Category: 2018 Elections

The Biggest Donors Eclipse the Rest in Gubernatorial Campaigns

Hundreds of thousands of dollars from Alabama’s richest person and a group of Tuscaloosa-based political action committees are fueling the race for governor as the campaign enters its final three months.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Kay Ivey and Democratic challenger Walt Maddox, mayor of Tuscaloosa, have gotten most of their campaign money from PACs, businesses and other groups since the campaign began last year. Ivey reported $4.97 million in cash contributions and Maddox listed $1.38 million in reports filed late last week with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Ivey’s contributions consist of 39 percent from individuals, 31 percent from PACs and 30 percent from groups and businesses. Maddox reported 44 percent from individuals, 38 percent from PACs and 18 percent from groups and businesses.

The heaviest hitters so far are a group of six PACs chaired by Michael Echols of Tuscaloosa. Together, those six PACs have given $403,400, almost one-third of his collections, to Maddox.

Read more about the people behind the biggest contributions to the candidates.

Marshall Sweeps Up GOP Nomination for AG, Ainsworth for Lt. Gov.

Steve Marshall, who was appointed attorney general in 2017, easily held off former Attorney General Troy King on Tuesday to win the Republican nomination for the office.

In the GOP runoff for lieutenant governor, state Rep. Will Ainsworth of Guntersville defeated veteran party activist and officeholder Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, who has served as president of the Alabama Public Service Commission since 2012.

In other races, Circuit Court Judge Sarah Hicks Stewart of Mobile secured the Republican nomination for State Supreme Court, Place 1. Christy Olinger Edwards of Montgomery won the nomination to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals Place 1 seat. Chris McCool of Gordo took the GOP nomination for Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 2. And Rick Pate is the Republican nominee as commissioner of Agriculture and Industries. Read more.

Vote Count Begins as Polls Close Across the State

The Latest
• Sheila Tyson appears to have won the Democratic nomination to the Jefferson County Commission District 2 seat. With more than 99 percent of the vote counted, Tyson had 52.6 percent of the vote to Sandra Little Brown’s 47.4 percent, according to the county’s unofficial vote returns.
• Lashunda Scales appears to have won the Jefferson County Commission District 1 race. With more than 99 percent of the vote counted, Scales had 59 percent of the vote to incumbent George Bowman’s 41 percent.
• Attorney General Steve Marshall has won the Republican nomination to run to serve a full term in office, defeating former Attorney General Troy King, the Associated Press reported. Marshall had almost 64 percent of the vote with about half of the votes counted, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
• Neil Rafferty appears to have won the Democratic nomination to the House District 54 seat. According to Jefferson County unofficial results, with 84 percent of precincts reporting, Rafferty was carrying 69 percent of the vote to Jacqueline Gray Miller’s 31 percent.
• U.S. Rep. Martha Roby has won the Republican nomination to the House seat she now holds, defeating challenger Bobby Bright, the Associated Press reported. Roby had about 70 percent of the vote shortly after 9 p.m.
• The Associated Press has called the race for the Republican nomination for commissioner of agriculture and industries in favor of Rick Pate. According to the Secretary of State site, Pate had almost 57 percent of the vote to Gerald Dial’s 43 percent.
• In Shelby County, Patrick Kennedy appears to have won the Republican nomination for Circuit Court judge. With about 98 percent of the vote counted, he had 72 percent of the vote to Phillip Bahakel’s 28 percent.
• Will Ainsworth appears to have won the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, getting more than 51 percent of the vote to Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh’s 48.5 percent.

Polls Closed
Polls have closed across the state and votes are being counted after a day of light voting in the state’s party primary runoffs.

Secretary of State John Merrill said voter turnout today was “extraordinarily low,” according to the Associated Press. Jefferson County Board of Registrars Chairman Barry Stephenson said he expects the final voter turnout will be about 10 percent.

He said no serious problems occurred at the polls today. “It’s been a pretty uneventful day. Most all our calls were helping people explain the ballot to them or tell them which precinct to vote in,” said Stephenson.

Stephenson said there were a few people who had questions about the crossover voting rules and others about candidates on the ballot. “We had commission races in two districts on the Democrat side so some people got confused,” said Stephenson, “and on the Republican side there were some statewide races, and so when people didn’t see that on their ballot they were confused, too.”

The Republican Party had six statewide runoffs on the ballot, for attorney general, lieutenant governor, commissioner of agriculture and industries, an associate justiceship on the Supreme Court and judgeships on the state civil and criminal appeal courts. But in Jefferson County, there were no local Republican races on the ballot.

The Democratic Party had no statewide races in the runoff. But it did have several local runoffs on the ballot. Voters picked the party’s nominees for two District Court seats, circuit court clerk, sheriff, two county commissioners and a House race.

Read BirminghamWatch’s Voter Guide to today’s election, and check back during the evening for results in the races.

(Correction: This story has been revised to identify Alabama’s Secretary of State as John Merrill.)

It’s Back to the Polls Across Alabama. Voters to Decide Final Nominees for Each Party in Today’s Runoff.

Voting has been light in Jefferson County so far today as people go to the polls to decide several races left up in the air after the June primary.

Jefferson County Board of Registrars Chairman Barry Stephenson said turnout has been tracking at between 8 percent and 10 percent. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill also has predicted low turnout statewide, of 15 percent to 18 percent, compared to June’s 24 percent turnout.

So far, Stephenson said, there have been no problems reported at the polls. “It’s been normal stuff – just people confirming things like where they needed to go vote, but we’ve haven’t any calls about problems at the precincts,” he said.

Polls are open across the state until 7 p.m.

Stephenson also did not anticipate any major concerns related to crossover voting rules. A May 2017 law prevents voters from voting in the primary on one party’s ballot, but then crossing over to vote another party’s ballot in a primary runoff. During general elections, voters are free to vote for candidates from either party.

Who’s on the Ballot?

BirminghamWatch has prepared a Voter’s Guide to brief you on the elections before you go to the polls. You can find the races and candidates on the ballots, along with links to their profiles, on the Sample Ballot page.

Far fewer races are on the ballots today than were last month. But in some of the races, winning the runoff is tantamount to winning the seat because there is no opposition from the opposite party in November. On the state level, up for grabs are the Republican nominations for attorney general, lieutenant governor, commissioner of agriculture and industries, an associate justiceship on the Supreme Court and judgeships on the state civil and criminal appeal courts. There are no Democrats running for the Supreme Court Place 1 seat, either courts of appeal, or the agriculture and industries commissioner’s job. That means that whoever wins the Republican nomination in those races is almost assured of winning the office in November.

There are no Democrats in statewide races in the runoff.

In Jefferson County, there are only the statewide races still undecided on the Republican side. But there are several local Democratic races on the ballot, including two District Court seats. In one of those races, for the district 9 seat, there are no Republicans running in November. There also are runoffs in the races for the circuit court clerk and sheriff’s seat. Jefferson County Democratic voters also will be picking nominees for two County Commission seats, in District 1 and 2. Winning those nominations also is tantamount to winning the races, since there is not a Republican running in November. Some Jefferson County Democrats also will vote in the House District 54 race.

In this edition of the BirminghamWatch Voter Guide, you will find lists of candidates on the ballot and their profiles, which include basic information about each of the candidates such as the top contributors to their campaigns, the main issues they’re citing in their campaigns and links to their web or social media sites. The toolkit has information about the process of voting and what you’ll need at the polls.

It’s all in one package on BirminghamWatch. Read more.

AG Ads Flood the Airwaves in Last Week of Campaign

Flooding the airwaves with ads attacking each other, Troy King and Steve Marshall have spent more than $1 million this week as their campaigns to win the Republican nomination for attorney general draw to a close.

The two will meet in Tuesday’s GOP primary runoff. The winner will face Democrat Joseph Siegelman in the November general election.

Marshall, the incumbent, has raised $551,435 and spent $734,526 this week, according to daily reports he has filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. Overall, he has collected $3.22 million in contributions and spent $3.09 million since the election cycle began last year.

King, who is trying to reclaim the office he held from 2004 to 2011, reported raising $335,100 and spending $337,449 this week. Overall, he has raised $2.26 million and spent $217 million.

Marshall and King have aired ads on television stations across the state, sparring over who is a “real” Republican and supporter of President Donald Trump. Read more.

2018 Election Calendar

Election Dates Primary Runoff Election, July 17: July 12 – Last day for voter to make application for an absentee ballot. July 16 – Last day for voter to hand-deliver or postmark an absentee ballot, except for voters who are overseas. Their deadline is election day. General Election, Nov. 6: Oct. 22 – Voter registration

2018 Runoff Voter Guide: What Races Are up in the Air and Who Are Those People on the Ballot?

Campaigns leading up to next Tuesday’s runoff elections may have been quieter than the sexy, top-of-the-ballot races that were in the June elections, but that doesn’t make the outcome any less important.

Up for grabs in this round of voting are Republican nominations for lieutenant governor, attorney general, an associate justiceship on the Supreme Court and judgeships on the state civil and criminal appeal courts.

There are no Democrats running for the Supreme Court Place 1 seat, either courts of appeal, or the agriculture and industries commissioner’s job. That means that whoever wins the Republican nomination in those races is almost assured of winning the office in November.

In Jefferson County, there are only the statewide races still undecided on the Republican side. But there are several county and court races on the Democratic ballot, some in which the winner will have no competition in November.

In this edition of the BirminghamWatch Voter Guide, you will find lists of candidates on the ballot and their profiles, which include basic information about each of the candidates such as the top contributors to their campaigns, the main issues they’re citing in their campaigns and links to their web or social media sites. It also has sample ballots for Jefferson and Shelby counties, which also link to the profiles.

The toolkit has information about the process of voting, what you’ll need at the polls, what to do if you suspect trouble and what the new no crossover voting rule means for the July 17 runoffs.

It’s all in one package on BirminghamWatch. Read more.