By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Nine local offices will be up for grabs when candidate qualifying begins next week for local Republicans and Democrats who decide to run for office in their respective party’s March 5, 2024, Super Tuesday primary election.
Qualifying is set to start at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, October 16, for both parties. Chief Clerk Natalie Rodgers of the Escambia County Probate Office said each local candidate should file candidacy declarations with and pay qualifying fees to the chair of his or her county party.
Republicans should call Jackie Gay, chair of the Escambia County Republican Executive Committee, at 251-809-4322 or email her at email@example.com.
Lillian Dean is secretary of the Escambia County Democratic Party. She may be reached by phone at 251-513-3357 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The county’s GOP ballot will include two county commission posts and three seats on the county school board. The local electorate will decide whether the five incumbents (if each chooses to seek re-election) will retain his respective office by default (if unopposed), or by defeating a challenger or challengers. Voters could also decide to replace the incumbent with an opposing candidate.
The ballot will include county commission posts currently filled by District 2’s Raymond Wiggins, who also chairs the five-member panel, and District 4 rep Brandon Smith.
BOE President Danny Benjamin (District 2), District 3 rep Mike Edwards and District 7’s Coleman Wallace are all up for re-election, too. Rodgers said all three school board members will appear on the local primary ballots for both Republicans and Democrats.
Benjamin is the only local Democratic office holder who is up for re-election.
The county’s other incumbent Republicans nearing the end of their respective current terms are Circuit Clerk John R. Fountain, Judge of Probate Doug Agerton, Circuit Judge Jeff White and District Judge Eric Coale. Each ran without opposition in the last election cycle.
Statewide, the GOP ballot will include boxes for Supreme Court of Alabama Chief Justice Tom Parker, who has held that post since 2018, and several associate justices of the state’s highest court.
Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh’s current term as president of the Alabama Public Service Commission is also expiring, as are those of several seat-holders on the Alabama State Board of Education and the state’s courts of Criminal and Civil Appeals.
Alabama Republican Party (ARP) Chairman John Wahl praised the individuals who choose to seek office. He also said the upcoming election year will be a key one for those who support the main planks of the GOP’s political platform.
“This is going to be an important election year, with a lot at stake at the national and local levels,” the ARP chair said in a press release. “Running for office is a calling, one which requires sacrifice and dedication. I have such respect for anyone willing to put themselves out there in hopes of making a difference for the people of Alabama.”
Lillian Dean, who chairs the reorganized Escambia County Democratic Party, said in an October 6 email that only one Democrat had approached her to date about qualifying for local office in the upcoming primary, although she expects more to do so during the qualifying period.
Potential candidates for state office in each party can file a declaration of candidacy and pay qualifying fees either online or in person at the respective party’s state headquarters. The declaration also has to be filed with the Alabama Secretary of State’s office.
Republicans seeking state office can visit party headquarters at 3505 Lorna Road in Birmingham (35216) or visit www.algop.org.
Democratic state office-seekers can either visit their party’s headquarters at 501 Adams Avenue in Montgomery (36104) or search online for aldemocrats.org.
Qualifying will close for both parties at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 10, 116 days prior to the primary, as required by state law.
Atmore’s municipal election, originally set for 2024, was extended to 2025, as were elections in most Alabama cities, due to passage by the state legislature of a bill that stemmed mainly from complaints by voters who became confused when they had to cast ballots at different polling sites for city elections than they had when voting in state and national elections.
Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill, which adds a year to the terms of municipal office holders and sets municipal elections on different years than state or national votes, into law in July.