By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Republican voters in Alabama House of Representatives District 31 vote on Tuesday, January 28 to select who will be their State Representative for the rest of the year: retired businessman, Mike Holmes, or car deal Jimmy Collier. The winner of Tuesday’s Special Republican Primary runoff will be district 31’s State Representative since no Democrat ran for the office and Alabama Constitution Party candidate Jeshua Screws was disqualified by the Alabama Secretary of State’s office. The race for the Elmore County and Coosa County district has been bitterly contested.
Wetumpka Tea Party founder and President, Becky Gerritson has personally endorsed Mike Holmes. Gerritson wrote recently: “It has been brought to my attention, that Jimmy Collier, candidate for HD 31, has stated that the Wetumpka TEA Party had something to do with the NRA’s rating of the candidates of HD 31. In November, the NRA came out with a scorecard of the candidates for district 31. We posted those results, nothing more. It is 3 days until the election and the results on their website are the same as they were in November. (Mike Holmes:A, Jimmy Collier:F) To clarify, the WTP had nothing to do with the NRA questionnaire- we just posted the results when the NRA released them. We never even asked either candidate about their stance on the 2nd amendment or gun rights in general. We never asked the candidates to fill out ANY survey whatsoever on ANY topic. The WTP Party has not endorsed either candidate for district 31. We have members that support both candidates. (However, I do support Mike Holmes!) We have NO connection to the NRA and have nothing to do with them sending a mailer regarding any candidate. Our mission is to give people information on candidates including forums, debates or other events or interviews that will help people make a good decision when they go to the polls. Thanks, Becky Gerritson, President, WTP.”
Mike Holmes wrote on Facebook, “We have received yet another piece of “fantasy mail” today in the form of a mailer from my opponent. Sometimes, you just have to respond, right? I say fantasy, as our campaign has never placed robo calls referring to his “experience”. Our sole call to voters in HD-31, other than polling and either myself or a volunteer making personal calls, was made by Becky Gerritson, and was a personal endorsement of my campaign.”
Jimmy Collier wrote on his Facebook page, “I have received messages from several of you and thank you very much for bringing it to my attention that my competitor’s camp has sent our a mailer stating my stance on the 2nd Amendment and the NRA with a grade of “F”. I am a hunter, own guns and support everyone’s right to defend themselves. The questionaire in question was filled out at a Tea Party speaking engagement. The Tea Party in large supports my opponent, because he is a member. In my opinion this is a set-up and they had my score set before I ever filled out the form. I have requested a copy of that form from the NRA, but conveniently, on one can seem to find it and get a copy to me. I am pro- 2nd amendment and SB286. I feel SB286 did not go far enough and will support any legislation that strengthens it. It is very convenient that my opponent has waited until 2 days before the election to put this out, when it’s almost too late to dispute it and let the truth be known. But that is politics.”
Mike Holmes wrote, “And is he insinuating that I procure people to call in to radio programs? I assure you that I have more integrity than to ask another person to falsify a talk radio call for me…. those are genuine callers expressing genuine concerns about some of his responses. And as I said in the ECREC forum last evening, as of now my opponent has 4 PAC donations and I have 5. Mine are supposedly “special interests”….what does he think his are? I also commit to HD-31 voters that I will be not be swayed from doing, and voting for, what is right, and not what is expedient, regardless of who has supported my campaign. I am very proud of my endorsements and their support… most of which support major industries in Elmore and Coosa counties, especially farming and the timber industry.”
Collier wrote on his Facebook page, “We have had signs disappearing all over the district as quick as our supporters have put them up but That’s OK we have more. We must be leading in the polls.”
Alabama House District 31 became vacant when Republican incumbent Barry Mask from Wetumpka resigned to take a position with the Alabama Association of Realtors.
The winner of Tuesday’s runoff election will have to face re-election in this year’s regular election. The district boundaries of Tuesday’s special election will be the old boundaries set after the 2000 Census. HD 31 will use the new boundaries set after the 2010 Census in the June 3rd Republican Primary.
The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on January 28. This will likely be a very low turnout race, as the special Republican Primary was, and forecasts of bitter cold and a rare snowfall will likely only decrease voter turnout.