Run-off July 14; city qualifying starts July 21
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Qualifying for the 2020 Atmore city election begins in less than four weeks, and local voters will go to the polls in less than three weeks to help decide which Republican candidate will move on to face the Democratic incumbent in the November 3 General Election for one of Alabama’s two U.S. Senate seats.
Also, voters in both parties will select the candidates who will face off in November to fill the 1st District of Alabama seat in the U.S. House.
The July 14 GOP runoff will pit Jeff Sessions against Tommy Tuberville for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Doug Jones.
Tuberville, Auburn University’s former football coach, took 33.4 percent of the vote in the five-candidate March 3 primary, with former U.S. Senator and former Attorney General Sessions just behind at 31.6 percent.
Republicans and Democrats will choose on July 14 the person who will represent their respective parties in November for election to the 1st District of Alabama seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Bradley Byrne, who is currently serving his fourth term as 1st District representative, gave up a chance at a fifth term to seek the GOP Senate nomination, but finished third in the primary election for that seat.
Former State Senator Jerry Carl, who earned 38.7 percent of the votes in March’s primary, will face former State Senator Bill Hightower, who took 37.5 percent of the primary vote, in a bid for November’s Republican ballot listing for the Congressional seat.
Democrat voters will choose between collegiate biology professor Kiani Gardner and James Averhart, a businessman and retired U.S. Marine, as their party’s 1st District candidate in the November General Election. Gardner tallied 44.1 percent of the primary vote; Averhart was tabbed on 40.4 percent of Democrat ballots.
July 9 is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot for the runoffs, and all absentee ballots must be returned to Escambia County Circuit Clerk John Robert Fountain’s office by 11 a.m., July 14.
Absentee ballots that are mailed must be postmarked no later than July 13, and those returned in person must be delivered by the person who will cast the ballot.
The mayor’s office, as well as all five city council seats, are up for grabs in Atmore’s city election, which will be held Tuesday, August 25. Qualifying for all six seats, each of which require a $50 qualifying fee, will begin Tuesday, July 7, and run through 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 21.
Three individuals have announced their intent to seek the mayoral seat, including incumbent Jim Staff, who is serving his second term as the city’s chief executive officer. Staff will be opposed by Susan Smith, who is currently in her second term as District 4 City Councilwoman, and Ernie Digmon, a former counselor with the Escambia County Department of Human Resources.
District 5 incumbent Chris Harrison will seek a third term on the council, while local realtor Bub Gideons has announced that he will challenge Harrison for the seat.
Those who have announced plans to seek the District 4 vacancy created by Smith’s mayoral candidacy are Larry Houck, who is retired from business and the U.S. Army, and Shawn Lassiter, general manager for a regional transportation company.
Incumbent Webb Nall, District 1, has announced his intent to run for a seventh term on the council.
Atmore News has not received announcements from District 3 Councilman Chris Walker, serving his third term, or District 2 Councilman Jerome Webster, completing his first term.
Likewise, Atmore News has not received announcements of challengers to Nall, Walker or Webster.