By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
State Representative Jim Barton faces business consultant Bill Hightower in Tuesday’s special Republican Runoff for state Senate District 35.
In the primary Hightower took 46.5% of the Republican primary vote and Rep. Jim Barton (R) came in second with just 30% of the vote. Former Marine Corps pilot, Nick Matranga came in third with 23% of the vote. Matranga has since endorsed Barton.
The winner of the March 12 runoff will be the State Senator as the Alabama Democratic Party was unable to recruit a candidate for the seat previously held by Ben Brooks. Sen. Brooks vacated his seat after being elected a Mobile Circuit Court Judge.
Only 7.5% of the electorate voted in the Special Republican Primary and this was the only race on the ballot. The candidate which is able to motivate their voters to come out and vote on Tuesday is likely to be the winner.
Rep. Barton is a businessman. He is married and he and his wife, Kim, have two children, Ward and Georgianne. Barton is a member of St. Pious X Catholic Church in Mobile. Barton has won several Legislator of the Year Awards, most recently by the Alabama District Attorneys Association. Barton is the Owner of Old South Construction and Bay Area Resources, Incorporated. He previously worked in sales for Accelerated Technology Incorporated from 1993-2001.
Barton is a former President of the Mobile County Young Republicans. Barton is the Chairman of the Alabama House’s Ways and Means Committee for the General Fund. Barton graduated from the University of South Alabama in 1991 and represents Alabama House District 104.
According to his website bio, Bill Hightower is married to Susan Binegar Hightower, from Grand Bay. He and Susan have three children; Will (26), Haven (22), and Ben (18).
Bill Hightower moved to Mobile in 1968, when his father, Billy M. Hightower M.D., established an Open Heart Surgery Center at Mobile General Hospital (Now University of South Alabama Medical Center).
Hightower graduated from Murphy High School, attended the University of South Alabama and graduated with his B.S. in Commercial Banking/Finance, with studies in economics from the London School of Economics & Political Science, London, England. He also has a 1990 M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University. After working for several different corporations that took him all over the world Hightower moved back to Mobile and “is owner of a private practice which focuses on corporate strategic consulting. He works with clients in the U.S., Europe, and China in defining their growth strategy and implementing it through acquisitions and alliances.”
Hightower’s wife Susan from Grand Bay owns Wee-Exchange one of the largest children’s consignment businesses in Mobile and operates a clothing store in Bel-Air Mall called, Little Monkey Toes. She also is a realtor with Roberts Brothers Realty.
On his website Hightower says he believes: that strong families and faith are the fundamental foundations of America; in small government, low taxes and free enterprise; the sanctity of human life; school choice and competition in education; that public education decisions are best made at the local level; securing our borders against illegal immigration; that community colleges should play a key role in job training and economic development; Alabama should opt out of the national healthcare plan being forced on us from Washington; that small businesses create jobs, not the government, and we need to repeal excessive regulations on our job creators; that gambling is bad for Alabama because it increases crime, divorce, and drives out productive business; our coast and natural environment is a God given gift to us and should be cared for responsibly; and that policies should be enacted that encourage personal responsibility, not government dependence.
The winner of the March 12 Republican Primary will represent Mobile in the Alabama Senate for the remainder of this term and will give the Republican supermajority yet another vote in the Senate.