Democratic voters on Tuesday went to the polls in the Alabama special Democratic primary for House District 78 in Montgomery County and at this point, it appears that two candidates have advanced to a runoff.
Kenyatté Hassell had 554 votes, which is 48.13 percent of the votes cast, just short of the 50 percent plus one needed to avoid a runoff. He will face Donald “Don” Williams who had 265 votes, or 23.02 percent, in the runoff on June 22.
Terance “Watchdog” Dawson received 218 votes, or 18.94 percent. Roderick Thornton got 114 votes, or 9.90 percent. There were only 1,151 votes cast with 100 percent of boxes reporting.
The provisional ballots still have to be cast, but that is not expected to change the outcome.
Loretta Grant was the only Republican to qualify, so there was no need for a Republican primary. Grant will face the eventual winner of the Democratic primary in the special general election on Sept. 7.
“We spent last weekend talking to voters and hearing their concerns about District 78,” Hassell said.
“I would like to thank everyone who came out and voted for me,” Williams said in a statement. ‘I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.” “I stand before you now and I say I still am the best candidate and as we move forward in the future I will point out to you that I am.”
The House District 78 seat became vacant when Rep. Kirk Hatcher, D-Montgomery, won the special election for Senate District 26 on March 2. Hatcher defeated the venerable Alvin Holmes for HD78 in 2018. Holmes served HD78 in the House for 44 years. This is a Democratic-leaning district.
Hassell, age 43, is the director of Young Life and a barber. He was recently Kirk Hatcher’s campaign manager.
Williams is the former director of existing industry at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. He previously worked as the Human Resource at Simcala Inc. and is the former CEO and owner at Dynamic Employment Solutions LLC.
Whoever ultimately wins the special general election will serve the remainder of Hatcher’s term and then will have to run for re-election next year. HD78 will have to be reapportioned and redistricted, like the rest of the Legislature, before next year, so HD78 could look significantly different in 2022.