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Republicans dominating minor district races

Among the over 100 candidates set to appear on the June 5 primary ballot, many are Republicans without any Democratic opponents. Thus, once the primary is over they will be the presumptive winner of the seat when the November general election comes around, only needing one vote to secure the seat.

While the statewide and local races are important and have a more varied field of contenders, many of the district races are dominated by the Republican Party. Those races include: for associate justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for Place 1 and 4, civil appeals court judge for Place 1 and 2, criminal appeals court judge for Place 1, 2 and 3 and public service commissioner for Place 1.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE ALABAMA SUPREME COURT PLACE 1

This race has three contenders: Debra Jones, Brad Mendham and Sarah Hicks-Stewart.

Mendham is the incumbent, having been appointed by Governor Kay Ivey to replace former Justice Glenn Murdock, who retired.

Jones is the Place 3 judge for the Alabama 7th Judicial Circuit, winning her first term in 2010. Judge Jones seeks to bring balance to the Court.

“It does not matter if one is a trial lawyer or a business lawyer. What matters is what the constitution says about the issues. I strictly apply the constitutions of Alabama and of the United States. In my courtroom, everyone is treated fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” she said.

Hicks-Stewart, Place 7 judge on the 13th Circuit in Alabama, was appointed in 2006 by Gov. Bob Riley. She touts her experience as judge, her record of honesty and fairness and a promise to be a conservative jurist.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE ALABAMA SUPREME COURT PLACE 3

Only two candidates will appear on the ballot for this race: John Bahakel and Jay Mitchell.

Bahakel is an attorney that previously ran for District 43 of the Alabama House of Representatives. According to his website, he believes the state needs a judge who believes in justice for all with honesty and integrity, a judge who will adjudicate and not legislate from the bench with a broad background of experiences.

Mitchell is an attorney with a lot of experience with the Republican Party.

“We need strong conservatives on the Alabama Supreme Court – and that’s what I’ll be,” he stated on his website. “My judicial philosophy will be simple and straightforward – What does the law say? Because that’s how I will rule.”

CIVIL APPEALS COURT JUDGE PLACE 1

Three Republican candidates have come forward for this race: Christy Edwards, Pat Thetford and Michelle Thomason.

Edwards is a judge on the Alabama Tax Court. She has pledged to apply the laws as written in a clear and consistent manner so that the people and businesses of this state understand their rights and obligations.

Thetford is the former Place 11 judge on Circuit 10, taking office in 2015. He lost his re-election campaign in 2016. He said his experience, conservative values, reputation for fairness and temperament were reasons to support him.

Thomason is a Baldwin County District Court judge. Experience, knowledge and integrity are her campaign’s main focuses.

CIVIL APPEALS COURT JUDGE PLACE 2

Chad Hanson and Terri Thomas are the two Republican contenders for this position.

Thomas is the incumbent in this race, having been initially elected to the position in 2006. She touts her record as a good reason for re-electing her to office.

Hanson is a Birmingham attorney and seeks to serve his community on a larger scale and lead the state back to the conservative principles on which it was founded.

CRIMINAL APPEALS COURT JUDGE PLACE 1

Two men are seeking the Republican nomination: Richard Minor and Riggs Walker.

Minor is a Pell City attorney who has held several local government positions, including St. Clair County District Attorney.

“I would use my 25 years of experience and make sure that each opinion is easily readable and understandable to the parties, their attorneys, and the public at large. In faithfully interpreting and enforcing the law, voters can be assured that I will not legislate from the bench,” he has said.

Walker is the current Deputy District Attorney, 10th Judicial Circuit, for Jefferson County. He claims that lack of legal experience or ignorance of the law on the bench increases the tax burden to Alabama citizens, and he will be the umpire to Alabama state courts that ensures everyone a fair trial.

CRIMINAL APPEALS COURT JUDGE PLACE 3

There are three people seeking this nomination: Rich Anderson, Chris McCool and Dennis O’Dell.

Anderson and Assistant Attorney General. He is focused on increasing confidence in the court system.

McCool has served in various leadership roles during his more than two decades as a prosecutor. He is running on his integrity, experience and conservative values.

O’Dell is the current Place 4 judge on the 23rd Circuit Court in Alabama, appointed by Gov. Bob Riley in 2010. His campaign is promoting his judicial service, work experience and his work in the community.

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, PLACE 2

Chris “Chip” Beeker and Robin Litaker are the Republican candidates seeking this position. There is a Democratic candidate, Kari Powell, who goes unopposed in the primary and will face the Republican primary winner during the November general election.

Beeker is the incumbent, having won a seat in 2014. Prior to his election, he owned and operated Beeker Catfish and Cattle Farms in Eutaw.

Litaker is a political newcomer, having worked as an educator for many years. Litaker said she is committed to personal transparency and accountability.