defeated a proposal to abolish the elected, eight-member state school board and replace it with an appointed commission.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey was among the supporters of Amendment One, which would have ended the current system of electing school board members by district. Appointees would have been chosen by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate under the new system.
Although supporters cited lagging public schools and the need for more professionalism as evidence supporting the change, opponents contended voters should get to decide on board members and voters agreed. Most states have appointed school boards.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION PRESIDENT
Incumbent Republican Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh has won her party’s nomination to remain president of the utility-regulating Alabama Public Service Commission. Cavanaugh faced a primary challenge from former teacher and school principal Robin Litaker for the statewide position.
She will now be a favorite to defeat Democratic challenger Laura Casey in November because the three-member commission is composed of Republicans and only one Democrat holds statewide office in Alabama.
Casey was one of three audience members removed from a 2019 PSC meeting for live-streaming a hearing regarding fees charged on solar panels, and she sued the agency. Mardis is a party activist.
A incumbent member of the all-Republican Alabama Supreme Court faces an unusual primary challenge from a state lawmaker.
Associate Justice Greg Shaw is being opposed by state Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster.
Shaw served on both the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals before first being elected to the Supreme Court in 2008. Ward is best known in the Senate for his work on issues facing Alabama prisons, and he also has served as president of the Alabama Law Institute.
No Democrat is seeking the position.
COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS
A former judge and a state legislator are seeking the Republican nomination for a seat on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.
Phillip Bahakel is a former Jefferson County district judge who practices law in the Birmingham suburb of Pelham. He has tried to tie himself to President Donald Trump, wearing a Make America Great Again hat in a campaign video.
Bahakel is running against state Rep. Matt Fridy, a House member since 2014 who has served as vice chair of the Judiciary Committee and chair of the committee that oversees campaigns and elections.
There isn’t a Democrat running for the seat.
COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS
Two seats on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals are up for grabs in the GOP primary.
In Place 1, incumbent Judge Mary Windom defeated Melvin Hasting, a Cullman attorney.
Criminal Appeals Judge Beth Kellum will meet Will Smith in a runoff for the Republican nomination for the Place 2 seat. Kellum, who has served on the five-member court since 2009, led a three-person field but couldn’t get a majority. She and Smith, a former member of the Lauderdale County Commission, will meet in the runoff on March 31. Jill Ganus, who was appointed to a Jefferson County district court judgeship in 2017, came in third.
No Democrats are running for either seat.
STATE SCHOOL BOARD
Eight people were seeking the Democratic nomination for the District 5 seat on the Alabama State Board of Education now held by gubernatorial appointee Tommie Stewart.
Fred Bell and Tonya Smith Chestnut will meet a runoff for the Democratic nomination for the District 5 seat on the Alabama State Board of Education. Billie Jean Young, Ron Davis, Pamela J. Laffitte, Patrice “Penni” McClammy, Woodie E. Pugh Jr. and Joanne Shum also were in the race.
The eventual winner will face Republican Lesa Keith in the fall.
Stewart, a retired dean at Alabama State University, filled the seat left open by the death of longtime board member Ella Bell of Montgomery in November.