Stage is set for Alabama primary races

Published 9:06 am Wednesday, May 30, 2018

There are more than 100 candidates running for a number of federal, state and local offices in Alabama’s June 5 primary. Many of them face stiff competition from within their own party, while others will not see opposition in the primary, but will have to face different party and independent candidates in the Nov. 6 general election.

Out of all the races being decided on next week there are seven statewide races, including races for governor, secretary of state and attorney general positions that warrant discussion.

Also up are lieutenant governor, state auditor, state treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and industry and chief justice.

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Here is a look at Republicans, Democrats and Independents who will appear on the ballot next week for the governor’s primary race, along with candidates for lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general:


With multiple candidates in the governor’s race, it is extremely possible that no one candidate in either party will get more than 50 percent of the vote, thus triggering a runoff.

One of the Republican front-runners is incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey, who took over from previous governor Robert Bentley in 2017 after serving several years as his lieutenant governor. Since taking office, Ivey has focused on three priorities: education, job creation and infrastructure. As the incumbent Republican candidate, Ivey touts herself as a “conservative fighter.”

There are four other candidates vying for the Republican nomination: Tommy Battle, Scott Dawson, Bill Hightower and Michael McAllister.

Battle is the current mayor of Huntsville and has consistently been re-elected to the position since he first took office in 2008. His campaign has focused on a number of topics, from 2nd Amendment rights and abortion to workforce and economic development and infrastructure.

Dawson is an author, pastor and founder of the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association and lists better leadership, education and the economy as some of his top concerns.

Hightower is a current member of the Alabama Senate, representing the 35th district. He wants to reform the tax code, enact term limits and protect the unborn, among other planned reform policies.

On the Democratic side, there are six candidates vying for the nomination: Sue Bell Cobb, Chris Countryman, James C. Fields, Jr., Walt Maddox, Doug Smith and Anthony White.

Cobb is the former Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court, the first woman to hold the office in the state’s history. If elected, she listed her priorities as children & families, bringing in quality jobs to the state and improving infrastructure, among others.

Countryman, running on the slogan “Rethink Alabama,” has promoted issues ranging from job creation and retention to budget reform and financial accountability.

Fields served in the state House of Representatives from 2008 until 2010 and has said he would promote many issues including health care, education and agriculture.

Maddox has served as the mayor of Tuscaloosa since 2005. His tenure as governor would see a focus on jobs,
infrastructure, health care and education.

Smith previously ran as the Democratic candidate for state Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries in 2014. He lost the general election to Republican John McMillan. He has focused his campaign on improving the economy and getting the state to grow.

White is an ordained minister and former member of the armed forces. He listed his main points of business as jobs, Medicare and Medicaid expansion, education and letting citizens vote for or against a statewide lottery.

There are two Independent candidates in the race for governor, Mark Johnston and Chad Martin. Both men are already scheduled to appear on the general election ballot in November.


Three Republicans and a single Democrat are seeking the position of lieutenant governor. The position has sat empty since 2017 when then-Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey was named governor.

Democrat Will Boyd, running unopposed, is the presiding Bishop of Zion Ministries and the eighth pastor of St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in Florence. He plans to fight for a stronger economy, affordable health care and quality public education.

The three Republican candidates include Will Ainsworth, Twinkle Cavanaugh and Rusty Glover.

Ainsworth is the current state Representative for District 27. He is running on a platform centered around making the government smaller, smarter and more honest.

Cavanaugh has been a member of the Alabama Public Service Commission since 2010 and its president since 2012. She describes her campaign as pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment and has said she is committed to being a good steward of the state’s tax dollars.

Glover is a former member of the state House of Representatives and is currently the state Senator for District 34. He has stated several times that as lieutenant governor, he can influence legislation that will reflect a smaller government approach.


With multiple candidates from both parties, the June 5 primary will either see nomination decision made or a runoff needed.

The Republican party is being represented by John Merrill and Michael Johnson.

Merrill is the incumbent Secretary of State, being elected in 2015. He has dealt with a number of voting issues in his tenure, including voter access, voter ID and poll monitoring problems.

Opposing Merrill is Michael Johnson, who has worked as a programmer and security analyst and is the current Marshall County Revenue Commissioner. He has stated many times his desire to apply his technical and administrative experiences to an office vital to citizens and society.

For the Democratic ticket, Lula Albert and Heather Milam are seeking the nomination.

Albert previously lost to Merrill for the position of Secretary of State. She wants to increase voter turnout and simplify the process for new business startups.

Milam, a self-described progressive candidate, is passionate for voters’ rights and wants to keep all citizens informed of the government’s activities.


Four Republicans and two Democrats are seeking the office of attorney general.

On the Republican side, incumbent Steve Marshall faces competition from Chess Bedsole, Troy King and Alice Martin.

Marshall was sworn in last year, succeeding Luther Strange during his run for senator against Roy Moore. He plans to maintain his position on several issues, including the opioid crisis, immigration and federal overreach.

Bedsole is a lawyer and criminal court judge who has spent the last few years working with President Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He wants to aggressively lower violent crime in cities, cut illegal drug sales, empower law enforcement with more resources and less red tape and hopes to restore integrity to the office.

King was the Attorney General of Alabama from 2004 to 2010. He was appointed to the statewide position by Republican Governor Bob Riley in 2004 following the resignation of William Pryor to accept a federal judgeship before being officially elected two years later. In the 2010 primary election, King was defeated by attorney Luther Strange.

Martin is a former U.S. attorney and has served as the Chief Deputy & Deputy Attorney General in Alabama for the last five years. Issues she sees as important include 2nd Amendment rights, corruption, illegal immigration and the opioid crisis.

The Democratic party has put forward Chris Christie and Joseph Siegelman.

Christie has 30 years of experience as a trial attorney in civil and criminal courts. His priorities include defending seniors, consumer protection and victims’ rights.

Siegelman is a Birmingham attorney and the son of ex-governor Don Siegelman. He has stated he will always put the people of Alabama first, ahead of Montgomery politics and special interests.