By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, September 22, 2016, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) announced that Joe Lovvorn will be certified as the winner of the House District 79 seat, formerly held by disgraced Speak of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). Lovvorn won the primary held on September 13, 2016. No other state party successfully met the requirements to appear on the general election in January, therefore there is no longer a need to hold that election.
Auburn student Gage Fenwick wishing to represent the Libertarian Party did submit petitions to appear on the ballot however the Secretary of State’s office said that once verified the list fell short on the required number of signatures needed to appear on the ballot. All candidates must submit a petition with 300 or more voters who reside in the district. The candidate was unable to meet this threshold and was eliminated from contention.
Secretary Merrill said, ”Because no other candidates submitted the required information in order to appear on the ballot, Mr. Lovvorn can be certified as the new representative for HD 79 without holding another, costly, special election.”
On Saturday, Fenwick told the Alabama Political Reporter that he was still is waiting for the Secretary of State’s office to certify his candidacy.
Alabama is among the hardest states in the country for a minor party candidate to get ballot access. Not only do independents and minor party candidates have to get petitions signed, those signatures have to be registered voters in the district in which they are running.