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Qualifying has been slow for state Senate races  

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

There are only two weeks left in candidate qualifying and there are not a lot of qualified Republican Primary candidates at this point.

Four years ago, Mike Hubbard and his perceived corrupting influence on the Republican Party had a polarizing effect that drew many challengers.  The Alabama Education Association was also funding a lot of those insurgent campaigns.  Most of the challengers failed; but there were competitive GOP primary races all over the state.  This time around, at this point, there are only seven races out of 35 seats where there are two or more qualified GOP candidates and in only two of those are the incumbents facing actual primary challengers.

Currently, the status of every seat is lifted below.

In District 1, Senator Tim Melson, R-Florence, is seeking re-election.

In District 2, former Senator Tom Butler has changed to the Republican party and is running for his old seat.  Incumbent Bill Holtzclaw, R-Madison, is retiring from politics after two terms.  Until recently, Holtzclaw had been campaigning for a congressional run.  Hoytzclaw made the decision to suspend those efforts last week.

In District 3, incumbent Senator Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, has yet to formally qualify.  Sources tell the Alabama Political Reporter that they expect Orr will be running for another term in the state Senate.

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In District 4, Senator Paul Bussman, R-Cullman, has qualified for another term.

In District 5, Senate Majority Leader Greg J. Reed, R-Jasper, has qualified for the 2018 GOP Primary.

In District 6, Senator Larry Stutts, R-Sheffield, is seeking a second term.  Stutts narrowly unseated longtime incumbent Roger Bedford, R-Russellville, in 2014.

In District 7, Alabama Republican Party Vice-Chair Sam Givhan is running against  Alabama School Board Member Mary Scott Hunter for the seat incumbent Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, is vacating.

In District 8, Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, is seeking his second term in the Alabama Legislature.

In District 9, incumbent Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Boaz, has qualified for re-election.

In District 10, incumbent Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City, is not seeking another term.  State Representative Mack N. Butler, R-Rainbow City, and Andrew Jones are competing for his vacant seat.

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In Senate District 11, Jake Lane is challenging Senator Jim McClendon, R-Springville. McClendon is in his first term in the Senate, having unseated incumbent Jerry Fielding four years ago.

In District 12, Senate President Del Marsh, R-Anniston, is facing a challenge from Wayne Willis.

In Senate District 13, long time incumbent Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, is retiring from the Senate to run for Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries.  Randy Price, Mike Sparks,  and Tim Sprayberry have all three qualified for the open seat.

In District 14, incumbent Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, has qualified for another term in the Senate.

In District 15, Sen. Slade Blackwell,R-Mountain Brook, is seeking another term in the U.S. Senate.

In Senate District 16, incumbent Sen. J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner, R-Vestavia, has qualified for another term.  Waggoner has served in the legislature for over 50 years.

In District 17 incumbent Senator Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, has qualified for his second term.

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In District 18 no Republican has qualified for the seat currently held by Roger Smitherman, D-Birmingham.

District 19 no Republican has yet qualified to challenge for the seat currently held by Sen. Priscilla Dunn, D-Bessemer.

In District 20 there is no qualified Republican challenger to incumbent Senator Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham.   Districts 18, 19, and 20 are majority minority districts.

In District 21 incumbent Senator Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, has qualified for another term.

In District 22 incumbent Senator Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, has qualified for the GOP Primary.

In District 23 no Republican has qualified yet for the seat currently held by Senator Hank Sanders, D-Selma.

In District 24 there is not yet a Republican who has qualified to challenge for the seat currently held by Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro.

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In District 25 incumbent Dick Brewbaker, R-Montgomery, is not seeking another term.  Will Barfoot is the only qualified candidate for that seat.  Ronda McCaul Walker has announced that she is seeking this seat; but has not formally qualified yet.

District 26 is currently vacant.  Quinton Ross, D-Montgomery, vacated the seat to become the President of Alabama State University.  No Republican has qualified yet to run in the general election for the seat; though DJ Johnson has qualified to run in the special general election in May.  Districts 23, 24, and 26 are all majority minority districts.

In Senate District 27 incumbent Tom Whatley, R-Lee County, is seeking his third term.

In District 28 no Republican has yet qualified for the seat currently held by William M “Billy” Beasley, D-Clayton.  Beasley is the only White Democrat currently in the Alabama Senate.

In District 29 state Representative Donnie Chesteen, R-Geneva has qualified.  District 29 is currently held by Sen. Harri Anne Smith, the only independent in the Alabama Senate.

In District 30 Sen. Clyde Chambliss, Jr., R-Prattville is seeking his second term in the Alabama Senate.

In District 31 incumbent Jimmy W. Holley, R-Elba, has qualified for another term.  This would be Holley’s sixth term in the Alabama Senate.  He has also served five terms in the Alabama House of Representatives.

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In District 32 state Senator Lee “Trip” Pittman, R-Daphne, is not seeking re-election.  Jeff Boyd, Chris Elliott,  David Northcutt, and Bill Roberts have all qualified in the Republican primary.

In District 33 no Republican has yet to qualify for the seat currently held by Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile.  Senate District 33 is a majority minority district.

In District 34, incumbent Sen. Rusty Glover, R-Semmes, is running for the vacant Lieutenant Governor’s seat.  Mark Shirey and State Representative Jack Williams, R-Wilmer, have both qualified for this vacant seat.

In District 35, incumbent Sen. Bill Hightower, R-Mobile, is running for Governor.  State Representative David Sessions, R-Grand Bay, has qualified for the open seat.

Qualifying for both major parties ends on February 9.

The major party primaries will be on June 5, 2018.

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Written By

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with over nine years at Alabama Political Reporter. During that time he has written 8,697 articles for APR. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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