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Elections: More than two dozen legislators will vacate their seats later this year

Election in United States of America. Voter holds envelope in hand above vote ballot. USA flags in background. Democracy concept.

Editor’s Note: This article was published before state Rep. Ken Johnson announced his retirement from the House of Representatives on Feb. 24, 2018. This means a total number of representatives not seeking election is 20 and the total number is now 30.

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Now that party qualifications are over, 29 lawmakers in the Legislature announced they will vacate their seats.

The Alabama House of Representatives is seeing some of its longest serving members depart as newcomers run for the vacated seats.

Particularly of note, is state Rep. James Buskey, D-Mobile, who served in the lower house since 1976. Buskey, who is the second longest serving representative in the chamber, announced his retirement last August.

Former Minority Leader and state Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsen, announced he will also not seek re-election in the House, but he is pursuing an independent run in the state Senate for the seat being vacated by Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City.

State Rep. Johnny Morrow, D-Red Bay, is also seeking to take a senate seat. Morrow announced his run last June for the seat being vacated by state Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, who announced his retirement after four years in the seat.

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On the Republican side, many are seeking other offices in the state.

Perhaps the most ambitious run comes from state Rep. Will Ainsworth, who announced his bid for lieutenant governor last year.

Ainsworth will contend with Public Service Commission President Twinkle Cavanaugh, who switched for the governor’s race after  Gov. Kay Ivey signaled her intention to run for the office.

State Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, is also seeking an office but in Washington. Moore announced his bid for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District in what is shaping up to be a competitive race between four Republican candidates.

Two state representatives, Jack Williams and David Sessions, are both seeking senate seats being vacated by state senators.

In the state Senate, nine are not seeking re-election.

Of the nine, state Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, is the only Democrat not seeking re-election. Sanders announced the decision on the last day to qualify through a last-minute press release.

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In the release, Sanders said the decision came after considering the free time he might have if he retired from the upper chamber. Sanders tapped his daughter, Malika Sanders-Fortier, to run for the soon-to-be vacated seat as a Democrat.

Among Republicans, three senators are seeking higher offices in the executive branch.

State Sen. Bill Hightower, R-Mobile, is challenging a crowded Republican field in June for the GOP nomination for governor.

Long-serving state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, is seeking the commissioner of Agriculture and Industries position as current Commissioner John McMillian leaves the position after hitting max term limits.

Finally, state Sen. Rusty Glover, R-Semmes, is seeking the lieutenant governor position.

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DIG DEEPER