GOP Runoff Rundown

Jul 17, 2018

Republican voters in Alabama are heading to the polls once again to set the final tickets ahead of November's general election.

They'll be taking part in several heated Republican runoffs for statewide office and in the race for a U.S. Congressional seat in south Alabama.

Armed with an endorsement from President Donald Trump, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is trying to stave off a challenge from former congressman Bobby Bright and a voter backlash over her criticism of Trump during his Presidential campaign.

Roby drew heavy primary opposition and angered some voters in the district when she withdrew her endorsement of Trump in 2016 after the release of the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape. Roby has emphasized her working relationship with the White House as she seeks to overcome that.

Bright, the former mayor of Montgomery, represented the district for two years as a Democrat, but is running this year as a Republican and in a political embrace of Trump.

Bright has painted Roby as an establishment Republican out of touch with her heavily agrarian and military district.

While election officials don't expect a large voter turnout, there are six statewide GOP races on the ballot plus one state school board seat. Here's a look at a few of those races:

Attorney General

In a battle for the GOP nomination for Attorney General, appointed incumbent Steve Marshall is trying to fend off former attorney general Troy King in a particularly contentious race.

King sued Marshall over campaign contributions from the Republican Attorneys General Association, which King alleged violated state law regarding transfers from political action committees. The lawsuit was dismissed.

Both Marshall and King temporarily paused their campaigns following the suicide of Marshall's wife last month. The winner will face Birmingham attorney Joseph Siegelman, who's the son of former Gov. Don Siegelman.

Lieutenant Governor

Alabama Public Service Commission president Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh is facing state Rep. Will Ainsworth of Guntersville in the race for Lieutenant Governor.

Cavanaugh carried 43 percent of the vote to 37 percent for Ainsworth in the three-way GOP primary. Cavanaugh also led all candidates for lieutenant governor in fundraising with nearly $1.1 million in total contributions through April.

The eventual Republican nominee will face Democratic minister Will Boyd in November.

Agriculture Commissioner

In the race for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner, longtime state Sen. Gerald Dial of Lineville will face Rick Pate, a farmer and businessman who's mayor of Lowndesboro. Both candidates portray themselves as farmers. Pate is a cattle breeder west of Montgomery, and Dial says he farms timber.

No Democrats are running, so the eventual Republican nominee is virtually assured of winning in November.

Appeals Courts

Three statewide appeals court seats are also at stake.

Gubernatorial appointee Brad Mendheim and Sarah Hicks Stewart of Mobile are in a runoff for a seat on the nine-member Alabama Supreme Court. Mendheim is a former circuit judge from southeast Alabama who led primary balloting.

Alabama Tax Court Judge Christy Edwards of Montgomery and Baldwin County Circuit Judge Michelle Manley Thomason are competing for the Republican nomination for a judgeship on the five-member Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.

West Alabama District Attorney Chris McCool and Assistant Alabama Attorney General Rich Anderson are also vying for a position on the five-member Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

No Democrat is running for any of the three judgeships in November, so winning the GOP runoff is tantamount to election.