Parker Snider, Director of Policy Analysis for the Alabama Policy Institute, offers this quick analysis from Tuesday's primary:


Katie Britt, former President and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, and Congressman Mo Brooks advanced on Tuesday in the Republican primary for the Senate seat of Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, who is retiring after forty-two years in Congress.

Britt and Brooks will compete in a runoff on June 21st.  The winner will face Democrat Will Boyd, who received 60% of the Democratic vote, avoiding a Democratic runoff.

Neither Britt, 40, backed by business interests, nor Brooks, 68, a favorite of conservative firebrands, received more than 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff. Mike Durant, a veteran pilot shot down in the 1993 Black Hawk Down incident, came in third place with 23.3% of the vote. Britt led the vote tally with 45.2% followed by Brooks with 28.6%.

During the course of the campaign, each of these three candidates enjoyed frontrunner status at one time or another. According an 1819 News poll, Durant was in the lead just two months ago. A flurry of negative campaign advertising and spending by outside groups likely contributed to his failure to make the runoff.

Monday night, Durant hinted at an endorsement of Brooks if he were to miss the runoff, calling the Britt campaign “corrupt” and that he would “absolutely support Congressman Brooks” over Britt.

If Durant’s supporters follow him towards Brooks, the Britt campaign might have a challenge even with the support of established state interests. The first post-election poll will offer a better sense of where Durant's supporters go after Tuesday. Brooks’ political baggage and long history of controversial comments may push some to the more genteel Britt. How the Brooks and Britt campaigns position themselves in the runoff to capture these voters will be something to watch. Britt needs considerably less to win outright, making her the favorite to win in June.


Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night is that incumbent Governor Kay Ivey will not face a runoff election to keep her position as governor. Tim James, a businessman and the son of former Alabama Governor Fob James, and Lindy Blanchard, a former Trump-appointed ambassador to Slovenia who had previously been a candidate in the Senate race, had been vying for second place with the assumption, based on recent polls, that a runoff was inevitable.

That determination proved to be incorrect. As of early Wednesday morning, Ivey received 54.7% of the vote, followed by Blanchard with 19.3% and James with 16%. Other candidates, like businessman Lew Burdette, scored below 10%. Burdette earned 6.3% of the votes while the fifth-place candidate, pastor Dean Odle, earned 1.8%.

The failure of the eight opposing candidates to force the sitting governor into a runoff will likely have repercussions, possibly galvanizing Ivey forces in Montgomery to continue to support her power and influence in the State House.

Ivey will be faced in November by the winner of the Democratic runoff. Educator Yolanda Flowers, who earned 33.1% of the vote and State Senator Malika Sanders-Fortier, who earned 32.8% of the vote, will compete in a runoff in June.

Attorney General

In the race for Attorney General, incumbent Steve Marshall received 89.77% of the vote in the Republican primary over Harry Bartlett Still III, who received 10.23%. Still was a relatively unknown candidate.

Supreme Court

Greg Cook defeated Debra Jones in the race for Supreme Court Place 5 Tuesday night by a vote of 54.8% to 45.2%. This race was seen by some as a proxy battle between the trial lawyers, who supported Jones, and the business community, who supported Cook. Regardless, most states do not elect judges, who are hypothetically neutral, by party affiliation.

Secretary of State

State Auditor Jim Zeigler and Wes Allen, a member of the state House of Representatives, will meet in the June runoff in the race for Secretary of State, an office currently held by Secretary John Merrill. Zeigler received 42.6% of the vote while Allen received 39.7%.  Zeigler has served as Auditor of Alabama since 2015 and was term-limited from seeking that post again. Prone to controversial remarks that garner national media attention, Zeigler is a former Democrat and career politician who was first elected to statewide office at the age of 24. Even so, the fact that Allen was able to force a runoff with Zeigler, who boasts high name recognition, proves him to be a formidable opponent.

State Auditor

State Representative Andrew Sorrell and pastor Stan Cooke advance to the June runoff in the race to become the Republican nominee for state auditor. Sorrell received 39.8% of the vote followed by Cooke with 31.9%. Former State Senator Rusty Glover received 28.2% of the vote. Cooke has run for State Auditor in the past against Zeigler. Whether he can shift the playing field and defeat Sorrell is unseen, as Cooke may have a ceiling of around 32%, the same percentage of the vote he received in 2018 when facing Zeigler.

Legislative Races

Overall, most incumbents were able to win over their challengers in their respective primaries.

Senate District 2 appears to remain in the hands of Sen. Butler who received 59% of the vote over challenger and immediate predecessor of that office, Bill Holtzclaw, who received 41% of the vote.

In Senate District 15, first-term incumbent Dan Roberts appears to have fended off challenger Brian Christine, earning 58.4% to Christine’s 41.6%.

One Senate district seeing the incumbent struggle is District 27, where incumbent Senator Tom Whatley and Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey are within ten votes of each other. Mr. Hovey is currently at 50.01% of the vote with Mr. Whatley at 49.99%. Mr. Whatley has consistently scored poorly on the API Watchlist, its legislative scorecard.

There are a few exceptions to the incumbent rule in the House as well. Rep. Proncey Robertson lost his seat to challenger Ernie Yarbrough by less than 1,000 votes in District 7. Rep. Tommy Hanes lost his seat to challenger Mike Kirkland. Incumbent Rep. Dickie Drake also lost to GOP activist Susan DuBose in District 45 by a margin of, as of this writing, over 50%.

In House District 88, embattled Representative Will Dismukes, who rejected pleas to resign on multiple occasions, lost to challenger Jerry Starnes by a vote of 62% to 38%.

Five-term member of the House Jeff Faust lost his bid Tuesday to challenger Jennifer Fiddler by a vote of 63% to 37%.

Proposed Amendment 1

Amendment One, which allows the state to go into debt to pay for Alabama state park improvements, was approved by a vote of 77%% to 23%. This year, the Alabama state government had a budget surplus of over $1.5 billion, making the issuance of new debt questionable at best as already existing funds could have easily been used to improve state parks.

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