By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, voters came to the polls (many for their third time) to elect Democrat Adline Clarke to the Alabama state House. House District 97 became vacant when longtime state legislator Yvonne Kennedy passed away after a short illness.
Adline Clarke said in a written statement, “For over three decades, I have had the honor and privilege of serving the Mobile community as a newspaper journalist, entrepreneur, agency administrator, and as a community volunteer. Representing you in District 97 would be an extension of my decades of service to a host of community service organizations, including Sickle Cell Disease Association, the YWCA, Mercy Medical, and Senior Citizens Services.”
Clarke said on Facebook, “The story of my life is I have stepped up and accepted challenges as they’ve been placed before me.”
Clarke said, “House District 97 is dear to my heart. I have lived and worked in the district for most of my adult life. There is a dire need for us to have effective and honest leadership in order for District 97, our city, county and state to continue making positive strides.”
In Tuesday’s general election, Clarke took 90% of the ballots cast. Independent Burton LeFlore received 7%, while independent David Blunt took just 3% of the votes cast.
Clarke told Al.com “We are very excited here tonight We had hoped that the competition might have been a bit stiffer. We had to go this extra leg. We put the same amount of energy into this leg as we did into the other legs of the election.”
In the Democratic Party primary, Adline Clarke received 40.4 % of the vote in a crowded seven way field, but because Alabama law requires that the winner of the primary have 50% of the vote plus one, Clarke went into a Democratic Party runoff with Mobile attorney Karlos Finley. Finley had received just 24.4 % of the vote in the primary, but Clarke narrowly defeated Finley by just 162 votes.
House District 97 is considered to be a Democratic Party stronghold so no Republican challenger ran for the seat in the majority minority district. Two independent candidates (Blunt and LeFlore) did qualify forcing there to be a special general election. Ironically, Clarke’s election comes just one day after the 2013 legislative session ended. Clarke will get to participate in the 2014 legislative session, but will have to run again for the seat in 2014 when the term expires.
Clarke was endorsed by Patsy Dow (the wife of former Mobile Mayor Mike Dow), “I support Adline Clarke because I know she will honorably and effectively represent the citizens of District 97. She is an exceptionally hard-working, progressive-thinking, and compassionate person and I trust her to speak for me and the residents of District 97 in Montgomery. We need Adline Clarke working for us.” Clarke also had the endorsement of several members of Yvonne Kennedy’s family.
Clarke owns ‘Black Classic Books and Gifts’ and ‘Jamabalaya.’ She was also the former owner of a temporary job service, Norrell Staffing Services. She currently serves as Senior Vice President of Business and Community Relations for Mobile Development Enterprises, a subsidiary of the Mobile Housing Board.
Clarke is also a former reporter for the Mobile Press-Register.