By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Democratic voters go to the polls today in Birmingham’s House District 53 to vote for who they want to represent them in the Alabama House of Representatives. Only 554 Democrats came out to vote on a rainy day in the primary so turnout is important in this special election.
Anthony “Alan” Johnson and Arthur Shores Lee face off in the special Democratic Primary runoff today.
Johnson received 41.5% of the vote (229 votes) in the four person primary field. Johnson said on Facebook, “Without a doubt, I am the most-visible, hardest-working and best qualified candidate, bar-none. I thank God, my family, friends and supporters who believe in me, helped to groom and polish me and always provided words of encouragement.” “Help me to continue to do what I love in a more official capacity by electing me as the next State Representative of House District 53. Thanks. Sincerely, Anthony “Alann” Johnson for House District 53.”
Anthony “Allan” Johnson is a former senior legislative assistant in the Georgia House of Representatives. He studied theology at ITC Morehouse School of Religion and is the grandson of Civil Rights Movement era minister Rev. Dr. Nelson Henry Smith Jr. Johnson is the executive director of Leadership Jefferson County and an associate minister at Zion Star Missionary Baptist Church.
Johnson wrote in ‘Weld for Birmingham’ in January, “Although real work has been done to curtail racism in our city, it is incumbent upon all critical thinkers and those who champion diversity and inclusion to erase the invisible lines of demarcation in our society through commerce, economic development, regional growth, et al. While a healthy and working knowledge of Birmingham’s history is essential, the ethos of Birmingham residents should be one of forward thinking and progressivism.
Johnson continued, “My granddad use to say that “Bull Connor is dead, but his cousins are still living.” The same struggles of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s are much the same as those that exist today in 2013. The disenfranchised and marginalized want access to the socioeconomic and sociopolitical infrastructures of society. They want to have access to the basic staples of life, such as healthcare, food, shelter, mental health, safe streets, community sustainability, a low sales tax, transparency in government and fiscal responsibility, transportation, a healthy environment, self-empowerment, gainful employment and living wages, a better quality of life for our veterans and our elderly, and a brighter future for our children and youth.”
His Primary runoff opponent is Arthur Shores Lee. Lee received 32.6 percent of the vote (180), Arthur D. Shores Lee is the grandson of the famous Civil Rights movement era lawyer, Arthur David Shores. Like his famous grandfather, Arthur David Shores is an attorney. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Birmingham Bar, and the Alabama State Bar. Lee has served as both a Birmingham municipal court magistrate and as a Jefferson County Magistratie. Lee is a graduate of Talladega College and is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Lee wrote on his website: “I am running for Alabama House of Representatives, District 53. I am a resident of the Smithfield Community and I respectfully ask for your vote. I am committed to my community and serving the residents of District 53 for Jefferson County with integrity.” “I promise to serve honorably and represent the interest of the residents of District 53.” If elected Lee promises to work for: voting rights legislation, a teacher pay raise, Medicaid, jobs and economic Development, public safety and gun control, and responsible government spending.
Lee wrote, “I have spent my career in the legal field representing clients from corporate to those who are undeserved and in many times cannot afford an attorney. I consider myself qualified, able, and an individual of high moral character.” Arthur Shores Lee is a member of First Congregational Christian Church.
The Special Democratic Primary election in Birmingham is necessary because of the passing of long time incumbent state Representative Demetrius Newton (D), 85, on September 11th.
The Democratic primary runoff was scheduled to be held on January 28, but was postponed by Governor Robert Bentley til today because of a rare winter storm.
The winner of the Democratic Party nomination will then face Republican Willie (W.A.) Casey on March 25.
The 2014 legislative session begins on January 14 so it is very likely that the legislative session will be almost over by the time the eventual winner is sworn in.
That winner will likely face a Democratic incumbent in the 2014 election because the Birmingham inner city House District will be folded in to one of two neighboring districts due to redistricting based on the 2010 Census which showed a massive population drop in the City of Birmingham over the last decade.
House District 53 will be moved from Jefferson County to Huntsville in Madison County and the area that is HD 53 now will be absorbed by two neighboring districts.