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Chambley drops out of superintendent race with plans to re-enter as Independent

VALLEY — The Chambers County Superintendent race is looking a bit different as of Friday afternoon as two of the candidates will not appear on the primary election ballot.

Republican candidate Casey Chambley has officially withdrawn from the race after learning Tuesday he would not be able to qualify for the primary election, according to Greg Ward, Republican Party Chairman. Democratic candidate Winford Ashmore also learned he would not qualify for the race on the Democratic side of the ticket.

According to the Alabama Secretary of State office, any person attempting to run for superintendent must have a signed certificate from the state superintendent of education, proving they hold a certification of administration and supervision. That certificate had to be turned into the Chambers County Probate Judge’s office by Dec. 12.

Chambers County Probate Judge Paul Story said Friday he has not received such certificates for Chambley, who currently serves as the vice principal of Valley High School, and Ashmore.

Story said that as of Friday afternoon, Republican incumbent Dr. Kelli Hodge was the only candidate on the primary ballot in March for superintendent.

Chambley said Friday that his staff would release a statement at a later time. However, he told the Valley Times-News that Ward told him Tuesday that he didn’t have the certification from the state superintendent, meaning he couldn’t qualify.

However, Chambley said he is qualified, and he plans to qualify for the November 2020 general election as an independent.

“We are formulating a plan within the group,” he said. “I am running for superintendent.”

According to Alabama statute, to qualify for a county superintendent, one must have experience as a school administrator; hold an Alabama certificate in administration and supervision; had at least five years of experience in public schools at the time they assume office; provide proof to the state of three years of experience as a teacher, principal supervisor, superintendent, educational administrator or instructor in school administration during the five years preceding the election; and must obtain a degree from a four-year college or university.

The statute also says the person elected as county superintendent does not have to be a resident of the county in which they are running.

Grace Newcombe, press secretary for the Alabama Secretary of State, declined to comment about what documents weren’t submitted or how it happened but said that according to the  state, some qualifications might be missing.

“It is our understanding that some of the candidates in Chambers County may not have met all of the qualifications aforementioned,” Newcombe said in an email.