By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, April 1st, the Special General Election in House District 53 was held. Governor Bentley called the election following the passing of Representative Demetrius Newton in September of last year.
Democrat Anthony “Alann” Johnson defeated Republican candidate Willie Casey.
Johnson said on Facebook, “My win, OUR win is a shared win with Democrats all across Jefferson County and the State of Alabama in that it represents the hard-work principle(s) of the Democratic Party. It’s a win for all who even though our resources were meager, our belief that we can make conditions better for people kept us pressing the pavement and fighting the good fight. Tonight, Friends of Anthony ‘Alann’ Johnson held the line for Democrats throughout Alabama by declaring with a clarion call to Republicans, HELL NO, NOT ON MY WATCH! Jefferson County must ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS remain heavily Democratic because this is the source of our power. The Honorable Anthony Alann Johnson, State Representative – House District 53.”
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead commended Casey for the unexpected strong performance. Casey received 32% of the vote to Johnson’s 68% in the overwhelmingly Black District 53 which includes parts of Jefferson County in the City of Birmingham.
Chairman Armistead said, “The Alabama Republican Party commends Willie Casey on his perseverance in running for the State House of Representatives. A Republican has not held this seat since Reconstruction. In a heavily Democratic district, Republican Willie Casey had the courage and dedication to his community to step forward and offer himself up for public service.”
Chairman Armistead said, “This is just the first step by the Alabama Republican Party in our march to demonstrate that black Republicans can get elected in districts that have been historically represented by Democrats. We are all disappointed that Willie didn’t win tonight but obtaining 32% of the vote today is a huge step in the right direction. It is proof that there are a great many ‘traditionally Democrat’ citizens who are turning their backs on the lies and antics of Barack Obama and the Democrat Party.”
Alabama is a red state where Republicans have dominated recent elections. The Alabama Republican Party however has not made deep in-roads into Alabama’s Black community. The Republican Party holds super-majorities in both Houses of the Alabama legislature, but every Republican seat is held by a White person from a majority White district. Despite the well documented decline of the Alabama Democratic Party all of Alabama’s majority Black districts are still represented by a Democrat. Growing the party with Black voters has recently become a focus of ALGOP.
There are only two days left in the legislative session, including today, so it is unlikely that Johnson will be sworn in until the last day of the legislative session on Thursday. Johnson will be available to serve if there is a special session before the next legislature is sworn in and he is on the ballot in the Democratic Primary on June 3rd.