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Motion to dismiss filed, hearing set in House District 10 election challenge

David Cole’s election to the Alabama House has been challenged due to allegations that he didn’t meet residency requirements.

Newly-elected state Rep. David Cole is asking a Madison County Circuit Court judge to dismiss an election challenge that claims he didn’t meet residency requirements to run for office. 

A hearing on the motion to dismiss is set for Dec. 19 before Judge Ruth Ann Hall. 

In the filing, Cole’s attorneys, Al and Barbara Agricola, say that the challenge is due to be dismissed because Cole has already been sworn into office, and as such, the state legislature should now determine any election challenge. 

“Plaintiff/contestant is not left without remedy, but his remedy lies with the legislative branch, not the judicial branch,” the filing reads, after citing the pertinent section of the Alabama constitution that grants the House of Representatives authority to determine challenges to the “elections, returns and qualifications of its members.” 

Libertarian candidate Elijah Boyd filed the challenge to Cole’s election in House District 10, claiming that Cole’s residence of record at the filing deadline was in House District 4. 

APR reported extensively on Cole’s residence issues. The address Cole claimed when filing with the Alabama GOP to run for District 10 was a home owned by a friend of the Cole family. The friend and his wife still live in the residence and Cole’s campaign said they never moved out. 

Instead, David Driscoll, Cole’s campaign manager, said that Cole and his family – wife and three children – moved in with the friend at their four-bedroom home, leaving behind their own four-bedroom home in District 4 that the Cole family still owns. 

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Cole and his family were observed at the District 4 home on numerous occasions over the last three months. Driscoll said the Coles planned to sell the home and downsize, but more than a year after allegedly moving out of the home, it is not up for sale. 

A TV reporter for a Huntsville-area station said last month that he observed holiday decorations at the home when he stopped there in an attempt to contact Cole about the residency issue. 

Regardless of his residence issues, Cole won the election for the District 10 seat, beating Democratic challenger Marilyn Lands, 51.6 to 44.9. As is custom in Alabama, he was sworn into office on the following day. Boyd managed 3.5 percent. 

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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