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Candidates gearing up for May 24 primaries

News Staff Writer

Local Republican and Democratic candidates are scurrying from one end of their respective districts to the other — some from one end of the county or state to the other — in an attempt to convince voters that they are the best person for the office they are seeking.
Campaign signs have been displayed on roadsides and in the yards of area homes for months, and political advertisements have appeared on billboards and in local newspapers, on area television and radio stations, and on social media sites.
Escambia County Board of Registrars data shows the county has 23,024 “active” registered voters and 3,449 “inactive” voters who could file provisional ballots in countywide or statewide races.
In this area, two county school board seats and a seat on the county commission are up for grabs.
Incumbent Cindy Jackson, who is facing two challengers, is campaigning for a third term as the BOE’s District 4 representative. Jackson is opposed by former Rachel Patterson Elementary School Principal John Brantley and Racheal Fore Wagner, co-owner of a Flomaton business. The county board of registrars shows that the district has 3,922 active and 628 inactive voters.
District 6 incumbent Sherry Digmon is also being challenged. Digmon, who previously served six years on the board (2010-2016), was selected in September by the remaining BOE members to fill the vacancy left by the death of David Nolin.
The district’s 3,713 active voters (with up to 485 inactive voters) will decide whether Digmon, a newspaper publisher who is facing opposition from Escambia Academy coach Michael Bowens, will reclaim a permanent BOE seat.
Scottie Stewart, who was elected to the District 3 county commission seat in 2016, qualified for re-election and will face two challengers.
Larry White, who served 24 years on the commission, is looking to reclaim his seat, and Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Billy Blair is also seeking to unseat Stewart. District 3 has 4,942 active voters and 766 inactive ones.
If no candidate earns 50 percent, plus-one of the votes cast in either party’s primary race, a runoff election will be held June 21.
District 1 County Commissioner Steven Dickey, District Attorney Steve Billy and Circuit Judge Todd Stearns each qualified for re-election without opposition and will face no Democratic challenger in November’s General Election.
GOP voters across the county will help decide whether incumbent Alabama District 22 State Sen. Greg Albritton, who lives in Atmore, will serve a third term. Albritton faces opposition from Stephen Sexton, a farmer and former teacher. The district also includes parts of seven other counties.
District 66 State Rep. Alan Baker, a Republican who took office 2006, faces no primary opposition for his seat and no Democrat opposition in November. District 66 includes most of Escambia and Baldwin counties.
Local Republicans will also choose between incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey or one of eight challengers — Lindy Blanchard, Lew Burdette, Stacy Lee George, Tim James, Donald Trent Jones, Dean Odle, Dave Thomas and Dean Young — as the state’s next chief executive officer.
Also on the GOP ballot: Attorney General Steve Marshall, an Atmore native, faces a challenge from Harry Bartlett Still III; four candidates are running for the Alabama Secretary of State’s office (Wes Allen, Christian Horn, Ed Packard, Jim Zeigler), and three (Stan Cooke, Rusty Glover, Andrew Sorrell) are hoping to become the next State Auditor.
There is also a race for the state’s U.S. Senate seat held since 1987 by Richard Shelby, who served eight years in the U.S. House prior to that. Shelby announced he would not seek a seventh term, and six people are seeking the seat. The candidates are Lillie Boddie, Katie Britt, Mo Brooks, Karla M. Dupriest, Mike Durant and Jake Schafer.
On the Democratic side, the only local officeholder to qualify for re-election is District 5 County Commissioner Karean Reynolds, who is unopposed in the Democratic Primary and has no Republican opposition in November.
The Democratic race for governor is almost as crowded as the GOP side, with six candidates — Yolanda Rochelle Flowers, Malika Sanders Fortier, Patricia Slater Jamison, Arthur Kennedy, Chad “Chig” Martin and Doug “New Blue” Smith — vying to become the party’s gubernatorial candidate in November.
Both parties’ primary ballots will include a Constitutional Amendment that, if passed, will approve the issuance of $85 million in bonds for the purchase of land for new parks and for renovations, repairs and general maintenance on existing state parks and historical sites.
Polling places will remain open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24. Stores will not be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages during the polling hours.
Note: Sample ballots and a list of polling places are included in this edition.