Just six months ago, Dr. Allen Long had no idea he would be running for office in Alabama. But Tuesday night, the Republican brought home a victory after a short campaign for the State Board of Education, District 7 seat.

Long, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor, will fill the spot of Belinda McRae, who did not seek re-election.

Although he is not a K-12 educator, Long has taught medical students on a limited basis. He also served on the Board of Trustees at the University of North Alabama in Florence for 12 years and on the Board of Trustees for a private Christian school for 15 years.

“I have been blessed to live and be in a country that has offered tremendous opportunities and freedoms, and I would hope that the next generations can enjoy a similar prosperity as well as freedoms and a desire to live where they want to live and work where they want to work,” Long told 1819 News.

Since Long decided to run for the school board late in the game, he called on an old friend to help. State Auditor Andrew Sorrell, who has experience in campaigning, was happy to help Long because he said he believed in him wholeheartedly.

“He’s a true outsider,” Sorrell said about his friend of 15 years. “I think the fact that he is a medical doctor and not an education, but he is in business, is what makes him so great for the job.”

Sorrell, who has consulted in campaigns for others and held his own campaigns, said when Long approached him about a consultant in November, all of the people he knew were already spoken for. So, Sorrell took on the responsibility himself. But what he experienced next was both unexpected and unheard of.

“I think $273,000 raised for a school board candidate has to be some kind of record,” Sorrell explained. “Especially because he got into the race so late. Like, in June, he had no idea he was going to run for office. He contacted me on November 10.”

Sorrell said Long did a lot of the work himself. He made phone calls and fundraised on his own. Then, when ALFA endorsed Long in January, the campaign took off. But Long gives much of the credit to Sorrell.

“I know of no one who I hold in a higher esteem as far as his ability and integrity,” Long explained. “He sacrificed hours and never asked for a penny for a consultant fee. My campaign would have never been successful without his help. I am thrilled to have had him help me. It was an opportunity and a blessing and couldn’t been done without his help.”

The campaign earned a six-figure amount in December, followed by over $46,000 in January. In all, the campaign had 300 unique donors who gave an average of $900 each.

The two pals watched each other work long hours to make a successful campaign.

“It was through his planning and his strategic planning, and it was unbelievable,” Long remembered. “He is a planner, and he had the idea in his mind before we even had the first real conversation about it. He had spreadsheets for everything you can think of. To me it was amazing.”

“He did an incredible job fundraising,” Sorrell said. “And how? I think they believed he could win and that he would actually do the things he said he was going to do.”

Long spread the word about his campaign thanks to the thousands of donations to his campaign.

Part of his campaign was a TV ad titled “Keep Woke out of Alabama Classrooms.” Sorrell said he was so invested in the campaign he volunteered for his family to be featured in a commercial.

“There’s not many people that I would do that for, but he is worth it,” Sorrell told 1819 News. “It was a whole family effort to support him.”

Long, also a farmer, has life experience and business experience that Sorrell believes the people of Alabama need.

“I think people like that are needed,” he added. “I think the people said, ‘Maybe we need someone who is a small business person and a medical doctor, and maybe we should try that on the state school board.

“He also ran on issues that Republican voters care about – school choice, curriculum transparency, keeping the woke out, the elimination of common core,” Sorrell continued.

After the win, Long told 1819 News he would keep his campaign promises and protect future generations.

“We live in the greatest country in the history of the human race with more opportunities and freedoms than anywhere else,” Long said. “We should celebrate that but we also have to protect that and I think education is a big part of it.”

No Democrats ran for District 7.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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