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Ethics complaint alleges Democrat judicial candidate paid utility bills with campaign funds

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The Jefferson County Republican Party announced that it has been advised that an ethics complaint was filed against Marshell Rena Jackson Hatcher. Hatcher is the Democrat candidate for Circuit Court Judge-Civil Division. The complaint alleges that Hatcher has used her campaign account to pay her utility bills.

According to required campaign finance reports, Ms. Hatcher lists multiple payments to Alabama Power and the Birmingham Water Works Board over a period of several months, most recently two weeks ago.

“Ms. Hatcher’s reports show she has raised a good bit of money, and the Republican Party wonders if those donors think paying her utility bills is proper use of their campaign contributions,” Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman Sallie Bryant said. “Ms. Hatcher is a sole practitioner, having only filed three lawsuits in court over the last three years.”

“In addition to this troubling ethical issue, we question why anyone would elect a judge to the civil bench who has virtually no courtroom experience,” Chairman Bryant charged.

Hatcher faces Tracey Crisan McDonald. McDonald received her law degree from Cumberland School of Law in 2003, and has worked with defense and plaintiff law firms for 15 years.

It has been an interesting campaign season for Jefferson County Democrat judicial candidates.

Pamela Cousins, the Democratic candidate for the open seat on the Family Court, was ruled ineligible to run, because she failed to file the required ethics forms. A Democratic Circuit Judge however ruled that she should still be on the ballot because she had made a “good faith effort to comply with the law.” The state Democratic Executive Committee then replaced “her” with “her”.

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In mid-October, Criminal Court Judge and current candidate Tracie A. Todd was admonished by the Criminal Appeals Court for failure to abide by a Supreme Court ruling and was referred to the Judicial Inquiry Commission.

On October 22, 2018, Democrat Criminal Court candidate Linda Hall was ruled ineligible to run because she doesn’t even live in Jefferson County. She is also still on the ballot challenging incumbent Judge Teresa Pullium (R).

“Our judicial candidates file ethics reports on time; they actually meet residency requirements; and they don’t use their campaign accounts for personal expenditures,” Chairman Bryant said. “The Republican Party is proud of its judicial candidates and proud of their backgrounds, qualifications and experience.”

Jefferson County has the largest population of any county in the state. In elections since 2008, Jefferson County has voted increasingly Democratic Party even as the rest of the state has grown more Republican on election day.

The Alabama Democratic Party has made turning Jefferson County entirely Democratic the heart pf their “blue wave” strategy. The Jefferson County Democratic Party is targeting Republican incumbents including: Sheriff Mike Hale, District Attorney Mike Anderton, GOP members of the Alabama legislature, and the last remaining Republican judges in Jefferson County.

This is an especially important election because the legislators elected on next Tuesday will redistrict the state following the 2020 Census and incumbent legislators have tremendous influence on how their districts are drawn.

The Jefferson County Republican Party has been running commercials urging their voters to vote straight Republican. In past elections the Jefferson County Democratic Party has done a better job at getting their voters to vote straight ticket and that has really helped in down ballot races like judicial races.

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The general election will be Tuesday, November 6.

The Polls will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. To participate in any Alabama election you must bring a valid photo ID to the polls with you. If you do not have a valid photo ID, you can get a free voter ID from your board of registrars.

Written By

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

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