By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
State Rep. John Knight, D-Montgomery, and Montgomery City Councilman David Burkette received the most votes in the special Democratic Primary in Montgomery County’s state Senate District 26 special election.
The two will face off in a runoff to fill the District 26 seat vacated by Quinton Ross after he became the president of Alabama State University.
“Words cannot express how thankful I am. I appreciate all of your support. This journey is not over yet. I led the primary and with your help I will be elected your next Alabama Senator District 26!” Knight on social media.
“I am so excited about what happened on the national level,” Knight said in his victory speech. “It is good for Alabama. It is good for the things that we are trying to accomplish as we bring people together in this state and I am just very proud of the voters of the state of Alabama for what we have been able to do in that race. I certainly hope that the race I was in played some minor part in terms of turning people out to vote so we can get a U.S. Senator in Washington representing us.”
“I look forward to the runoff,” Knight said. “I look forward to running against the opponent in the runoff, but I also want to express my appreciation to all the people that were in the race. They ran a good race and I want to ask their supporters to support a good man, which would be me. Once again thank God for that U.S. Senate race.”
Knight received 36 percent of the vote to Burkette’s 27 percent.
Burkette thanked God, his wife and the people who helped him during this election, “I’m feeling the incredible spirit of God right about now. I know without these people behind me, my wife, the foot soldiers, it wouldn’t be possible.”
“It’s not time to take a backseat,” Burkette told WSFA. “We got one level out of the way, this is a two-level race. We got one level out of the way and we want to make certain that we are prepared and continue to work hard.”
Montgomery County voter turnout was a shocking 44 percent much higher than anyone’s projections, partially due to the special election for Quinton Ross’s seat, versus just 34 percent statewide. U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones had 48,186 votes to just 17,705 for Republican Roy Moore with 743 votes for write ins in Montgomery County. Most pollsters had expected a 25 percent turnout.
Coach David Burkette was born and reared on the Southside of Montgomery in an urban community called Bel-Air. He was educated in the Montgomery County Public School System where he graduated from Jefferson Davis High School in 1976. Burkette has bachelor’s degrees from Alabama State. He has dual Master Degrees in Physical Education – Administration, and holds an Education Specialist Degree, (EdS) in Educational Leadership. Coach Burkette serves as an Assistant Principal at Bellingrath Middle School, and is attending Miles Law School as a third year law student. Coach Burkette has served three terms as a Montgomery City Councilman, in the District 4. Coach Burkette is married to Linda Douglas Burkette. They have two children and four grandchildren.
Knight is formerly the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Alabama State University. He was first elected in 1993. He is the father of two. He received his B.S., with Honors, in Business Administration from Alabama State University and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Alabama A&M University.
Knight serves on the Board of Directors for the Kershaw YMCA, the Montgomery Housing Authority, the Montgomery Improvement Association, the Southern Development Council, Inc., and the Cleveland Avenue YMCA.
The other three candidates, Fred Bell, Deborah Anthony, and Tony Cobb Jr. combined for 37 percent of the vote.
The Democratic Party runoff will be on February 27.
This election is for the remainder of Ross’s term, which ends next year. There will be a Democratic Primary on June 5, 2018 for the next four years.