Incumbent Alabama lawmakers prevailed in primary voting in Jefferson and Shelby counties Tuesday, with five Democratic lawmakers essentially winning re-election because they have no opposition in November.
Local Republican incumbents won their party’s primaries, but all face Democratic challengers in the Nov. 6 general election.
The area’s only open seat, House District 54, is the only local legislative contest headed for a runoff and the only one with an independent challenger in the general election. The post now is held by state Rep. Patricia Todd, who didn’t seek reelection.
Top Democratic candidates former Marine Col. Neil Rafferty and television producer Jacqueline Gray Miller will vie for the Democratic nomination in the July 17 runoff.
Rafferty, who is a program director with Birmingham AIDS Outreach, received 2,867 votes (48.81 percent). Miller came in second with 1,667 votes (28.38 percent) and Jerome Dees was a close third with 1,340 votes (22.81 percent), according to vote results from the Secretary of State’s Office.
The Democrat who wins the runoff for District 54, which includes downtown Birmingham and Center Point, will face independent candidate Joseph Casper Baker III, founder of the grassroots organization I Believe in Birmingham, in the general election.
Birmingham-area lawmakers whose victories in the Democratic primary are tantamount to election are state Reps. Roderick Scott, Louise Alexander, Rolanda Harris, Mary Moore and Juandalynn Givan. They are all Democratic incumbents who face no opposition in the general election.
Also expected to be campaigning into the general election are incumbent Republican lawmakers from House Districts 45, 48 and 73, who will face Democrats in the general election.
Republican E. Richard “Dickie” Drake of Leeds, a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant and a House member for District 45 since 2011, topped challenger Ted Crockett, former Shelby County commissioner, of Greystone. Drake earned 55.93 percent of the vote to Crockett’s 44.07 percent. House District 45 includes Mountain Brook, parts of Leeds and the Hoover area in Jefferson and Shelby counties.
Challenging Drake in the general election is Democratic nominee Jenn Gray, a chemical engineer and pharmaceutical chemist. Gray is one of 19 female candidates in Alabama’s 2018 election listed as part of Emerge America and Emerge Alabama’s efforts to train and encourage female Democrat candidates.
In District 48, incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Carns, a former Jefferson County commissioner, got 4,552 votes for 76.56 percent to win over challenger William Wentowski of Cahaba Heights, who received 1,394 votes for 23.44 percent.
Carns, of Mountain Brook, has served a total of 23 years in the Alabama House and will face Democratic challenger Alli Summerford in the general election. Summerford, a real estate broker and web design company founder who also lives in Mountain Brook, is the first Democrat to run in District 48 in more than a decade. District 48 includes parts of Hoover, Vestavia and Mountain Brook.
In House District 73, Republican incumbent Matt Fridy won the primary by 85.30 percent, garnering 4,896 votes (85.30 percent) to top challenger Stephen Bryant’s 844 votes (14.70 percent). Fridy, an attorney from Montevallo who has served as state representative since 2014, will face Democrat Jack Jacobs in the general election. Jacobs is an attorney who lives in Pelham. District 73 includes Pelham, Alabaster and southwest to Shelby County.
Among Democratic House members who won their primary without a runoff and have no opposition in November, District 55’s Scott garnered 61 percent of the vote, besting Quang Do, (16.33 percent) and Antwon Womack, (22.64 percent). The district includes parts of Fairfield northwest to Adamsville.
Alexander, of District 56, defeated challenger Chester Porter 56.21 percent to 43.79 percent. District 56 includes Bessemer and Lipsomb.
Hollis, who has represented District 58 since 2017, defeated challenger Rodney Huntley. Hollis received 76.86 percent of the vote to Huntley’s 23.13 percent. District 58 includes east Jefferson County.
Moore, the District 59 incumbent first elected to represent northeast Birmingham in 2002, defeated challenger Chris Davis. Moore tallied 60.65 percent of the vote to Davis’ 39.35 percent.
District 60’s Givan, an attorney who has served in the House since 2010, defeated challenger Le’Darius Hillard with 75.89 percent of the vote to his 24.11 percent. District 60 includes Pratt City and Forestdale.