Election Day: Several heated GOP runoffs in Alabama

Election Day: Several heated GOP runoffs in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama voters go to the polls today in several heated Republican runoffs for statewide office and in the race for a south Alabama congressional seat.

Armed with an endorsement from President Donald Trump, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is trying to hold back a challenge from former congressman Bobby Bright and a voter backlash over her onetime criticisms of Trump.
Roby drew heavy primary opposition and angered some voters in the district when she withdrew her endorsement of Trump in 2016 after the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape. Roby has emphasized her working relationship with the White House as she seeks to overcome that.

Bright, the former mayor of Montgomery, represented the district for two years as a Democrat, but is running this year as a Republican and in a political embrace of Trump.

Bright has painted Roby as an establishment Republican out of touch with her heavily agrarian and military district.

While election officials don’t expect a large voter turnout, there are six statewide GOP races on the ballot plus one state school board seat. Here is a look at those races:
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LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

The head of Alabama’s utility-regulating agency is up against a state legislator in the Republican runoff for lieutenant governor.

Alabama Public Service Commission president Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh will face state legislator Rep. Will Ainsworth of Guntersville on Tuesday.

Cavanaugh carried 43 percent of the vote to 37 percent for Ainsworth in the three-way GOP primary. Cavanaugh also led all candidates for lieutenant governor in fundraising with nearly $1.1 million in total contributions through April.

The lieutenant governor’s main duty is presiding over the state Senate, but the office has been vacant since April 2017. That’s when now-Gov. Kay Ivey succeeded Robert Bentley following his resignation and guilty plea to a campaign finance charge amid a sex-tinged scandal.
The eventual Republican nominee will face Democratic minister Will Boyd in November.
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ATTORNEY GENERAL

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is trying to fend off a challenge from a former attorney general, Troy King, in the GOP primary on Tuesday.

Marshall has served in the job since February 2017, when then-Gov. Robert Bentley appointed after naming Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate. Marshall previously worked as a county prosecutor.

The 53-year-old Marshall had a razor-thin lead over the 49-year-old King in the primary in June, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the runoff.

King was appointed attorney general in 2004 and won a full term before losing a bid for re-election.
Both Marshall and King temporarily paused their campaigns following the suicide of Marshall’s wife last month. The winner will face Birmingham attorney Joseph Siegelman, who’s the son of former Gov. Don Siegelman.
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APPEALS COURTS

Three statewide appeals court seats are at stake in Alabama’s Republican runoff.
Gubernatorial appointee Brad Mendheim and Sarah Hicks Stewart of Mobile are in a runoff for a seat on the nine-member Alabama Supreme Court. Mendheim is a former circuit judge from southeast Alabama who led primary balloting.

Alabama Tax Court Judge Christy Edwards of Montgomery and Baldwin County Circuit Judge Michelle Manley Thomason are competing for the Republican nomination for a judgeship on the five-member Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.

And west Alabama District Attorney Chris McCool and Assistant Alabama Attorney General Rich Anderson are vying for a position on the five-member Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
No Democrat is running for any of the three judgeships in November, so winning the GOP runoff is tantamount to election.
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AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIES

A runoff will decide the race for the Republican nomination for commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

Longtime state Sen. Gerald Dial of Lineville will face Rick Pate, a farmer and businessman who’s mayor of Lowndesboro.

The 63-year-old Pate outdistanced the 80-year-old Dial in the four-person primary in June, but he didn’t get enough votes to win the nomination outright.

Both candidates portray themselves as farmers. Pate is a cattle breeder west of Montgomery, and Dial says he farms timber.

No Democrats are running, so the eventual Republican nominee is virtually assured of winning in November.
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STATE SCHOOL BOARD

Two candidates from southeast Alabama are vying for the Republican nomination in the only state school board race on the runoff ballot.

Dothan school board member Melanie Hill and Auburn City School Board President Tracie West are seeking the nomination for the District 2 position on the Alabama State Board of Education.

Hill led West narrowly in the four-person primary contest. Both support repealing Common Core educational standards, and both tout their experience as in education and leadership roles.

The winner will face Democrat Adam Jortner in November. He teaches history at Auburn University.