Lee County pastor, evangelist, and schoolmaster Dean Odle has announced that he is running as a write-in candidate for governor in the Nov. 8 general election.

Odle was the first candidate to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor and he campaigned for over a year. Despite campaigning for 21 months, Odle finished in fifth place in the May 24 Republican primary with just 11,273 votes (1.8% of the Republican votes cast). Republican primary voters chose to renominate incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey for another term to lead the state. Ivey received 339,664 votes (54.8%) to best her eight Republican primary challengers without a runoff.

Odle was harshly critical of Ivey’s administration during the campaign and has refused to endorse the GOP choice for governor.

“'Anybody but her," said Odle. "I am not voting for Kay Ivey.' I heard this over and over from people across the state during my two years of campaigning for governor of Alabama. Out of the thousands of people I interacted with, I only ran into a handful of people who said they were voting for Kay Ivey. Many others who traveled our state campaigning or working in various political groups have stated they heard the exact same sentiment. So how did Kay Ivey win the primary election without a run-off? Did people forget about her gas tax, her unnecessary and unconstitutional shutdown of businesses, churches and schools, her mask mandate, and her harsh, false accusations against the 'unvaccinated folks?'”

Odle has expressed doubts about his low vote totals and Ivey’s coasting to an easy victory despite the millions of dollars in campaign ads thrown against her and her refusal to participate in any of the gubernatorial debates.

“Or did compromised voting machines, lack of election security, and crossover Democrat votes get Kay Ivey (s)elected?” Odle hypothesized. “Since the primary election on May 24th, many Alabamians have expressed that they do not believe that Kay Ivey legitimately won without a run-off. Likewise, many do not believe that I only received 11,720 votes. Late in the evening of May 24th, CNN showed that I had 11,771 votes and yet the final tally reported by NPR the next day had me finishing with 51 LESS votes. In fact, all of the totals were different at the end of the night.”

Alabama’s voting machines do not connect to the internet and Ivey’s 54.8% finish was very consistent with what polls predicted she would do. 1819 News' polling showed Ivey with 57.7% support.

There is nothing in Alabama law to prevent Democrats from voting in Republican primaries and nothing to prevent them from voting for the candidate of their choice in the general election.

On the Nov. 8 general election ballot voters will have the choice of Ivey, Democrat Yolanda Flowers, Libertarian James “Jimmy” Blake, and independent Jared Budlong. Odle will not be on the ballot. If there are enough write-in candidates to make a difference, then the poll workers will physically take those ballots out of the stack and count them to see who the voters wrote in: Odle or some other candidate. Unlike a primary, the winner does not need over 50% to win. The candidate who simply has the most votes will be the governor for four years.

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

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