By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Democratic Conference convened a screening committee in Montgomery and voted to endorse Attorney Fred Bell in the Democratic primary special election for Senate District 26 on Tuesday.
Bell is a Montgomery city councilman representing Council District 6 in southeast Montgomery.
Chairman of the ADC, Joe Reed, said that Bell has been an Alabama Education Association attorney and has an exemplary record as a public servant.
“You can rely and trust Bell, his word is as good as a 30 year treasury note,” Reed said.
Fred Bell was born and raised in Hayneville, Alabama. He is married to Virginia Bell. They had three children together; though his son, Fred, is deceased.
Bell has degrees from Alabama State University, Creighton University and Illinois State University, with a Doctorate in Law. He is an attorney and part-time municipal judge.
The five candidates who are running for the Senate District 26 seat in the special Democratic primary include: Tony Cobb Jr., state Rep. John Knight, David Burkette, Deborah Anthony and Fred Bell.
The ADC is the Black Political Caucus of Alabama. It promotes political unity and political education, and it advocates and advances the cause of the Alabama Democratic Party.
Chairman Joe Reed has been one of the most influential figures in Alabama Democratic Party politics for decades.
Former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis called Reed, “the most influential Democrat in the state.”
Some of his critics claim he has too much power within the Alabama Democratic Party.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican D.J. Johnson in the special general election. There is no Republican primary, as only one candidate qualified. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, plus one in the Democratic primary, there will be a special Democratic primary runoff.
The special election is a result of the seat being vacated by Quinton Ross, D-Montgomery, after his selection as president of Alabama State University, therefore causing an open seat.
Because this special election is for an open seat, the winner will serve in the Alabama state Senate for the remainder of the current term, which ends late in 2018. There will also be a major party primary election on June 5, 2018, for the next four years. Major party candidate qualifying for that race begins on June 9, 2018.
The 2018 regular legislative session also begins on Jan. 9, so the Democratic minority will begin the 2018 session controlling just eight out of the 35 votes – the smallest Democratic Party contingent in history, limiting their ability to filibuster and extend debate substantially.
The U.S. Senate election will be on the same day as the State Senate Democratic primary. There, Republican candidate Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones. Because one election is a special general election, and the other is a special Democratic primary, they can not be on the same ballot; therefore, voters should get their U.S. Senate ballot and vote in that election before getting their Alabama State Senate Democratic primary ballot. This will mean getting in the line twice if you want to vote in both elections.
Senate District 26 is entirely within Montgomery County.
Remember to bring your valid photo-ID to the polls in order to be able to vote on Tuesday. Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Today, Dec. 7, is the last day to get an absentee ballot.