Earlier this week, The New York Times published an op-ed by Auburn University creative writing professor Anton DiSclafani, who claimed credit for incumbent State Sen. Tom Whatley's (R-Auburn) one-vote loss in last month's Senate District 27 Republican primary contest against Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey.

DiSclafani, a self-proclaimed "left-leaning Democrat," said she found Whatley's policies and legacy "abhorrent" and felt compelled to crossover and vote in the Republican primary to defeat him.

Whatley has challenged the outcome with the Alabama Republican Party, which will be heard by its steering committee later this month.

In a statement provided to 1819 News early Thursday, Whatley criticized the DiSclafani's op-ed and claimed 422 voters who participated in "multiple" Democratic primaries voted in last month's SD27 Republican Party primary.

"I am greatly disturbed by the New York Times story and the victory lap that is being taken in the press and on social media by Democrats who purposefully crossed over in our election to disrupt the Republican Party," Whatley said. "Our campaign has identified 681 people in Senate District 27 who have never voted in a Republican Primary prior to the May 24, 2022 election. Of those 681 people, 422 people have voted in multiple Democrat Primaries since 2016 and, for the first time in 2022, just voted in the Republican Primary. The overwhelming majority of those 422 voters, a total of 398 people of them, are from Lee County, the only county that my challenger won.

"Now more than ever, we are seeing our elections violated and the process hijacked by bad actors committing fraud to ensure that they weaken the Republican Party. If it is the will of the Republican voters to vote me out of the office, then so be it. However, it is clear that Liberal Democrats are involved in our party's process of electing candidates which will only benefit their beliefs and values and not the beliefs of Conservative Republicans. If I am returned to office, I promise I will make election integrity my number one priority in the next session by re-introducing party registration in our state. I sponsored the bill, now law, that banned cross-over voting in our run-offs, and my record of demanding accountability and transparency in our election process is clear."

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