No local opposition, but slew of statewide candidates
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
The March 3 Republican and Democratic primaries won’t include any contested races for local offices, but Escambia County voters will have the opportunity to join those around the state in deciding from among 40 candidates who will be seeking one of eight positions on next November’s General Election ballot.
District 5 Escambia County Board of Education representative Willie Grissett will apparently end his tenure on the local board with a 10th year as the panel’s presiding officer.
Grissett, who has chaired the local school board for the past nine years, did not qualify for re-election, due mainly to the absence of a local Democratic Party office to which he could pay his qualifying fee.
That leaves the seat open for Loumeek White, a Democrat and the only person to qualify for it. Barring the entry of a write-in or third-party candidate, White should be unopposed in the party primary and in next the General Election.
A long-time educator and 24-year school board veteran, Grissett was re-elected chairman during the BOE’s November 21 meeting.
“I addressed the board at the last meeting,” he said. “I sought re-election for board president, and the board approved it. The next person will not take his seat until next November. If nothing else transpires by then, I’ll be trying to wrap up all the projects and undertakings the board is presently working on.”
Grissett does not plan to gain a place on the March 3 ballot as an Independent or write-in candidate.
“I really don’t want to run as an Independent,” he said. “I’ve always been a Democrat, and I will always be a Democrat.”
Six other local officeholders qualified for re-election, each without opposition, for the March 3 Republican Primary. They are District Court Judge Eric Coale; Tax Collector Tim Pettis; Tax Assessor Thad Moore Jr.; District 2 County Commissioner Raymond Wiggins; District 4 County Commissioner Brandon Smith; and District 1 Board of Education member Kevin Hoomes.
There were no Democratic candidates who qualified to run for any of those offices.
The statewide portion of the March 3 ballot will be loaded.
Jones vs. GOP
Incumbent U.S. Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat, will seek another term, while eight different Republicans, including Alabama District 1 Congressman Bradley Byrne, will battle to challenge him.
Also seeking the GOP nomination for the senate seat are Tommy Tuberville, Jeff Sessions, Roy Moore, Arnold Mooney, John Merrill, Ruth Page Nelson and Stanley Adair.
Who’s gonna fill his shoes?
Byrnes’s senate candidacy will force him to cede his Congressional seat.
James Averhart, Kiani Gardner and Rich Collins are each seeking the Democratic nomination for the post, while five Republican hopefuls — Bill Hightower, Chris Pringle, Jerry Carl, John Castorani and Wes Lambert — will seek to earn their party’s spot on the General Election ballot.
Two seek to unseat Shaw
Incumbent Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Greg Shaw will seek another term. He will be challenged in the GOP primary by Bryan Taylor and Cam Ward.
10 want state BOE slot
Nine Democrats will seek their party’s nomination for the Alabama Board of Education District 5 seat. Qualifying for the primary ballot are Billie Jean Young, Joanne Shum, Pamila Laffitte, Patrice McClammy, Phillip Ensler, Robert White II, Ron Davis, Tonya Smith Chestnut and Woodie Pugh Jr. Lesa Keith is the only individual to qualify for the GOP primary.
Three people will seek Alabama Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh’s seat, including Robin Litaker, who will face Cavanaugh in the Republican Primary. Laura Casey and Robert Mardis III will face off in the Democratic Primary.
Two want Kellum’s post
Jill Ganus and Will Smith will challenge incumbent J. Elizabeth Kellum for her judgeship on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. All three candidates are Republicans.
Incumbent Mary Beckham Windham will defend her seat on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals against fellow GOP candidate Melvin Hasting, while Matt Friday and Phillip Bahakel, both Republicans, will compete for a seat on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.
For Alabama residents who wish to register to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary, February 14 is the last day to hand-deliver voter registration forms, and February 15 is the last day to postmark voter registration forms that are mailed.
February 17 is the last day for online voter registration, while February 27 is the deadline for absentee voter applications and March 2 is the last day for hand-delivering or mailing an absentee ballot.