By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Democrats had a terrible day (in this state anyway) on Tuesday. Their last statewide office holder, 74 year old Public Service Commission (PSC) President Lucy Baxley, lost to a younger Republican challenger, Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, giving Alabama Governor Robert Bentley the opportunity to appoint someone to fill Twinkle’s now vacated spot. Former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore (R) from Gallant defeated the only Democrat running for a statewide judicial office, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance. The Democratic Party crushed the Republican Party in all 14 Jefferson County wide races. Barack H. Obama took the county in 2008 and again in 2012 resulting in a coat tail affect that swept dozens of local Republican officeholders out of office in what is still Alabama’s most populous county despite its current bankruptcy issues.
‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ talked with Republican Alabama State Senator Scott Beason from Gardendale who represents Jefferson County about the shocking election results. We asked Sen. Beason if the Republican Party had placed too much focus on helping Romney win Florida and Ohio and neglected to get out the Republican vote in Jefferson County. Sen. Beason said, “I don’t belive so” the party had the biggest and best get out the vote effort in the history of Jefferson County but we were outvoted by 30,000 votes.
Sen. Beason told ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ that parts of Jefferson County have become so solidly Democrat that it makes it difficult to win. Sen. Beason said that when one segment will vote almost 90% for a straight party ticket and the other segment thinks it is noble to split your ticket among both parties you are going to lose races.
Beason said that some excellent judges were lost including: Brian Huff, Theresa Petelos, and Suzanne Childers.
Judge Suzanne Childers said on Facebook, “Friends, I haven’t died, I just lost an election. I was a lawyer and a judge before I was a Circuit Judge. If you know me at all you know that I am a fighter and I will go on at whatever I choose to do. The people of Jefferson County and the Country took a real hit last night. I am heart sick about it, not just for myself but for many others who are suffering today and who will suffer in the future as a result. A lot of great public servants and Judges were lost, for now anyway. I have never said much about the Republican/Democrat thing but now I will. I have seen the world from both sides now so I can speak with more authority than most at least from my perspective. I thank the Republican Party for the way that I have been treated. I will always love you and support you for that. You took me in, you supported me, you worked for me and you became my family. Today more than ever I am proud to be a Republican. I have been in politics for eight years now and I look forward to being just private citizen Suzanne Childers for a while at least. Please know that I will always be Judge Childers. Our Legislature passed a law last year that permits Judges with 6 or more years experience to be hired as private judges. I am not gone just regrouping.” Suzanne Childers was defeated by Patricia Ann Stephens (D) in Circuit Court Place 15.
Incumbent Judge Theresa B. Petelos (R) was defeated by David Carpenter (D) for Circuit Court Place 5. Birmingham attorney Jim Hughey (D) defeated Gardendale Municipal Judge Bobby Lott (R) for Circuit Court Place 9. In Circuit Court Place 6, Don Blankenship (D) defeated Republican David Faulkner. In Circuit Court Place 7, Democrat Tracie A. Todd (D) defeated incumbent Bill Cole (R). Pat Thetford (R) was defeated by Birmingham City Councilwoman Carole Smitherman (D) for Circuit Court Place 13. In Circuit Court Place 18, incumbent Brian Huff was defeated by Raymond Chambliss (D).
Sherry McClain (D) defeated former Jefferson County Commissioner Bobby Humphryes for the office of Jefferson County Deputy Treasurer. Karen Dunn Burks (D) defeated Benny Watson (R) for Deputy Circuit Clerk in the Bessemer Division. In Circuit Court Place 27, Virginia Vinson (D) defeated deputy district attorney Jim Neill (R). In District Court Place 3, controversial Carnella Greene Norman (D) defeated Republican W. Davis Lawley Jr. (R). In District Court Place 6, incumbent Katrina Ross (D) defeated Gloria Bahakel (R). In District Court Place 12, Lorraine Williams-Pringle defeated incumbent Jill Ganus (R). Incumbent Democrat Anne-Marie Adams (D) defeated Jerry Bahakel (R) to hold on to the Jefferson County Circuit Clerk position. For Jefferson County Treasurer, incumbent Jennifer Parsons Champion (R) was beaten by Mike Miles (D).