Tagalabama

Stories about Alabama

Allen defeats Zeigler in Republican primary runoff for Alabama secretary of state

Wes Allen defeated Jim Zeigler in the Republican primary runoff for Alabama secretary of state on June 21, 2022. Incumbent John Merrill (R) was term-limited.

Each candidate said his experience prepared him for the position. Allen was a Pike County Probate Court judge and said he administered more than a dozen elections without error. Zeigler, the state auditor, said he had been a “watchman against government waste, mismanagement and corruption” and would be a watchman for election integrity.

Republicans have held the Secretary of State office in Alabama since 2007.

The secretary of state is Alabama’s chief election official and certifies vote totals, ballots, and fundraising records. The secretary of state is also responsible for business registration and keeping the state government’s official documents and public records.



Britt wins Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate in Alabama

Katie Britt defeated Mo Brooks in the Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate in Alabama on June 21, 2022. The pair advanced from a field of six candidates in a May 24 primary. Britt had 63% of the runoff vote to Brooks’ 37%. In the primary, Britt received 45% of the vote and Brooks received 29%. Incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R), first elected in 1986, did not run for re-election. Michael Durant, who finished third in the primary with 23% of the vote, said he would not endorse or vote for either candidate in the runoff.

Britt was Shelby’s chief of staff and the president and CEO of the Alabama Business Council. Britt’s campaign website said she was an “advocate for smaller government, modern job growth, constitutional liberties and greater opportunity.” Former President Donald Trump (R), U.S. Sens. Shelby, Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Maggie’s List, the Value In Electing Women PAC, and Winning for Women, Inc. PAC endorsed Britt.

Brooks was elected to represent Alabama’s 5th Congressional District in 2010 and served as Madison County Commissioner from 1996 to 2010. Brooks’ campaign ads highlighted his speech at Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, 2021, which preceded the U.S. Capitol breach. Brooks campaigned as an America First candidate, a term often associated with the platform of Trump and candidates who have said they support his agenda. Brooks’ endorsements included Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-Pa.). Trump initially endorsed Brooks in the primary election before rescinding his endorsement in March 2022.

Britt is also expected to win the general election. At the time of the runoff, three independent race forecasters considered the race either Solid Republican or Safe Republican. Before Doug Jones’ (D) tenure from 2018 to 2021, the last Democrat to represent the state in the U.S. Senate was Howell T. Heflin, who left office in 1997. Trump won the state with 62% of the vote in the 2020 presidential election.



Strong wins Republican primary runoff in Alabama’s 5th Congressional District

Dale Strong defeated Casey Wardynski in the Republican primary runoff election for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District on June 21, 2022. Strong received 63.4% of the vote and Wardynski received 36.6%. Strong will face Kathy Warner-Stanton (D) in the general election on Nov. 8, 2022.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R), first elected in 2010, ran for the U.S. Senate rather than seeking re-election, creating an open seat. Brooks did not make an endorsement in this race.

Strong served as the chairman of the Madison County Commission in 2022 and has held this position since 2012. He was a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician (EMT) in the Monrovia area. Strong described himself as “a pro-life Christian who will stand up for the unborn and fight for our Christian values.” He said, “These values are under attack today by those who want to control what we read on social media and what our children are taught in school.”

Wardynski served as the assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs under former President Donald Trump (R) from 2019 to 2020. He also served as the superintendent of Huntsville city schools from 2011 to 2016. Wardynski described himself as “a proud, pro-Trump conservative Republican who answered the call when President Trump asked me to be his Assistant Secretary of the Army.” He said, “I am committed to advancing the America First Agenda. I am not afraid to take on The Swamp and the special interests who fought President Trump at every turn. I will fight Joe Biden when he tries to roll back the progress created under President Trump.”



Strong faces Wardynski in Republican primary runoff for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District on June 21, 2022

Dale Strong and Casey Wardynski are running in the Republican primary runoff for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District on June 21, 2022. Republican Rep. Mo Brooks represented this district for more than a decade. This year, he is running for the U.S. Senate rather than seeking re-election, leaving the seat open. Brooks did not make an endorsement in this race.

Strong earned 45% of the vote in the May 24 primary, followed by Wardynski with 23%. In Alabama, a candidate must receive over 50% of the vote to advance directly to the general election. Since no candidate received a majority on May 24, the top two vote-getters (Strong and Wardynski) advanced to a June 21 runoff election.

Strong is the chairman of the Madison County Commission and has held this position since 2012. He is a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician (EMT) in the Monrovia area. Strong describes himself as “a pro-life Christian who will stand up for the unborn and fight for our Christian values.” He says, “These values are under attack today by those who want to control what we read on social media and what our children are taught in school.” Strong was the first candidate to enter this primary race and has held the lead in polling and fundraising throughout the race.

Wardynski served as the assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs under former President Donald Trump (R) from 2019 to 2020. He also served as the superintendent of Huntsville city schools from 2011 to 2016. Wardynski describes himself as “a proud, pro-Trump conservative Republican who answered the call when President Trump asked me to be his Assistant Secretary of the Army.” He says, “I am committed to advancing the America First Agenda. I am not afraid to take on The Swamp and the special interests who fought President Trump at every turn. I will fight Joe Biden when he tries to roll back the progress created under President Trump.”

Major race ratings outlets rate the general election in Alabama’s 5th Congressional District solid/safe Republican, meaning the winner of the runoff is all but certain to win the general election.



Dale Strong and Casey Wardynski advance to runoff in Alabama’s 5th District Republican primary

Dale Strong and Casey Wardynski advanced to a June 21, 2022, runoff from the May 24 Republican Party primary in Alabama’s 5th Congressional District. Six candidates ran in the Republican primary. Republican Rep. Mo Brooks represented this district for more than a decade. In 2022, he ran for the U.S. Senate rather than seeking re-election, creating an open seat. Brooks did not make an endorsement in this race.

According to the primary election results, Strong earned 45% of the vote, followed by Wardynski with 23%, John Roberts with 14%, and Paul Sanford with 11%. In Alabama, a candidate must receive over 50% of the vote to advance directly to the general election.

Strong served as the chairman of the Madison County Commission in 2022 and has held this position since 2012. He was a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician (EMT) in the Monrovia area. Strong described himself as “a pro-life Christian who will stand up for the unborn and fight for our Christian values.” He said, “These values are under attack today by those who want to control what we read on social media and what our children are taught in school.” Strong was the first candidate to enter the primary race and held the lead in polling and fundraising in the weeks before the election.

Wardynski served as the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs under former President Donald Trump (R) from 2019 to 2020. He also served as the superintendent of Huntsville city schools from 2011 to 2016. Wardynski described himself as “a proud, pro-Trump conservative Republican who answered the call when President Trump asked me to be his Assistant Secretary of the Army” and said, “I am committed to advancing the America First Agenda. I am not afraid to take on The Swamp and the special interests who fought President Trump at every turn. I will fight Joe Biden when he tries to roll back the progress created under President Trump.”

Before the primary, the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections all rated Alabama’s 5th Congressional District as a solid/safe Republican seat.



Zeigler, Allen advance to Alabama secretary of state primary runoff

Jim Zeigler and Wes Allen advanced from the Republican primary for Alabama secretary of state to a June 21, 2022, primary runoff. A candidate needed at least 50% of the primary vote to win outright. Zeigler had 43% and Allen, 40% as of Wednesday afternoon. Christian Horn and Ed Packard also ran in the May 24 primary. Incumbent John Merrill (R) was term-limited.

Each candidate said his experience prepared him for the position. Allen was a Pike County Probate Court judge and said he administered more than a dozen elections without error. Zeigler, the state auditor, said he had been a “watchman against government waste, mismanagement and corruption” and would be a watchman for election integrity.

The candidates each highlighted areas of election policy they would focus on. Allen said he opposed mass mail, no-excuse absentee, early, and curbside voting and supported a photo ID requirement. Zeigler highlighted his support for a photo ID requirement and opposition to same-day voter registration, allowing non-citizens to vote, efforts to extend the voting period, ballot drop boxes, and allowing people to return ballots on behalf of other voters.

Republicans have held the Secretary of State office in Alabama since 2007. The secretary of state is Alabama’s chief election official and certifies vote totals, ballots, and fundraising records. The secretary of state is also responsible for business registration and keeping the state government’s official documents and public records.



Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) avoids runoff, defeating eight challengers in Republican primary

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) avoids runoff, defeating eight challengers in Republican primary

Incumbent Kay Ivey (R) defeated eight candidates in Alabama’s Republican gubernatorial primary on May 24, 2022. She led the field with 55% of the vote, followed by Lynda Blanchard (R) at 19%, and Tim James (R) at 16%. No other candidate received more than 10% of the vote.

A candidate needed to win the primary with over 50% of the vote to advance to the general election.

Ivey was first elected governor in 2018, defeating Walt Maddox (D) 60% to 40%. Before becoming governor, Ivey served as lieutenant governor from 2011 to 2017, and as state treasurer from 2003 to 2011. In a campaign ad, Ivey highlighted her record, saying, “There’s no critical race theory in our schools, I signed the strongest pro-life law in America, I stood with Trump to ensure no election here can ever be stolen, and we created thousands of new jobs.”

Ivey, Blanchard, and James led the field in fundraising and media coverage. Lew Burdette (R), Stacy George (R), Donald Jones (R), Dean Odle (R), Dave Thomas (R), and Dean Young (R) also ran in the primary.

Gas prices in the state were a key issue in the race. Alabama approved a state gas tax increase of 10 cents per gallon in 2019, with the possibility of increases up to one cent every two years. Revenue from the tax was directed toward road and bridge construction. Blanchard said, “we have struggling families and business while our state sits on a surplus and spends enough money to make a drunken sailor blush,” and supported temporarily suspending state taxes on gas. James said, “every time I turn around, every day, I see an announcement about the governor handing out more money to these pet projects,” and said he supported repealing the 2019 increase. Ivey said there were other factors affecting gas prices, saying, “Let’s not lose sight of the main problem here, and that’s Joe Biden’s policies. He’s got inflation at a 40-year record high.”

Heading into the election, a Republican had held the Alabama governorship since the 2002 elections, which was also the last time an incumbent governor was defeated in the state.



Britt and Brooks advance to runoff for U.S. Senate in Alabama

Katie Britt and Mo Brooks advanced from a field of six candidates in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Alabama on May 24, 2022. As no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, Britt and Brooks will compete in a June 21 runoff. Incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R), first elected in 1986, did not run for re-election.

Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Brooks on April 7, 2021, and withdrew the endorsement on March 23, 2022. In a statement, Trump said, “Mo Brooks of Alabama made a horrible mistake recently when he went ‘woke’ and stated, referring to the 2020 Presidential Election Scam, ‘Put that behind you, put that behind you.'”

In response to the withdrawn endorsement, Brooks said, “I am the only proven America First candidate in this Senate race . . . I am the only candidate who fought voter fraud and election theft when it counted, between November 3 and January 6.”

Britt was Shelby’s chief of staff and the president and CEO of the Alabama Business Council. Britt’s campaign website said she was an “advocate for smaller government, modern job growth, constitutional liberties and greater opportunity.” Sen. Shelby, Maggie’s List, the Value In Electing Women PAC, and Winning for Women, Inc. PAC endorsed Britt.

Brooks was elected to represent Alabama’s 5th Congressional District in 2010 and served as Madison County Commissioner from 1996-2010. Brooks’ campaign ads have highlighted his speech at Trump’s rally on January 6, 2021, which preceded the U.S. Capitol breach. Brooks campaigned as an America First candidate, a term often associated with the platform of Trump and candidates who say they support his agenda. Brooks’ endorsements included Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and House Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.).



Alabama voters approve $85 million bond issue to fund public historical sites and state parks

Alabama voters approved Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment, on May 24. Amendment 1 authorized the state to issue up to $85 million in bonds for state parks. With 100% of precincts reporting, the vote was 77%-23%.

Amendment 1 authorized $80 million of the bond amount for state parks managed by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and $5 million for historical sites managed by the Alabama Historical Commission. Under Amendment 1, bond proceeds could not be used for improvement or maintenance of the Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury, Alabama. If bond proceeds exceeded $85 million for any reason, Amendment 1 requires them to be allocated to the Alabama Forestry Commission for capital improvements and maintenance of state forests.

State Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-24) and Rep. Wes Kitchens (R-27) sponsored Amendment 1 in the Legislature as House Bill 565. The House voted 97-1 on April 13, 2021. The Senate voted 29-0 on an amended version on April 29. The House voted 98-0 on the final version. Rep. Ledbetter said, “Because interest rates are so low today, we’re able to use the same amount that we’re paying out now, redo new bonds and put $80 million into the existing parks, which is going to be a tremendous asset to our state and to our tourism and across our state.”

On Nov. 8, Alabama will decide nine other constitutional amendment, including a recompiled state constitution. The other amendments would:

  • authorize the Code Commissioner to incorporate constitutional amendments that are approved at the elections on May 24 and Nov. 8 into the Alabama Constitution of 2022 if voters approve the new constitution
  • allow local governments to award funding provided for broadband internet infrastructure to public or private entities;
  • remove orphans’ business from the jurisdiction of county probate courts;
  • allow the legislature to provide for offenses for which bail may be denied;
  • require changes to laws governing the conduct of a general election to be implemented at least six months before the general election;
  • require the governor to provide notice to the attorney general and the victim’s family before granting a commutation or reprieve of a death sentence
  • specify that counties and municipalities have authority to finance economic and industrial development through the use of public funds, issuing bonds, and leasing property or lending bonds to a private entity; and
  • authorize specific cities to use a previously established property tax to directly fund capital improvements in addition to using the revenue to repay bonds and other debt.

Both houses of the Alabama State Legislature are required to pass a proposed constitutional amendment by a three-fifths (60%) supermajority vote in order to refer it to the statewide ballot. If the amendment is approved by a simple majority of voters, it becomes part of the state constitution.

A total of 78 constitutional amendments appeared on the statewide ballot in Alabama during even-numbered election years from 2000 to 2020, of which, 62 were approved (79.49%), and 16 were defeated (20.59%). From 2000 to 2020, the number of constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot during even-numbered years ranged from four to 15.

Additional reading:



Alabama bond question, Atlanta and Little Rock local measures on Tuesday ballot

On May 24, Alabama voters will decide Amendment 1. The measure would amend the state constitution to issue up to $85 million in bonds for improvement, renovation, acquisition, construction, and maintenance of state parks.

Of the bonds, $80 million would be used for state parks managed by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and $5 million would be used for historical sites managed by the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC). The ACDNR manages 21 state parks spanning a total of approximately 45,300 acres of land and water. The AHC owns and manages 15 historic sites in Alabama including forts, battlefields, and archaeological sites, historic houses, and museums. The commission’s mission statement is to “protect, preserve, and interpret Alabama’s historic places.”

Under the amendment, bond proceeds could not be used for improvement, acquisition, provision, construction, equipping, or maintenance of the Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury, Alabama. If bond proceeds exceed $85 million for any reason, additional proceeds would be allocated to the Alabama Forestry Commission for capital improvements and maintenance of state forests.

Under the amendment, no bond proceeds could be expended for maintenance or improvements to the Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury, Alabama. The home that exists at the park was constructed in 1902 as a care facility for Confederate veterans in Alabama. The last Confederate veteran living on the site died in 1934. The Alabama State Legislature created the Confederate Memorial Park in 1964 as “a shrine to the honor of Alabama’s citizens of the Confederacy.” The Confederate Memorial Park has been managed by the Alabama Historical Commission since 1971.

The amendment is supported by Governor Kay Ivey (R), who said, “It’s just real important that we all vote ‘Yes’ on that amendment on the ballot. We have so much natural beauty here, and it’s important that we offer our citizens and tourists the great opportunities to experience and enjoy them. With your support of the State Parks bond issue on May 24th, we will soon have ribbon-cuttings on several renovated campgrounds, cabins and improved day-use areas in our 21 State Parks.”

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Christopher Blankenship said, “As we’ve seen this past year with COVID, state parks and outdoor recreation have been extremely important to people for their physical and mental health. We saw great increases in usage at our parks, and also the federal wild properties in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.” Blankenship also said attendance to state parks was up by about 1.2 million visitors in 2020 and the amendment would bring the state parks “up to a standard that people have come to expect now and as the landscape is changing with motor homes and they’re becoming more advanced and require more from our campground.”

In Alabama, a constitutional amendment must be passed by a 60 percent vote in each house of the state legislature during one legislative session.

Amendment 1 was sponsored by Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter (R) and Rep. Wes Kitchens (R) as House Bill 565. On April 13, 2021, the House approved it in a vote of 97-1, with five absent or not voting. On April 29, the Senate passed an amended version of HB 565 in a vote of 29-0, with five absent or not voting. The House concurred with the amendments on the same day in a vote of 98-0, with five absent or not voting.

A total of 78 constitutional amendments appeared on the statewide ballot during even-numbered election years in Alabama from 2000 to 2020, of which, 62 were approved (79.49%), and 16 were defeated (20.51%). From 2000 to 2020, the number of measures on statewide ballots during even-numbered years ranged from four to 15.

Voters of Alabama cast ballots on five bond issues, totaling $535.2 million in value, since 1998. All were approved. The most recent bond issue decided by voters was on the ballot in 2000.

Also on May 24, voters in Little Rock Arkansas will decide a question reducing the existing capital-improvement millage from 1.8 to 1.3 mills, equal to $130 per $100,000 of assessed property value, and dedicating funds to a future issuance of bonds not to exceed $42 million for capital improvements to the Central Arkansas Library System.

Voters in Atlanta will decide two bond measures and a sales tax increase measure on May 24. The bond issues would authorize $213.01 million in general obligation bonds for constructing, improving, and repairing public safety facilities and parks and recreational facilities and $192.99 million in general obligation bonds for acquiring, planning, constructing, and maintaining roads, bicycle and transit lanes, sidewalks, pathways and trails, parks and playgrounds, and other related projects. The sales tax increase measure proposes to enact a sales tax of 0.4 percent for no more than five years to provide funding for transportation and congestion reduction projects.

Additional reading: