The Alabama Republican Party candidate committee will meet today at 10:10 a.m. by Zoom to reconsider a challenge in Alabama’s contested Senate District 27 race between incumbent State Sen. Tom Whatley and challenger Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey.

The committee had previously awarded one contested provisional ballot in Tallapoosa County to Whatley making the race a tie to be decided by drawing lots. Since then, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has produced evidence claiming that the voter, identified as Patsy Kenney, did not have a valid photo ID at the time and thus could not be a lawful voter. The committee will reconsider its decision based on the new information.

Alabama Republican Executive Committee member and former State Rep. Perry O. Hooper Jr. (R-Montgomery) expects the committee to take the vote away from Whatley, giving Hovey a one-vote victory in the primary.

“Substantial compliance is not the standard to count a vote,” Hooper said, citing his father’s successful challenge of a general election for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. “Complete compliance is. You also cannot change the rules after an election.

“The Democratically controlled courts in Alabama were trying to overturn my Dad’s election as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court by counting absentee ballots that were not properly witnessed. They were claiming substantial compliance was the standard. As the courts ruled, it is not. In the Senate District 27 race, the voter in question did not register to vote prior to the election as confirmed by ALEA. This also has been confirmed by Secretary of State John Merrill. This is the law and should be followed.”

Hooper warned that if the Republican Party appears to override the results of a primary election then they risk losing the Senate District 27 seat to Democratic challenger Sherri Reese in the Nov. 8 general election, due to voter fallout. Hooper compared this situation to the 1986 gubernatorial race when the Alabama Democratic Party took a primary runoff win away from then-Attorney General Charlie Graddick and gave it to then Lt. Gov. Bill Baxley.

“I hope and pray that the steering (committee) only counts legal ballots,” Hooper said. “Many of us remember what happened when the Democratic Party took the nomination away from Charlie Graddick and gave it to Bill Baxley. The Republican Party does not need to make the same mistake.”

Then-Cullman County Probate Judge Guy Hunt was elected Governor by the people of Alabama in 1986 over Baxley. It was the first win for a Republican gubernatorial candidate since Reconstruction in the 1870s.

1819 News is monitoring this situation.

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