Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Several Alabama legislators lost to primary challengers

Montgomery, Ala. ( Associated Press) — At least six members of the Alabama Legislature lost Tuesday to primary challengers, and several races have yet to be decided, according to unofficial returns.

In the toughest race, Republican Senator Tom Whatley of Auburn is behind rival Jay Howie by four votes, according to unofficial returns. Counting of provisional votes will be held next week. Howie is a member of Auburn City Council.

In the House of Representatives, Representative Will Desmuix of Prattville lost to rival Jerry Stearns. His defeat came after a series of political and legal troubles. Dismukes faced calls for his resignation in 2020 after attending a ceremony commemorating the birthday of Nathan Bedford Forrest – the Confederate general who was also an early Ku Klux Klan leader. He was also accused of theft relating to a dispute with a former employer.

Other current defeats according to Unofficial Returns include:

– Republican Rep. Joe Faust of Fairhope, 20-year veteran of the House, defeated by Jennifer Fiedler

– Leeds Republican Representative Dickie Drake defeated by Susan Dubos

— Republican Rep. Bryant’s Tommy Hanes defeated Mike Kirkland

– Republican Representative Proncey Robertson of Mount Hope defeated Ernie Yarbrough

– Democratic Rep. Ralph Howard of Greensboro defeated by Curtis Travis.

Gadsden’s Republican Representative Gil Isbell is trailing challenger Mac Butler, who previously served in the Legislature. But the race has been caught in a mix-up where some voters got ballots with the wrong House district. Secretary of State John Merrill said he did not know how many voters were affected.

Fairfield’s Democratic Representative Rod Scott was forced into a runoff with a challenger.

In another notable contest, House Rules Speaker Mike Jones, one of the most influential members of the House of Representatives, lost to Coffee County Commissioner Josh Carnley in his bid to join the Alabama Senate. Unofficial returns showed that Cornley avoided the runoff with Jones by a margin of about 50 votes. Both are seeking the GOP nomination for the state Senate seat being vacated by retired Sen. Jimmy Holly.

Former longtime state Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma will go in a run for the Democratic nomination for District 23 with Robert L. Stewart. Sanders represented the district from 1982 to 2018. His daughter, Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier won the seat. 2018 but leaving the state senate to run for governor.

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