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Opinion | Political money, moxie and muscle

It’s hard to beat an incumbent. It takes lots of money, moxie and muscle.


It takes money, moxie and muscle to defeat an incumbent. If you run against one, you’d better beat them. It happens fewer times than not, but here are eight exceptions to that rule.

Susan Dubose defeated Rep. Dickie Drake in House District 45 which encompasses portions of Jefferson and Shelby counties. Dubose is a former banker and is active in multiple Republican organizations in Shelby County. She will be the first Hoover resident to win a seat in the Alabama Legislature until Mike Shaw wins House District 47 and he will join her.

Jerry Starnes defeated Rep. Will Dismukes in House District 88 in Autauga and Elmore counties. Starnes is Prattville City Council president. He works for the State Board of Pardons and Paroles and serves as a Lt. Col. in the Army National Guard.

Jennifer Fidler defeated Rep. Joe Faust in House District 94 which is in Baldwin County. Fidler is a businessowner and a seventh-generation Baldwin Countian. She has served the county both personally and professionally over the years in numerous ways.

Mike Kirkland defeated Rep. Tommy Hanes in House District 23 which is in Dekalb and Jackson counties. Kirkland worked for Vulcan Materials for over 30 years in various roles. He has been active in multiple civic and charitable organizations in his district.

Ernie Yarbrough defeated Rep. Proncey Robertson in House District 7, which is in portions of Franklin, Lawrence, Morganand Winston counties. Yarbrough is a self-employed electrical engineer. He and his wife also own a health and wellness business.

Curtis Travis defeated Rep. Ralph Howard in House District 72, which is in parts of Bibb, Greene, Hale, Marengo and Perry counties. Travis is an assistant pastor, builder, retired field representative and manager. He has served on numerous boards and commissions in his community.

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Former Rep. Mack Butler defeated Rep. Gil Isbell who represents House District 28, which is in Etowah County. Butler is an electrical contractor and develops, owns and manages real estate investments.

Jay Hovey defeated Sen. Tom Whatley in Senate District 27, which encompasses Lee, Russell and Tallapoosa counties. Hovey is a banker in Lee County and an Auburn City councilman. He participates in multiple civic and charitable organizations in his community.

These are the eight newcomers who have defeated incumbents and will be joining the Legislature in 2023. They’re hard-working and determined folks. Again, it’s hard to beat an incumbent. It takes lots of money, moxie and muscle. These folks have flexed all three to show they have what it takes to win. Congratulations to them all.

Beth Chapman is the former Alabama state auditor and 51st secretary of state. She now owns and operates Beth Chapman & Associates LLC. She can be reached at [email protected].

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