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Municipal elections

Bolin beats Silverstein for Jefferson County Commission seat

The race was technically nonpartisan, but Bolin framed himself as a strong Republican.

Associate Justice Mike Bolin is the Alabama Farmers Federation 2022 Cultivator Award winner. Alabama Farmers Federation

Former Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Mike Bolin won the District 5 special election for the Jefferson County Commission on Tuesday, defeating real estate developer David Silverstein with 59.27 percent of the vote.

Until Thursday, the race was split between three candidates, but Jeff Wise, also a real estate developer, dropped out and endorsed Bolin. Wise told the Hoover Sun he “didn’t want to diminish the Republican vote.”

The race was technically nonpartisan, but Bolin framed himself as a strong Republican as during his judicial campaigns, and Silverstein, running as a nonpartisan, received endorsements from former Senator Doug Jones and Mayor of Birmingham Randall Woodfin, both Democrats.

“I’ve enjoyed the campaign. I’ve reconnected with so many people that it’s been a while since I’ve talked to them, and then I’ve met a lot of new people. And one thing that I truly have learned, as I’ve talked to all the different people from different areas of the district, is that an overwhelming majority of our citizens would prefer less polarization and more collaboration,” Silverstein said.

A total of 9,666 voters in 25 precincts turned out for the special election only set on June 8. The election will fill the District 5 seat resigned by Steve Ammons on May 31 to become CEO of the Birmingham Business alliance. The District 5 seat is responsible for economic development and information technology. Ammons most notably used the position to bring a J.M. Smucker Company manufacturing plant to Birmingham with a $1.2 billion capital investment.

Bolin, 74, retired from the Alabama Supreme Court after he could not run in 2022 due to the mandatory retirement age of 70. He was first elected to the court in 2004, and from 1988-2004, he served as the probate judge for Jefferson County. He has worked mostly in estate law and family and adoption law.

The special election was Silverstein’s first run for a political office. The economic development focus of the seat attracted him based on his history developing projects including the Summit, the Pizitz, and Cahaba Village.

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“It’s been a really enjoyable process. It’s hard for maybe people to believe that, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Silverstein said. “I think we’ve run a really top notch campaign. We’ve kept the high road all the time, and I guess I’ve run on my qualifications and why I think I’m the best qualified candidate for the position.”

Bolin emphasized his lifelong connection to Jefferson County during the campaign. He was born in and attended school in Jefferson County. He attended Samford University as an undergraduate and received his J.D. from the Cumberland School of Law.

Samuel Stettheimer is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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