Late Wednesday night, the Alabama Republican Party announced is would grant a request from State Senate candidate Jay Hovey, who asked for a rehearing of the Alabama Republican Party committee that ruled Hovey tied with incumbent State Senator Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) in the May 24 primary.
“The Alabama Republican Party has granted a motion for re-hearing in the election contest between Jay Hovey and Tom Whatley,” the Party said in a short statement. “Hovey’s request is based on a statement that was released by ALEA approximately 24 hours after the initial hearing concluded. Election security and making sure that every vote is counted properly is of paramount importance to the Alabama Republican Party.”
Hovey won the certified vote count by just one vote in the May 24 Republican Party primary, but those results were challenged by Whatley. The committee ruled on Saturday that Patsy Kenney’s provisional ballot for Whatley should have counted making the race a tie. The eventual nominee would have then been chosen by casting lots.
Hovey’s petition for a rehearing was based on new information provided by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) claiming that Kenney was not a lawfully registered voter in Alabama. At the time of the primary election, Kenney did not have a valid photo ID because her Alabama driver’s license request was not granted following her move from Georgia due to vision issues, according to ALEA.
Hovey’s attorney, Al Agricola, said in his filing that the ALGOP should grant a rehearing because, “This public statement from ALEA was not available to either party previously. On rehearing, the Committee should find that the provisional ballot in question was not due to be counted, and Hovey’s one-vote victory certified by the Chairman in the Senate District 27 primary election should be accepted as correct.
“This new evidence also conclusively explains why Mrs. Kenney’s husband, who applied for his Alabama Driver License at the same time as Mrs. Kenney, was registered to vote in Tallapoosa County on primary election day. David Kenney received his Alabama Driver License when he applied on April 28, 2022. As a result, Mr. Kenney’s name was sent to the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office for his change in voter registration under the procedure ALEA outlined in its Press Statement.”
Whatley has argued that as many as 440 normal Democratic primary voters voted in the Republican primary to elect the more moderate Hovey.
A professor at Auburn University has acknowledged in a New York Times column that he did lead an effort to encourage leftists and Democrats to vote in the May 24 Republican primary in order to prevent the conservative Whatley from being reelected.
District 27 includes parts of Lee, Tallapoosa, and Russell Counties.
“The ALGOP will release additional information once the committee has reached a decision,” the party said in its statement.
The eventual Republican nominee will face Democrat Sherri Reese in the Nov. 8 general election.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.
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