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After choosing not to run for re-election in 2018, former State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) is challenging incumbent Sen. Tom Butler (R-Madison) to reclaim his seat in Tuesday’s Republican primary for State Senate District 2.

“This is a rematch,” Holtzclaw said. “I was recruited by the Republican Party in 2010 to run against Tom Butler.”

“I term-limited myself to two terms because Butler was a 28-year incumbent,” Holtzclaw said. “I considered a run for Congress, but eventually I decided that Washington politics was not for me.”

Holtzclaw maintains that he is the conservative Republican in the race while Butler “has been a Democrat his entire adult life.”

“He was an Obama supporter and now he is a conservative Republican?” Holtzclaw said.

Although Holtzclaw voluntarily left the state Senate four years ago, he said, “People in the community have reached out to me and asked me to run again.

“Butler has dominated the spending in this race. And yet it is a very tight race and there are a lot of undecideds. Tom has spent $500,000 while we have spent less than $22,000. People that remember me and people that remember Tom as a 28-year Democrat are making this race competitive despite the money difference."

Holtzclaw addressed Butler’s comments about a road project that was halted when Holtzclaw angered then-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) with a billboard.

“Yes, I did put up a billboard, and that was to communicate to my constituents that Bentley wanted to tax military and federal retirements,” Holtzclaw said. “There are 50,000 people in my district with military or federal retirements. Bentley retaliated and had his man, (ALDOT Director) John Cooper, halt the project. That tax failed, and that road project was reinstated.

“My opponent has ads out saying that he cut taxes by $23 million,” Holtzclaw said. “That is the repeal of the business privilege tax. That lowers the cost from $100 to $50 this year and gets rid of it altogether next year. I pay that, and I am grateful that Tom voted to end that, but that does not hit the average family.”

Holtzclaw said that he wants to see an end to the 4% state sales tax on groceries.

“We tried to do it four years ago, but there simply was no way to pay for it,” Holtzclaw said. “Then state revenues were $10 billion. Now they are $13 billion, and they haven’t given any of that back to the people.”

Holtzclaw claims that Butler is not focused on the people.

“The first vote [Butler] did was to raise the gas tax,” Holtzclaw said. “And they have not fixed it. We are stuck in the same traffic jams here that we were four years ago and the only thing that has changed is that we are spending more for gas.”

“I stood up against taxes, Tom passed a gas tax. We still don’t have the roads. They are not even starting the roadwork for two years.”

When asked about the road widening occurring on I-565, Holtzclaw said, “That is not in the district, that is in Arthur Orr’s (District).”

Madison County has leaned much more Democratic than in years prior, particularly evidenced by the 2020 election results. Should Holtzclaw win the primary, he will face Kim Caldwell Lewis (D) in the general election, yet he feels certain he can hold the seat for Republicans.

“I do agree this is more of a purple area than it once was,” Holtzclaw. “But I talk to a lot of people that voted for Joe Biden over Donald Trump and now greatly regret that based on the results. I think that you are going to see a shift dramatically in the other direction. Yes, I am very confident that I can hold this seat for the Republicans.

“What voters should be asking is why the Montgomery insiders have spent $500,000 in a primary campaign. What is it about Tom Butler that makes them so desperate to keep him?”

​Bill Holtzclaw was born in Elaine, Arkansas in 1964.  Orphaned at birth, he lived in a Methodist Children’s Home in Little Rock until he was taken into a foster home at age 5. He was raised by a family in Northeast Arkansas who instilled Christian principles in him.

Holtzclaw served 20 years as a U.S. Marine from 1982 to 2003. In 1999, he moved with his family to Madison to serve as the Officer in Charge of the Marine Corps Ammunition School on Redstone Arsenal. After retirement, he worked as a consultant for the Marine Corps Program Manager for Ammunition and later for Madison Research Corporation as a Contracts Specialist.

​He married his high school sweetheart, Pam, in 1985. They have two adult daughters who are both married.

Holtzclaw graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2006 from Athens State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business and a minor in Procurement and Acquisition Management.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.

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