By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
The Alabama House GOP saw significant success in Tuesday’s elections, growing its legislative majority from 72 to 77 seats, while Democrats saw their share decline from 33 to 28.
House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said Republicans’ victory was a vote of confidence in the conservative direction of the Legislature.
“With their vote on Tuesday, the citizens of Alabama signaled their strong support for the conservative, reform-minded agenda that Republicans have pursued since gaining control of the Legislature, and we are thankful for their continuing confidence,” he said.
“Much progress has been made over the course of the past eight years, but Alabama still has endemic problems that must be addressed.”
The brightest spot for Democrats may have been holding House District 97, where Rep. Adline Clark faced a significant challenge from newcomer Stephen McNair.
Here are the results from what Alabama Daily News judged as the closest house races this election:
Final Count: 77 Republicans, 28 Democrats
House District 1
(R) Phillip Pettus and (I) Bobby James Dolan
|Bobby James Dolan||37%||4,300|
House District 2
(R) Lynn Greer, incumbent and (D) Lora Morrow
House District 3
(R) Andrew Sorrell and (D) Chad Young
This ended up being one of the closest races to watch last night and ended up flipping a long-time-historically-democratic seat for the Republicans, with political newcomer Andrew Sorrell taking home the votes. Sorrell understands the importance of this race and how special the situation is.
“You can’t overstate the importance of what happened here tonight, and not just in my race, but you saw Sen. Larry Stutts get reelected, you saw Philip Pettus beat the independent candidate. Lauderdale and Colbert Counties are now entirely represented by Republican senators and representatives. That’s unheard of. The Democrat party had the last bastion of their party here in northwest Alabama. As far as I know, I am the first Republican to hold this position since 1874,” Sorrell said.
Sorrell said that he believes it was his stance on certain infrastructure issues for the district and the way he ran his campaign, to be as personable as possible, is what allowed him to beat his opponent. He is hoping to be a part of the commerce and small business committee for the house once they are in session.
House District 7
(R) Proncey Robertson and (D) Kenneth Brackins
House District 8
(R) Terri Collins, incumbent and (D) Billy Jackson
House District 10
(R) Mike Ball, incumbent and (D) JB King and (I) Elijah Boyd
House District 21
(R) Rex Reynolds, incumbent and (D) Terry Jones
House District 28
(R) Gil Isbel and (D) Kyle Pierce
This was the district that former House Minority leader Craig Ford held since 2000 but gave up this year to run for the Senate District 10 seat instead. That has proved detrimental to the Democratic party because now Republican Gil Isbell has taken over this historically Democratic seat in the house.
Isbell told Alabama Daily News that the district is a lot more split than people would think, but now that many of the Republican candidates have been elected to office, he foresees a great team to work with.
“I think that everyone is going to work well together moving forward to get things done, from representatives and senators, but also the local municipalities, county commissions. That’s what we’re all trying to achieve, is unity to make things happen,” Isbell said.
He also said that one of the first things he would like to tackle for the district is the Etowah County Sheriff prison food money problem.
House District 38
(R) Debbie Wood and (D) Brian McGee
House District 46
(R) David Faulkner, incumbent and (D) Felicia Stewart
House District 65
(R) Brett Easterbrook and (D) Elaine Beech, incumbent
During this close race, political newcomer Brett Easterbrook took everyone by surprise and took Beech’s Democratic seat, which she had held on to since 2010. This seat had been projected to lean Democratic, but Easterbrook told Alabama Daily News that the district saw an unprecedented amount of voter turnout and the people showed that they want to be a part of the majority party in Alabama.
“The people came out and supported me and the Republican party. I think it’s incredible, we switched to the Republican party, we went with the majority and the party that focuses on business and conservative values,” Easterbrook said.
When asked what he wants to focus on going into the future, Easterbrook said that infrastructure is the main focus for Alabama’s rural regions and the state needs to stop leaving behind rural regions when it comes to infrastructure needs.
House District 74
(R) Dimitri Polizos, incumbent and (D) Rayford mack
House District 79
(R) Joe Lovvorn, incumbent and (D) Mary Wynne Kling
|Mary Wynne Kling||42%||6,977|
Former Speaker Mike Hubbard’s seat. The special election in 2016 was canceled, due to their being only one viable candidate on the ballot. The region obviously stuck to their Republcian roots though and stuck with Joe Lovvorn, the Republcian candidate.
House District 89
(R) Wes Allen and (D) Joel Williams
Joel Williams has already tried running for this seat and lost with less than a 100 votes in the 2014 election. This time around, it wasn’t as close of a call and now Probate Judge Wes Allen has taken this open seat. Allen spoke with Alabama Daily News about what it was like campaigning for this seat:
“It’s a lot of hard work, the people of district 89 are special, and that’s one thing I won’t forget. As probate judge, it’s all about the people and helping them and I look forward to carrying those same values and principles that we served at the courthouse to the state house, to serve the taxpayers of District 89,” Allen said.
House District 94
(R) Joe Faust, incumbent and (D) Danielle Mashburn-Myrick
House District 94 stayed with its incumbent candidate, Joe Faust, and did not follow the trend of other wealtheir suburbs in America with becoming more Democratic. Faust told Alabama Daily News that he owes this victory to his campaign workers:
“We had a small group of people that went to work for us and It’s just great. I told them, it’s their victory as much as it is mine. I’ve always enjoyed working for the people, and this is a continuation for me to keep doing what I’ve been doing. My door is always open, just like it’s always has been,” Faust said. “One person cannot come up with the right thing for a state. We need to listen to a lot of folks first, and that’s what I plan to do.”
He also said that this year’s voter turnout was the largest ever seen for Baldwin County and that he wants to possibly talk about measures to help voters even more like early voting during the next legislative session.
House District 97
(R) Stephen McNair and (D) Adline Clarke, incumbent