Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate recently announced his endorsement of Supreme Court Justice Sarah Stewart in her campaign to be Alabama's next chief justice.

Alabama has several pivotal elections upcoming in 2024.

Five of the nine positions on the Alabama Supreme Court are on the ballot in 2024 due to Alabama's staggered six-year terms for state judges. The position of chief justice is also an open seat since current Chief Justice Tom Parker is prohibited from running again due to his age. State law prohibits a person from running for a state judgeship if they are over 70.  

Pate, serving his second term as agricultural commissioner, announced his Stewart endorsement on Tuesday.

"I wholeheartedly endorse Justice Sarah Stewart for Chief Justice," Pate said in a statement. "I met Sarah campaigning in 2017 and immediately liked her. She had an openness to her and a caring attitude that has made us good friends. I believe Sarah would always be fair and protect our rural and agricultural rights."

Stewart was elected as a Republican justice in 2018 after spending 13 years as a Mobile Circuit Court Judge. Stewart is a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School and the University of Arkansas.

"I am grateful for the support and endorsement of Commissioner Rick Pate," Stewart said. "As I have traveled our state on the campaign trail, I've assured voters that I will continue to fiercely safeguard our freedoms enshrined in the Constitution – from the right to praise God freely to the power of state government. I will join Commissioner Pate in his efforts to defend our farmers and rural Alabama."

Currently, Stewart faces former State Sen. Bryan Taylor (R-Prattville) for the GOP nod.

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