By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Prattville City Council President Jerry Starnes announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for House District 88 on Tuesday making him the second primary challenger to the current occupant of the seat, State Rep. Will Dismukes.
Starnes works as a probation and parole district manager for the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles. He’s also a lieutenant colonel in the Alabama National Guard.
“I’ve spent my life finding ways to serve my community, my state, and my country. My time in the National Guard has taught me that when you’re called to serve you do so and you give it everything you’ve got.” Starnes said in an emailed statement. “We need leadership for our district. We need someone fighting for our local farmers, police officers, small businesses, and our children. That’s why I’m running.”
Starnes is a graduate of Prattville High School and Troy University and bills himself as a lifelong conservative Republican.
The race for House District 88 is setting up to be one of the most competitive legislative races of 2022, with three GOP candidates already announced.
Dismukes, R-Prattville, easily won the open seat in 2018 but has faced multiple controversies in his first four years of office. He was widely criticized for appearing at a birthday party for Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest in 2019. In 2020, he was charged with felony theft by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and remains under indictment.
In comments to ADN last month, Dismukes maintained his innocence in the case and confirmed that he will seek reelection. 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. According to his final 2020 yearly report, Dismukes had $15,286.31 in his campaign account.
Josh Pendergrass, a lawyer, pastor and former communications director for Gov. Kay Ivey, has also announced that he will be challenging Dismukes for the Republican nomination. Pendergrass raised nearly $22,000 in contributions in June, according to his first monthly campaign finance report.
The Republican primary is set for May 24, 2022.