By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
The 2022 primary elections are nearly 11 months away, but several candidates in contested races got off to strong fundraising starts in June. One candidate lent himself $250,000 for his statewide office bid.
House District 88
Joshua Pendergrass, the newly declared House candidate from Prattville, raised nearly $22,000 in contributions in June, his first monthly campaign report said.
Pendergrass, a lawyer and former communications director for Gov. Kay Ivey, is challenging state Rep. Will Dismukes in the GOP primary next year.
Pendergrass’ His largest single contribution came from MedCom Management in Wetumpka.
Dismukes did not file a June campaign finance report. State law says candidates do not have to file reports until they’ve collected more than $1,000 in campaign contributions. Incumbents and their challengers could begin fundraising May 24, one year out from the 2022 primary.
Dismukes, a freshman lawmaker, is facing a legal battle along with his reelection bid. Late last month he was indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury on a theft of property charge. He was accused of stealing from his former employer. Dismukes has maintained that he’s innocent. He also told ADN he is seeking a second term.
Separately, Dismukes last year 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.
House District 88 includes parts of Elmore and Autauga counties.
House District 54
Farther north, another sitting House member has a primary challenger. Incumbent Neil Rafferty, D-Birmingham, raised nearly $19,000 in cash contributions in June. Brit Blalock raised nearly $8,000 in cash contributions from individuals in June.
Blalock told Alabama Daily News last month that she believes there needs to be more representation for women in the state legislature and would like to be a bold voice for progressive politics in the state house as well.
House Democratic leadership told ADN they would be supporting Rafferty, a freshman lawmaker, in the primary. One of his contributions in June was $1,000 from Patricia Todd, the former House District 54 representative and current vice chair of the Alabama Democrats.
House District 54 is a reliably Democratic district and takes up parts of downtown and the eastside of Birmingham.
State auditor race
The position of state auditor is up for grabs next year and first-term House member Andrew Sorrell, R-Muscle Shoals, kicked off his bid for the job by loaning his campaign $250,000 last month. He also had about $400 in cash donations.
Current Auditor Jim Zeigler is term limited. Stan Cooke, a Republican who announced his candidacy last month, did not file a June report.