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Stories about Alabama

Special election primaries to be held in Alabama state legislative districts

Special election primaries are being held on March 30 for District 14 of the Alabama State Senate and District 73 of the Alabama House of Representatives. Democratic primaries were canceled in both elections because a single candidate filed for each. Primary runoffs will take place on April 27 if no candidate earns more than 50% of the vote. General elections are being held on July 13. The winners of the special elections will serve until November 7, 2022.

  • In Senate District 14, Joseph Barlow, Donna Dorough Strong, and April Weaver are running in the Republican primary. Virginia Applebaum automatically advanced from the Democratic primary. The seat became vacant on December 7 after Cam Ward (R) was appointed to serve as director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles by Gov. Kay Ivey (R). Ward had represented the seat since 2010 and was unopposed in his re-election bid in 2020. He faced competition in 2018 and won re-election with 72.6% of the vote.
  • In House District 73, Joseph Daley, George Henry, Leigh Hulsey, Kenneth Paschal, and Kerri Pate are facing off for the Republican nomination. Sheridan Black automatically advanced from the Democratic primary. The special election became necessary after Matt Fridy (R) was elected to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in November 2020. Fridy had represented District 73 since 2015 and won re-election in 2018 with 69.1% of the vote.

Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 26-8 margin with one vacancy and the state House by a 76-27 margin with two vacancies.

As of March, 33 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Filing deadline to pass for special election in Alabama House district

Candidates interested in running in the special election for District 78 of the Alabama House of Representatives have until March 23 to file. A primary is scheduled for May 25, 2021, and the general election is on September 7. The filing deadline for independent and minor party candidates is May 25.

The special election was called after Kirk Hatcher (D) was elected to the Alabama State Senate in a special election on March 2, 2021. He was elected to House District 78 in 2018 with 83.4% of the vote.

Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 26-8 margin with one vacancy and the state House by a 76-27 margin with two vacancies.

As of March 2021, 29 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Mississippi lifts mask restrictions; Texas, Alabama announce dates for ending requirements

Thirty-nine states issued statewide mask requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, the governors of Alabama and Texas announced dates for lifting statewide mask requirements, and the governor of Mississippi lifted the state’s regional mask requirement. As a result, six of the original thirty-nine states with statewide mask requirements have now lifted or announced dates to lift them.

Mississippi had a statewide mask requirement from Aug. 5-Sept. 30, 2020, followed by a regional mask requirement that applied in 75 of 82 counties. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) lifted the regional mask requirement on March 3, though the state still requires masks in K-12 school buildings.

Reeves’ order also lifted gathering restrictions for individuals. Large indoor venues like arenas with ticketed seating are limited to 50% seating capacity. Previously, only 10 people could gather indoors and 50 could gather outdoors.

On March 2, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an order, effective March 10, ending the statewide mask mandate and allowing all businesses to open at 100% capacity. If COVID-19 hospitalizations get above 15% of hospital bed capacity in any of the state’s 22 hospital regions for seven consecutive days, then a county judge may impose some restrictions. Those restrictions cannot include capacity limits below 50%, however. The order also prohibits jurisdictions from penalizing people for not wearing face coverings. Texas’ mask order was first implemented July 3.

On March 4, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order, including the mask requirement, until 5:00 p.m. on April 9. Ivey said she will let the mask order expire on April 9. Ivey first issued the statewide mask requirement on July 16.

Thirty-five states currently have statewide mask orders, including all 23 states with Democratic governors and 12 out of the 27 states with Republican governors.



Voters in Alabama Senate district to decide special election on Mar. 2

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

A special election is being held on March 2 for District 26 of the Alabama State Senate. State Rep. Kirk Hatcher (D) and William Green (R) are facing off in the special election.

Hatcher advanced to the general election after defeating former state Rep. John Knight in the Democratic primary runoff with 74.2% of the vote on December 15, 2020. Hatcher and Knight advanced from the primary election on November 17, 2020, earning 47.9% and 20.8% of the vote, respectively. Green was unopposed in the Republican primary.

The seat became vacant after the resignation of David Burkette (D) on September 1, 2020. He was first elected to the state Senate on May 15, 2018, in a special election to fill an unexpired term. He ran in the regularly scheduled election in November 2018 and won a four-year term with 80.2% of the vote.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 26-7 majority with two vacancies in the state Senate. Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of February, 27 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.) will not seek re-election in 2022

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) announced on February 8, 2021, that he will not seek re-election in 2022. Shelby was first elected to the Senate in 1986. He switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1994. 

Shelby is the fourth senator to announce he won’t seek re-election in 2022, joining Republicans Richard Burr (N.C.), Rob Portman (Ohio), and Pat Toomey (Penn.). During the 2020 election cycle, four senators did not seek re-election.

Thirty-four seats will be up for election next year. Republicans currently hold 20 of those seats and Democrats hold 14. 

The Senate is split 50-50, with 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with Democrats. Vice President Kamala Harris (D) has the tie-breaking vote, giving Democrats effective control of the chamber.  

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Ben Robbins wins Alabama House District 33 special election

Ben Robbins (R) won the special general election for the District 33 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives on January 19, 2021. Robbins defeated Fred Crum, who was nominated by the Alabama Democratic Party to run in the special general election after Democratic primary winner Terra Foster withdrew from the race. Unofficial results from the state show Robbins won by a margin of 68% to 32%.

The seat became vacant after former incumbent Ronald Johnson (R) passed away on July 14, 2020. Johnson had held the District 33 seat since 1978. Once he is sworn in, Robbins will serve the remaining two years of Johnson’s term.

Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. As of January 20, there were 23 Republican trifectas, 15 Democratic trifectas, and 12 divided governments where neither party held trifecta control. In the 2020 election, Republicans had a net gain of two trifectas, and two states under divided government became trifectas.

As of January 2021, 23 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

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Filing deadline for two Alabama state legislative special elections is Jan. 26

Candidates interested in running in two state legislative special elections in Alabama have until January 26, 2021, to file. The primaries are scheduled for March 30, and the special elections will be held on July 13. The filing deadline for minor party and independent candidates is March 30. The winners of the special elections will serve until November 7, 2022.

The special election for state Senate District 14 became necessary after Cam Ward (R) was appointed to serve as director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles by Gov. Kay Ivey (R). He had represented the seat since 2010 and won re-election in 2018 with 72.6% of the vote.

The special election for state House District 73 was called after Matt Fridy (R) was elected to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in November 2020. He had represented District 73 since 2015 and won re-election in 2018 with 69.1% of the vote.

Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 26-7 margin with two vacancies and the state House by a 75-28 margin with two vacancies.

As of January 2021, 20 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 14 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

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Special election to be held Jan. 19 in Alabama state House district

A special general election is being held on January 19 for District 33 of the Alabama House of Representatives. Fred Crum (D) and Ben Robbins (R) are running in the general election. The winner will serve until November 2022.

The seat became vacant after the death of Ronald Johnson (R). Johnson had represented the district since 1978. He last won re-election in 2018, earning 67% of the vote in the general election.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 76-28 majority in the Alabama House. Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of January, 15 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 10 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Alabama House of Representatives District 73 special election set for July 13, 2021

Election officials have scheduled a special election for the District 73 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives on July 13, 2021. The seat became vacant after Cam Ward (R) was appointed to serve as director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles by Gov. Kay Ivey (R). The primary is on Mar. 30, and the primary runoff is on Apr. 27 if no candidate receives a majority of the primary vote. The filing deadline is on Jan. 26.



Ward resigns from Alabama state Senate

Alabama State Sen. Cam Ward (R) resigned Dec. 7 to become the director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles. Ward was appointed to his new position by Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Nov. 17. 

“It’s got to be the hardest job in state government,” Ward said in a phone interview. “They have a lot of issues going on. My number one issue is criminal justice reform.”

Ward’s successor in state Senate District 14 will be determined by a special election, which Ivey has set for July 13, 2021.

Ward served in the state Senate since 2010 and previously served in the state House from 2002 to 2010. He was most recently re-elected to another four-year term in 2018, defeating Democrat Jerry McDonald. This year, Ward unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court. Incumbent Greg Shaw defeated him in the Republican primary on March 3.

The Alabama State Senate is the upper chamber of the Alabama state legislature. With Ward’s resignation, the state Senate’s current partisan breakdown is 26 Republicans, seven Democrats, and two vacancies.

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