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Establishment Candidates Hold On to Power

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R Anniston retained their seats in Tuesday’s Republican Primary.  Not only did they win, most of their allies received big wins as well.

Rep. Mike Hubbard crushed challenger Sandy Toomer by 20 percentage points.

Congressman Mike Rogers and former Governor Bob Riley both descended on Lee County with an army of GOP volunteers to canvass neighborhoods on behalf of the speaker.  That all hands on deck campaign strategy and blistering attacks totally overwhelmed the Toomer campaign.  Hubbard said afterwards, “Humbled by the trust you showed in me tonight. Your continued support is validation that our conservative movement is working. As we move forward to the General Election, you have my word to keep fighting for you.”

Senator Del Marsh had much less trouble against Steve Guede. Marsh (like Hubbard) won with 60 percent of the votes cast.  Guede’s anti-Common Core single issue campaign never really caught fire with voters.

It was a roller coaster night for Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville. First elected to the legislature in 1974 (then as a Democrat), he was elected to the Senate in 2010 as a Republican after losing his seat in a Democratic Primary.  Various Alabama Tea Party groups and the AEA teamed up against Dial like they did against Marsh.  They had a much stronger candidate in Cleburne County Republican Party Chairman Tim Sprayberry.  It was not enough and Dial was re-elected 51 to 49%.  The margin of victory was just 416 votes.

Senator Tom Whatley, R-Auburn also fought off a determined challenger in Andy Carter.  Whatley won 53 to 47 percent.

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Indicted lawmaker, Rep Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, won reelection despite facing felony charges of lying to a Grand Jury and perjury charges.

Representative Mack Butler, R-Rainbow City defeated Ashville Mayor Robert McKay (R) 59 to 41.  Butler said on Facebook, “I do want to say a HUGE thank you for all the prayers and support! We did win both St Clair and Etowah Counties by a large margin in the State House District 30 Race. It’s time now for us all to come together and work as a team for the betterment of our state! Thank you for Backing Mack!”

Incumbent Rep. Jack Williams (R) fought off a determined challenge from former Jefferson County Chairman Jack Wheeler 60 to 40.  Rep. Ed Henry, R- Hartselle survived a challenge from Melvin Hastings.

Not all incumbent emerged unscathed.  Representative Kurt Wallace, R-Maplesville was defeated by former Representative Jimmy Martin.  Wallace said, “I want to wish Jimmy Martin all the very best. I will pray that the Lord will guide his words and deeds as he once again serves the fine people of Chilton County. And will always be available to render any action or service to him if it will make our county a better place to live, work, and raise a family. He has my sincerest congratulations.”  Four years ago Wallace defeated Representative Jimmy Martin when he was a twelve year Democratic incumbent.  Martin was Chilton County Coroner for decades before being elected to the legislature.

Wayne Johnson R-Ryland lost his re-election bid to Ritchie Whorton 58 to 42.  Johnson erroneously had accused Whorton of accepting AEA dollars.

Incumbent Senator Jerry Fielding, R-Sylacauga was soundly defeated by Representative Jim McClendon, R-Springville 63 to 37 percent.  Fielding was one of three Senate Democrats allegedly targeted by Republicans in the redistricting effort following the 2010 census.  The others: Sens. Tammi Irons (D) and Marc Keahey (D) did not seek re-election.  Sen. Fielding (D) switched his party affiliation and ran as a Republican in the redrawn 11th District which is much more conservative than the old District 11.  Rep. McClendon co-chaired the Permanent Committee on Redistricting along with Sen. Dial.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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