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Seven candidates qualify for Senate District 26 special election


The Alabama Democratic Party and the Alabama Republican Party on Tuesday announced the names of the candidates who have qualified for a special election in state Senate District 26 to replace former Sen. David Burkette, D-Montgomery, who resigned and pleaded guilty in July to a misdemeanor count of misusing campaign funds. 

Among those who qualified to run for Burkette’s old seat is his wife, Linda Burkette. Others who qualified to run are:

  • State Rep. TaShina Morris, D-House District 77
  • Former Alabama broadcast reporter and former Montgomery County Democratic Party Chair Janet May
  • Former state Rep. John Knight, who lost the race for the seat to Burkette in 2018
  • State Rep. Kirk Hatcher, D-House District 78
  • Deborah Anthony, a retired research analyst for the Alabama Legislature and former candidate, who also lost to Burkette in 2018

In the general election, the Democratic winner — who will be the overwhelming favorite regardless of who emerges — will face Republican William Green.

District 26 voters have become accustomed to voting.

When Quinton Ross resigned in 2017 to take over as the president at Alabama State University, it set off a series of hotly contested campaigns between Burkette and Knight, who fought it out in four elections in 2018. In total, Montgomery voters participated in six elections for the seat in less than a year.

And now, less than two years later, they’ll start the process over again.

Burkette on June 1 pleaded guilty to improperly using campaign funds, according to court records made accessible on Monday. Burkette also agreed to pay a $3,000 fine and to not run or accept a public office for 10 years. Burkette has been the focus of an ethics investigation for more than a year.

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According to the plea agreement, “the state agrees to stand silent as to the imposition of a jail sentence, and the Defendant may argue against any jail sentence.” 

Burkette agreed that he intentionally failed to deposit $3,625 in campaign donations — collected between April 2015, and January 2016 — into his campaign account, and instead deposited the money into his personal bank account, according to the agreement. 

Montgomery County District Judge Tiffany McCord on Monday granted a continuance and set a hearing for his plea agreement on Sept. 21, according to court records.

Gov. Kay Ivey set the special election for Senate District 26 for Tuesday, Nov. 17, and the special primary runoff, if necessary, for Tuesday, Dec. 15. The special general election is set for Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

APR reporter Josh Moon contributed to this report.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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