By MARY SELL and CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
Josh Pendergrass, a lawyer and former communications director for Gov. Kay Ivey, will challenge state Rep. Will Dismukes in the GOP primary next year.
Pendergrass lives in Prattville, is a local Baptist pastor and runs several businesses.
“I humbly come before the people of District 88 with a desire to make a difference,” Pendergrass said in a written statement. “I’m concerned that the American Dream is becoming less and less of a reality for more and more people, and we need a representative who will change that. Our district needs a voice that will stand up for truth who will fight hard to grow educational opportunities and will be a catalyst to help bring good-paying jobs to our community.
“… It starts with protecting our God-given rights and abiding by our conservative values, like defending the unborn, fighting for the Second Amendment and standing for less government.”
Pendergrass is a small businessman running several e-commerce businesses, a consulting firm, and BBQ catering for special events. He is currently the Senior Pastor of Wadsworth Baptist Church in Autauga County.
Dismukes easily won the empty seat in 2018, but his first four years in elected office have been controversial.
He briefly flirted with running for the U.S. Senate before announcing run for Congress in an attempt to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Martha Roby. He eventually dropped out of that race.
But Dismukes biggest issues started last year when he faced public criticism and calls for resignation for speaking at a birthday party honoring Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who later co-founded the Ku Klux Klan.
He was later charged with theft by the Montgomery County District Attorney, accused of stealing from a former employer. That case is ongoing and Dismukes has maintained that he’s innocent. Late last month, Dismukes told Inside Alabama Politics he would run for reelection next year.
House district includes parts of Elmore and Autauga counties.
“I have worked hard to stand up for my district time and time again and I will continue to do so once reelected,” Dismukes, who owns a flooring company in Elmore, said. “I promised to be a voice for the people and I feel I have done that and will work harder to do even more!”
Dismukes kept a fairly low profile in the 2021 legislative session that ended in May, not sponsoring any legislation.