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The anecdotal evidence of Democrat crossover voting in last month's State Senate District 27 Republican primary that resulted in a one-vote loss for incumbent State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) to Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey continues to accumulate.

In an op-ed published in Monday's edition of The New York Times, Auburn University creative writing professor Anton DiSclafani took credit for Whatley's single-vote loss.

"I'm a left-leaning Democrat, but on May 24, I voted on the Republican ballot in Alabama's primary election," DiSclafani wrote. "The state's primaries are open, which means Democrats can request a Republican ballot, and vice versa. Alabama is a deep red state, and I wanted some say in electing the officials who will represent me, because they will almost all certainly be Republican. And have a say I did: Tom Whatley, the state senator for my district, finished behind Jay Hovey by a single vote.

"I voted for Mr. Hovey because I find Mr. Whatley's policies and legacy so abhorrent. If I hadn't cast my vote on a Republican ballot, the two men would be tied. The walk from my car to the polling station seemed long because I was 38 weeks pregnant, and the heat of our Southern summer was already in full force."

DiSclafani's claim could prove helpful in Whatley's bid to claim the GOP nod from Hovey.

During an appearance on "Rightside Radio" last week, Alabama Republican Party chairman John Wahl said these types of considerations would not be part of the challenge the state party steering committee will hear later this month. Wahl did say, however, that the party reserved the right to "challenge a nominee at any time."

Earlier in the day, Whatley put out a statement urging Republican party officials to be vigilant against Democrat crossover voters in Tuesday's primary.

"In 2017, I was proud to sponsor and pass the bill banning cross-over voting," Whatley said. "Primary Elections are about members of a political party selecting their candidate for the general, to intentionally vote in a primary for a party that you don't support is fraud against that party. In reviewing data from previous elections, my team discovered that more than 30 people in Lee County alone voted in the 2020 Democratic Primary Election and then were allowed to vote in the 2020 Republican run-off election. I consider it to be unacceptable for this number to be anything but zero. I have always been a champion of election integrity and it is important that the people voting tomorrow know that their elections are protected."

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

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