Updated: Jul 20, 2022
More Poop Than Scoop
The recent Alabama state Senate race for District 27 was one of the most talked about elections during the Alabama Primary season. When the polls closed on June 21st, the unofficial results showed that Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey (R-Auburn) led by four votes over incumbent State Senator Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), Chairman of the Alabama Senate's Judiciary Committee. After the runoff provisional votes were counted, it came down to just a one vote margin of victory for Hovey. Not so fast my friends.
As has been widely reported, Tom Whatley's team tried to get the state Republican Party (ALGOP) to count the provisional vote of a woman who thought she had registered to vote. On Saturday, June 25th, they were successful getting that vote counted at a ALGOP committee meeting. Based on the "final" decision reached at that meeting, the race became a tie, with the outcome to be decided by the flip of a coin. That meeting proved to be a major blunder.
On Sunday, June 26th, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) released a statement indicating that the voter had not completed the registration process prior to the runoff election date. That position was backed up by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill. If the ALGOP committee made the decision to count that vote without first speaking with ALEA, or John Merrill, that was a puzzling decision ... at best.
After the ALEA information came out, Jay Hovey's team asked the ALGOP to reconsider their decision regarding that illegal vote. The ALGOP committee agreed to a meeting set for Saturday, July 2nd. The day before that meeting was to take place, Whatley conceded the race. At that Saturday meeting, the ALGOP declared Jay Hovey the winner.
The Alabama Republican Party, chaired by John Wahl, made a mockery of the District 27 election process.
In the much publicized Alabama U.S. Senate race, Chairman Wahl was unable to secure a debate. Instead, Alabamians got a barrage of annoying and misleading TV ads. There should be some accountability for Alabama Republican voters. Don't hold your breath.
Who Were the Other Losers?
Hovey's victory was a huge win for the underdog candidate. Whatley outspent Hovey in the race by a margin of over 10 to 1 with Whatley spending just over $1 million to just over $100k for Hovey. Notable Whatley donors included WALPAC (Walmart), nationally known political activist Koch Industries, Alabama Hospital Association PAC, Medical Association of Alabama PAC, Southern Strategy Group PAC, and NEWPAC. Not a great return on their investments.
As the incumbent, Jay Hovey will have an opportunity to decide if he wants to represent the people of his district, or these powerful groups who lobby our state legislators.
Because the ALGOP actions were done behind closed doors, the backroom story is mostly untold. At this point, only a few know and they are not talking ... yet. For now, we have more poop than scoop.
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Alabama Free Press