The Alabama Republican Executive Committee met for its annual winter meeting Saturday. Following adjournment of the full executive committee, the candidate committee heard challenges. Senate District 12 candidate Wendy Ghee Draper survived her challenge.
The persons challenging the candidate’s status as a Republican were given five minutes to make their case and the candidate being challenged was given five minutes to defend against the allegations.
Her detractors pointed to donations that Draper has made to four Democratic candidates in the past in 2002 and 2006 and point out that her father, former State Sen Doug Ghee, was a Democrat with many past donations to Democrats and the Alabama Democratic Party itself. Draper was even treasurer of her father’s last campaign, and she presently works as a law partner with her father.
Republican Executive Committee member former State Rep. Perry O. Hooper Jr. (R-Montgomery) defended Draper.
Hooper told 1819 News that when he was raising money for former President Donald J. Trump’s (R) campaign, Draper made a donation and was an enthusiastic Trump supporter.
“It’s great to be a Wendy Draper Republican,” Hooper said. “This sweet lady right here is all about God, country, family, and the Republican Party and I am proud of her, and she will be a great Senator for the great state of Alabama.”
Draper will face Keith Kelley and Wayne Willis in the Republican primary for SD12.
There was also a challenge against Secretary of State candidate Ed Packard who previously ran for Secretary of State in 2006 as a Democrat.
Hooper also praised the committee for upholding Packard’s candidacy.
Packard will face Wes Allen, Christian Horn, and Jim Zeigler in the Republican primary. Incumbent John Merrill (R) is term-limited from running again.
Public Service Commission candidate Johnny Hammock successfully survived his ballot access challenge. Hammock was arrested in January, in Orange Beach, for domestic violence. He claims that he was acting in self-defense.
Hammock faces Stephen McLamb, Jeremy H. Oden, and Brent Woodall in the Republican primary. Oden is the incumbent.
Not everyone was so lucky.
Teresa Rhea had qualified to run against incumbent State Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre). She has been removed from the ballot. Jones now faces no opponent in the Republican primary for SD10.
Trip Powell III had qualified to run against incumbent State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa). Powell has been removed from the ballot. Allen now faces no opposition in the Republican primary for SD21.
Anson Knowles had qualified to run in House District 10 (HD10). Knowles has been removed from the GOP ballot.
“The campaign has discovered the source of the ballot access challenge,” Knowles said. “A group of Montgomery RINO's are claiming that Anson isn't a Republican. The Montgomery establishment really doesn't want an independent thinker like Anson in the AL House.”
Knowles is the former chairman of the Madison County Young Republicans.
David Cole is now unopposed in the Republican primary for the open HD10 seat. Incumbent State Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison) is not seeking re-election.
The party has until March 8 to finalize its ballot. That is when the Secretary of State’s office certifies the Republican and Democratic ballots and sends them to the printers ahead of the primaries.
The Republican primary will be on May 24, 2022.
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