Alabama Democratic Primary voters narrowed the field for governor down to two in Tuesday’s Democratic primaries. Only 223 votes separated the two frontrunners, according to unofficial election returns. Yolanda Rochelle Flowers will face State Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier (D-Selma) in the Democratic primary runoff on June 21.

“This is it, Alabama!” Flowers said. “We took a step in the right direction! Yolanda Flowers has advanced to the primary runoff election! We must now meet the moment that is before us and press on toward the mark.”

Yolanda Flowers had 56,859 votes, 34% of the vote, while Malika Sanders-Fortier had 54,636 votes or 33%.

Flowers lives in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Birmingham. She is a former teacher and a retired rehabilitation services professional.

Sanders-Fortier has been the frontrunner when qualifying closed, but her campaign got off to a slow start and she had been trailing in the polls, so her strong primary election day performance surprised some political observers.

“This is the day the Lord has made. I shall rejoice in it,” Sanders-Fortier said after the election victory. “Thank you, Lord. Just five short days ago, the polls indicated I couldn't make a runoff. But God...Thank you, everyone, for going to vote on election day. See you at the Polls on June 21st, 2022. In less than 30 days. 

“I've had my grandmothers- Mother dear and Ola Mae Sanders on my mind a lot this morning,” Sanders-Fortier said. “In honor of these southern ladies, I put on some Magnolia perfume that especially reminded me of Mother Dear this morning. I met a Ms. Gussie recently who is 92 years old. She inspired me because she was so inspired to work on my campaign.  She said it gave her a reason to get out of bed each morning. She was so amazed that I was even running. I told her that there were three Christian African American women in the race. She said, "In Alabama?" I said, 'Yes ma'am.' It just reminds me on this day that my grandmothers couldn't even fathom such a thing. And yet here I am by the grace of God. The grit of my grandmothers. I honor, love, and miss you today Mother Dear and Grandma Ola Mae.”

Sanders is the daughter of longtime State Sen. Hank Sanders (D-Selma). When Hank unexpectedly retired from the legislature, Sanders-Fortier ran and won her father’s seat in the Alabama Senate. She is an attorney.

Patricia Salter-Jamieson came in third.

The Democratic primary for Governor will be on June 21.

The Democratic primary had far fewer participants than the Republican. Democrats must do a better job of energizing their base and must expand that base if they hope to unseat incumbent Kay Ivey (R) in the Nov. 8 general election.

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