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Primary season ends: Guide to Alabama’s major candidates and frontrunners

Here are profiles of the major candidates and frontrunners for both parties in Alabama’s statewide and federal office primaries.

(STOCK)

Another contentious primary season comes to a close Tuesday as Alabamians go to the polls across the state to select party nominees for the 2022 midterm election scheduled for Nov. 8.

Due to the Republican Party’s supermajority in state government and Alabama’s status as one of six states still maintaining the straight-party voting option on election ballots, the state’s Republican primary offer likely voters the best opportunity to choose who steers and represents the state in Montgomery and D.C. after the election in November.

Polls open statewide at 7 a.m and will remain open until 7 p.m this evening. Those who are in line by 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

The website of the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office provides information on polling locations and sample ballots. A list of candidates running for office is available here.

Below are the major candidates and frontrunners for both parties in Alabama’s statewide and federal office primaries.

Governor — Republicans

Gov. Kay Ivey (Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager)

Kay Ivey (I)

Just over five years since she ascended to the Governor’s Mansion following former Gov. Robert Bentley’s resignation, Ivey is seeking a second term. Elected for a full term in 2018, she is the first Republican woman to serve as governor of Alabama and the second woman, behind Democrat Lurleen Wallace, to hold the state’s highest office. Ivey began her re-election campaign in June of 2021, touting the economic, infrastructural, and educational achievements of her first term. An anti-abortion Christan conservative who supports gun rights, Ivey’s preceded over a term that saw the lowest unemployment in state history yet saw further attempts to reduce the rights of LGBTQ Alabamians and access to abortions statewide.

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Republican Senate candidate Lynda Blanchard, a former ambassador to Slovenia.

Lindy Blanchard

After switching to the gubernatorial race, with rumors circulating that former President Donald Trump would endorse her if she jumped races, Blanchard positioned herself as a “conservative outsider,” pro-small business and school choice candidate. Blanchard, a former U.S ambassador to Slovenia during the Trump administration, has since come out against the gas tax, abortions, and critical race theory in schools.

Tim James, a candidate for governor

Tim James

This primary marks the third attempt by James to reach the office his father, former Alabama Gov. Fob James, was elected to in 1995. A staunchly conservative and Christan candidate, James has spent a considerable amount of time campaigning defending “Judeo-Christian values” and has attacked the rights of transgender children, medical marijuana, and the legalization of gambling. Like Blanchard, James has called for the repeal of the state gas tax.

Lew Burdette. Photo taken from Burdette’s campaign video.

Lew Burdette

Representing the underdog Republican candidate for governor, Burdette is a former CEO of Books-A-Million for 13 years and founder of Christan non-profit King’s Home, a group home for youth who have been the victims of domestic abuse, homelessness, and neglect. Compared to other candidates, Burdette is a moderate-conservative who maintains a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment stance that mirrors other Republican candidates. He stands out in his grassroots campaigning and focus on strictly Alabama issues, as opposed to other candidates who focus on nationalized issues.

Governor — Democrats

Yolanda Flowers

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Yolanda Rochelle Flowers

Flowers is running on a platform of a near-total reconstruction of Alabama’s political and social systems. An educator and speech pathologist from Birmingham, she is a graduate of Birmingham city schools who holds a master’s in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Tennessee. Her issues include expansion of Medicaid, increased funding for Alabama’s public schools, and the formation of a civilian review committee, called a Justice League team, to observe state activity in prisons and on the parole board.

Malika Sanders-Fortier

Malika Sanders-Fortier

The daughter of nine-term state Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, who replaced him in the Alabama Senate in 2018, Sander-Fortier announced earlier in January that she would seek a higher office, with her father running for his former seat. Like her father, Medicaid expansion is foremost in her platform, alongside advocacy for water and sewer infrastructure for rural communities lacking adequate systems and criminal justice reform for the state prison systems. A one-term state senator, Sanders-Fortier sponsored a bill during the previous legislative session to modify the name of Selma’s historic Edmund W. Pettus to include “Foot Soldiers” in the official title, honoring the civil rights marchers attacked on the bridge by police in 1965. The bill failed.

U.S. Senate — Republicans

BCA – The Evening for Progress 2019

Katie Boyd Britt

A conservative Christian apprentice and former chief of staff of outgoing U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, Britt has skillfully maintained a traditional Republican appearance and platform while occasionally dipping into the realms of Trumpism. A lawyer and former CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, her campaign has consistently called for tighter immigration policy, greater tax cuts and job creation, and support for restrictions on abortion. Gaining the endorsement of a number of key members of the Republican Party, along with numerous conservative groups and organizations, many in conservative circles see her as the rightful successor to Shelby in Washington.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., walks up the House steps for the vote to censure Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Mo Brooks

First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011, the first freshman Republican elected in the Alabama 5th Congressional district since Reconstruction, Brooks is the only Republican candidate for U.S. Senate to have been previously elected to Congress from Alabama. One of former President Donald Trump’s most stalwart supporters, both supporters and detractors acknowledge Brooks is far to the right of most members of Congress. Brooks was the first congressman to announce his intentions to vote against the certification of the 2020 presidential election results and has since become a major figure in the ensuing legal battles and congressional investigations into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S Capital. Trump, who previously endorsed the candidate, notably withdrew his endorsement for Brooks, though this has not stopped his campaign from using the endorsement.

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Alabama Senate candidate Mike Durant. (VIA DURANT CAMPAIGN)

Mike Durant

Known primarily as a combat veteran and U.S Army helicopter pilot who was captured by Somalia militia during the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, Durant has maintained his political outsider status since first announcing his run for Senate. A businessman and military consultant based in Hunstville, Durant has come out against abortions, present immigration policy, and has said President Joe Biden was “not rightfully elected.” Durant has self-funded himself during the majority of his campaign for office and has trended alongside Brooks in the polls despite relatively few public appearances. Yet, questions regarding his treatment of his sister in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of his father have haunted his campaign for months.

U.S. Senate — Democrats

Will Boyd

Will Boyd

Boyd is the pastor of St. Mark Baptist Church in Florence and a former Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor and the U.S Congress. Originally from Florence, South Carolina, Boyd is a member of the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee and has been a mainstay in Democratic Party politics in Lauderdale County. His platform was unique among Democratic candidates for federal office in his support for pro-labor legislation and unions.

5th Congressional District — Republicans

Dale Strong

Dale Strong

A self-described “Trump Conservative,” Strong has pledged to continue Trump’s legacy on Capitol Hill by adopting many of the former president’s positions on the economy and illegal immigration. An active member of the Monrovia Volunteer Fire Department, Strong was at one time the youngest Republican official elected in Alabama, serving as commissioner for District 4 on the Madison County Commission. He has since become chairman. Strong believes that “raising taxes is not an option” and supports law enforcement.

Paul Sanford

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Paul Sanford

Sanford was born into the Gibson culinary family and worked as a chief and restauranteur before being first elected to the Alabama Senate in 2008 and serving until 2018. Like Strong, Sanford believes in “Common sense conservative solutions are needed to reignite the economic growth we experienced under President Trump.” And also shares similar beliefs to the former president on illegal immigration. In addition, he is pro-life and a supporter of the defense industry within District 5.

Attorney General — Republicans and Democrats

Attorney General Steve Marshall at the Back the Blue BBQ at the Cooks Museum of Natural Science Tuesday July 27, 2021 in Decatur, Ala.

Steve Marshall

Elected for the first time to a full term in 2018 after being appointed to fill the vacancy created by former attorney general Luther Strange, Marshall is vying for his second term as Alabama attorney general. Marshall’s ligation over confederate statues, challenging a curb-side voting allowance in Alabama all the way to the U.S Supreme Court, and aiding in a successful nationwide settlement awarding funds to victims of the opioid crisis in Alabama. Since revelations that Marshall led a dark money organization that helped organize the protests that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. have come unearthed, and he has publicly refused to acknowledge sitting President Joe Biden’s election victory.

Wendell Major

Wendell Major

Major is running unopposed on the Democratic ticket for Alabama attorney general, making him the de-facto party choice for the position. A former Marine and member of the Alabama bar, he is a lieutenant in the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. The brother of former state representative Eric Major, D-Fairfield, he has run previously for Alabama Senate in 2006.

Secretary of State — Republicans and Democrats

Secretary of State candidate Wes Allen.

Wes Allen

A sitting state representative and former probate judge, Allen’s platform includes a hardline stance against mail-in voting, no-excuse absentee ballots, early voting, and other election processes he describes as causing “chaos and confusion in other states.” While in the House, Allen sponsored a bill to ban curbside voting in Alabama, with Gov. Ivey signing the bill in May of 2021.

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Secretary of state candidate Ed Packard

Ed Packard

The only candidate in either party’s primary to have worked in the Secretary of State’s Office, Packard has previously served as state election director for Alabama. Packard’s campaign emphasized’ post-election audits after elections and the prohibition of telecommunication devices in voting machines. Previously running and losing to then-incumbent Democrat Nancy Worley in 2006, Packard presided over a critical election mistake in 2016 where nearly 3 million electoral ballots required reprinting after the language of a proposed state amendment was found to be incomplete. Sexual harassment allegations, alleged in a personal file in the secretary of state’s office, continue to dog his campaign as the primary concludes.

State Auditor Jim Zeigler

Jim Zeigler

As the outgoing state auditor, Zeigler toyed with a potential run for governor before exiting to join the secretary of state race. An opponent of same-day voter registration and expansion of the voting period, Zeigler had continued to run on harder line elections compared to term-limited incumbent John Merrill. Zeigler has run for office unsuccessfully seven times.

Christian Horn

Christian Horn

Former University of Michigan football player and business owner in Hunstville, Horn would be the first African-American elected to statewide constitutional office in Alabama. A staunch conservative and founder of the Tennessee Valley Republican club, he has campaigned against “woke” politics and in support of greater election integrity.

Pamela J. Laffitte

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Pamela J. Laffitte

A 24-year veteran of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office and former Air Force reservist, like Horn, Laffitte would be the first African-American elected to statewide constitutional office in Alabama. Campaign on the expansion of voter rights, in stark contrast to Republican candidates for the Secretary of State’s Office, Laffitte supports curbside voting, early voting, and automatic voter registration. She is the lone Democratic candidate for secretary of state. 

State Auditor — Republicans

Stan Cooke

Stan Cooke

Having run unsuccessfully for state auditor during the previous election cycle, Cooke continues to run on a rigid conservative platform calling for stricter examinations of purchases with state tax dollars and the annexation of the examiner’s office into the auditor’s Office. Cooke, a pastor at Kimberly’s Church of God, also believes in a greater role for the state auditor in elections and has continued falsehoods about the voter fraud claims during the 2020 presidential election.

Rusty Glover

Rusty Glover

A former Alabama Senate majority whip and three-term state senator, Glover, like Cooke, campaigned for greater ballot security and an increased role of the state auditor in Alabama elections. A retired teacher, Glover emphasized the selection of members for the county Board of Registrars and his commitment to “diligently take up this selection process in a manner that supports the integrity of Alabama’s elections.”

Andrew Sorrell

Andrew Sorrell

Like the other candidates before him, Sorrell strongly supports increasing the role of the state auditor in Alabama elections, emphasizing the selection of registrars. Sorrell, a state representative for Muscle Shoals and member of the Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee, ran on as a “social and fiscal conservative,” stating that his time in the Alabama House has “prepared me for this position.”

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Written By

John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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