Election Day Alabama: Who’s on ballot today in Alabama primary election?
Published 8:14 am Tuesday, March 3, 2020
The only real question in Alabama’s GOP presidential primary is the margin of victory for President Donald Trump. He’s very popular within the state’s deeply conservative GOP and has only one opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.
The Democratic race is another matter.
Although 14 names are on the state ballot in the Democratic primary, only five candidates are still actively campaigning: former Vice President Joe Biden, ex-New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Biden and Bloomberg both spoke at an event in Selma on Sunday marking the 55th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” civil rights violence, and Warren spoke the same day at a forum with Amy Klobuchar, who has since dropped her candidacy.
Black voters hold sway in the state’s Democratic electorate, and Biden and Bloomberg have split the endorsements of the state’s largest black political coalitions. The Alabama New South Coalition backed Biden and the Alabama Democratic Conference supported Bloomberg.
A seven-person Republican field is competing for the right to challenge U.S. Sen. Doug Jones in November.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is attempting to win back the seat he held for 20 years but faces opposition from former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. State Rep. Arnold Mooney, businessman Stanley Adair and Ruth Page Nelson also are on the ballot.
Unless one candidate captures more than 50% of the vote, the race will head to a runoff between the top two finishers.
Jones, a one-time prosecutor and the only Democrat to hold statewide office in Alabama, doesn’t face opposition in the primary.
The races for two open congressional seats in south Alabama are crowded, and an incumbent faces primary competition in the Tennessee Valley of north Alabama.
Entrepreneur Jerry Carl of Mobile, Army veteran John Castorani, business owner Bill Hightower, restaurateur Wes Lambert and state Rep. Chris Pringle are competing for the Republican nomination in southwest Alabama’s District 1, where Rep. Bradley Byrne didn’t seek reelection. Veteran and nonprofit CEO James Averhart, real estate agent Rick Collins and biology professor Kiani A. Gardner are vying for the Democratic nod in District 1.
In District 2 of southeast Alabama, where Rep. Martha Roby isn’t seeking another term, the Republican field includes moving company operator Jeff Coleman, former congressional staffer Terri Hasdorff, former Alabama Attorney General Troy King, former state Rep. Barry Moore, electrical contractor Bob Rogers and business owner Jessica Taylor.
Former state legislator Nathan Mathis and retired educator Phyllis Harvey Hall are competing for the Democratic nomination in District 2.
In north Alabama’s District 5, Rep. Mo Brooks faces a challenge in the Republican primary from retired Navy Cmdr. Chris Lewis. Victory will be tantamount to election because no Democrat is running.
Alabama voters will decide a proposal to abolish the elected state school board and replace it with an appointed commission.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is among the supporters of Amendment One, which would end the current system of electing school board members by district. Appointees would be chosen by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate under the new system.
While supporters cite lagging public schools and the need for more professionalism as evidence of a need for change, opponents contend voters should get to decide on board members.
Most states have appointed school boards.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION PRESIDENT
Both the Democratic and Republican parties have primaries for president of the utility-regulating Alabama Public Service Commission.
Incumbent Republican Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh faces a primary challenge from former teacher and school principal Robin Litaker.
Laura Casey and Robert L. Mardis III are competing for the Democratic nomination for PSC president. Casey was one of three audience members removed from a 2019 PSC meeting for live-streaming a hearing regarding fees charged on solar panels, and she sued the agency. Mardis is a party activist.
A incumbent member of the all-Republican Alabama Supreme Court faces an unusual primary challenge from a state lawmaker.
Associate Justice Greg Shaw is being opposed by state Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster.
Shaw served on both the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals before first being elected to the Supreme Court in 2008. Ward is best known in the Senate for his work on issues facing Alabama prisons, and he also has served as president of the Alabama Law Institute.
No Democrat is seeking the position.
COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS
A former judge and a state legislator are seeking the Republican nomination for a seat on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.
Phillip Bahakel is a former Jefferson County district judge who practices law in the Birmingham suburb of Pelham. He has tried to tie himself to President Donald Trump, wearing a Make America Great Again hat in a campaign video.
Bahakel is running against state Rep. Matt Fridy, a House member since 2014 who has served as vice chair of the Judiciary Committee and chair of the committee that oversees campaigns and elections.
There isn’t a Democrat running for the seat.
COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS
Two seats on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals are up for grabs in the GOP primary.
In Place 1, incumbent Judge Mary Windom faces a primary challenge from Melvin Hasting, a Cullman attorney.
In the race for Place 2, incumbent Judge Beth Kellum has two challengers. Jill Ganus, who was appointed to a Jefferson County district court judgeship in 2017, and former Lauderdale County Commission member Will Smith, are opposing Kellum.
No Democrats are running for either seat.
STATE SCHOOL BOARD
Eight people are seeking the Democratic nomination for the District 5 seat on the Alabama State Board of Education now held by gubernatorial appointee Tommie Stewart.
Candidates for the position, which represents much of southwest Alabama, are Fred Bell, Tonya Smith Chestnut, Ron Davis, Pamela J. Laffitte, Patrice “Penni” McClammy, Woodie E. Pugh Jr., Joanne Shum and Billie Jean Young.
A runoff will be required if no candidate receives at least half of the vote.
Stewart, a retired dean at Alabama State University, filled the seat left open by the death of longtime board member Ella Bell of Montgomery in November.