By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
A number of candidates have announced this week that are running in the Special Election for the US Senate seat. On Tuesday, May 16, a couple of high profile candidates announced that they will not be running. State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) and 2016 Senatorial candidate Ron Crumpton (D) both announced that they won’t be in this race.
Marijuana legalization advocate Ron Crumpton said that he was forced to withdraw due to health issues. Crumpton said in a statement on Tuesday, “The good news, we were able to raise the $3480 qualifying fee for US Senate. The bad news, I am not going to be running for the US Senate.”
Crumpton continued, “Many of you know that I have a history of back problems. A couple of weeks ago, I tweaked my back. It is not unusual for this to happen, it slows me down a little, but I am able to go about my business. Last Thursday, I had to take my nephew to the emergency room. My nephew is 29 and has cerebral palsy and he is about my size. When we got to the hospital my nephew didn’t want to get out of the back of the car. In my attempt to “man handle” him, I did serious injury to my back.”
Crumpton who has suffered from back problems for years said, “Yesterday, I consulted with my doctor and learned that all of my options will require weeks to months for recovery. Since it makes no sense to commit to a race that I will be unable to run, I am going to withdraw now. Hopefully, I will be able to stand for election during the 2018 election cycle. I would like to thank everyone for their support, and I hope all of you choose to support me in the future.”
State Auditor Jim Zeigler also said on Tuesday that he will not be a candidate for the US Senate in the Special Election. Zeigler said: “My issues are Alabama issues. I am working against waste, mismanagement and corruption in State government. I will stick with cleaning up the mess in Montgomery.”
Zeigler’s seat as State Auditor is up for election in the June 5, 2018 primary. He says he will be a candidate in 2018, either for Governor or for re-election as State auditor. Zeigler said, “I will make a decision on which 2018 office to run for after the Special Election for US Senator is over. I believe the voters and the media will now focus on the Senate Special Election and not yet start looking at the 2018 races.”
Zeigler said, “We need a waste cutter in Washington. There will be candidates in the August 15, Republican primary who can fill that role.”
Zeigler has been strongly critical of Sen. Luther Strange, saying “Luther Strange obstructed the impeachment of former Gov. Robert Bentley. The Bentley mess could have been cleaned up five months before it was. Our State continued to suffer under the dysfunctional Bentley administration for five months longer, due to State Attorney General Luther Strange.”
Zeigler said that Strange, as a prosecutor, should never had accepted an appointment from a person (Bentley) who was the subject of an investigation by his office.
Zeigler and former Morgan County Commissioner Stacy George filed ethics complaints against Bentley in March 2016, that ultimately led to charges being recommended against Bentley by the Alabama Ethics Commission after a year long investigation. Five days later Bentley resigned his governorship.
Crumpton was the only Democratic candidate in the field who had ever run a statewide race before. Clinton era US Attorney Doug Jones, businessman Jason Fisher, and Robert Kennedy Jr. have all announced that they are running for the seat as Democrats.
Sen. Luther Strange, Congressman Mo Brooks, State Representative Ed Henry, former Christian Coalition President Dr. Randy Brinson, and businessman Dom Gentile have all qualified to run as Repubicans.
Today, May 17, is the last day to qualify as a major party candidate.
The Senate Special Primary Election will be August 15. The party primary runoff election, if necessary will be on September 26, and the Special General Election will be December 12. The eventual winner will have to stand for election again in 2020.