By Brandon Moseley

Qualifying for the 2022 ballot opened a week ago for the Alabama Democratic Party, but the Democrats' only declared candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, former Brighton Mayor Brandaun Dean, said he is having trouble with coming up with the party’s qualifying fees.

Qualifying to run on a major party ticket means paying the party a qualifying fee for the privilege of representing the party on the ballot. That fee is typically 2% of what the job would pay for one year. In the case of U.S. Senate, which is $174,000 a year, the amount is $3,480 – more than Dean said he can pay.

Dean has sent a letter to Alabama Democratic Party Chairman, State Rep. Christopher John England of Tuscaloosa, asking for a hardship waiver from the fee requirement.

“I am a recent survivor of homelessness and exile and for those reasons, among other socially disabling realities, prevent me from being able to secure these fees,” Dean wrote.

In lieu of paying the $3,480, Dean is asking England to allow him to qualify for ballot access using ballot access signatures - .75% of the registered voters in Alabama, which translates to over 25,000 signatures of registered Alabama voters.

Dean was removed from his post as Brighton Mayor after a court, at the urging of Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill (R), invalidated his election and ordered a new election. A distraught Dean did not run in the new election.

Dean said he only has about 45 days of funds for rent and other necessities.

The Alabama Democratic Party has had trouble finding statewide candidates for this election cycle.

The party’s only other qualified candidates for a statewide race are in the governor’s race. Enterprise businessman Chad “Chig” Martin and Yolanda Rochelle Foster have both qualified.

Incumbent Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) is retiring, so this is an opportunity for the Democrats to pick up an open seat in the U.S. Senate.

Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL05), businesswoman Jessica Fair Taylor, former Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt, and U.S. Army veteran Mike Durant are all running for the office on the Republican side.

Major party qualifying ends at 5:00 p.m. on Jan. 28. Persons interested in qualifying for one of the myriads of offices that are available in 2022 should contact the Alabama Democratic Party for more details. Qualifying for the Alabama Republican Party will not open until Jan. 4.

The Democratic and Republican primaries will be on May 24, 2022.

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