2014 General Election Update
Republicans Still Rule Statewide Offices
The state of Alabama is still overwhelmingly red, especially at the statewide office level.
Republican Incumbent Governor Robert Bentley trounced Republican, turned Independent, turned Democrat Parker Griffith 64 percent to 36 percent. The race was called within five minutes of the polls closing.
Lt. Governor Kay Ivey also cruised to victory over Democrat James Fields, garnering 63 percent of the vote.
The most closely watched statewide race for Attorney General ended up being less of a race than predicted. Republican Incumbent Attorney General Luther Strange bested Montgomery Democrat Joe Hubbard 59 percent to 41 percent. The race was particularly ugly with each candidate exchanging jabs via press release and commercials leading up to Election Day. Strange accused Hubbard of taking too much money from the Poarch Creek Indians (Hubbard received approximately $1.5 million from the tribe) and being an “Obama liberal.” Hubbard claimed Strange was light on crime and focused too much on fighting gambling. In the end, voters sided with Strange, giving him another four years as the state’s top attorney.
Republican Tuscaloosa Representative John Merrill won the office of Secretary of State with 64 percent of the vote. Jim Zeigler, former Public Service Commissioner and perennial candidate, defeated Birmingham Democrat Miranda Joseph with 63 percent of the vote to win the office of State Auditor. Republican Incumbent John McMillan also easily won his seat back as Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries with 65 percent of the vote.
Republicans Strengthen Super Majority in House and Senate
Just when we thought the State House and Senate could not get any redder, Alabamians voted to send even more Republicans to Montgomery.
In the House of Representatives, Republicans picked up three seats, bringing their total to 72 out of 105 total seats.
Republican Phillip Pettus defeated first-term Democrat Greg Burdine for House District 1, which includes the northwestern corner of the state. Pettus is a retired state trooper and current volunteer fireman.
Daniel Boman (D – Sulligent) was elected as a Republican in 2010 and switched parties early in 2011. Republican Kyle South, who garnered 75 percent of the vote on Tuesday, easily defeated Boman to become the Representative for House District 16. South’s district includes parts of Tuscaloosa, Fayette, Lamar, and Jefferson counties.
Democrat John Robinson from Scottsboro, a 20-year veteran of the House, lost to Republican challenger Tommy Hanes Jr. Hanes will serve House District 23, which includes the most northeastern corner of the state.
Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R – Auburn) won reelection easily and will run for Speaker again in the next quadrennium. Jim Carns (R – Vestavia) has said he will also run for Speaker. The new Speaker will be elected during the organizational session in January.
Republicans in the State Senate also gained ground, bringing their total to 26 out of 35 total seats.
The most surprising outcome of the night came in Senate District 6. Long-time legislator Roger Bedford (D – Russellville) was trailing political newcomer Dr. Larry Stutts by approximately 60 votes at last count. Bedford was first elected in 1982. The vote count is unofficial, and there will likely be a recount. District 6 covers all of Franklin and Colbert counties and parts of Lauderdale, Lawrence, and Marion counties.
Republican Dr. Tim Melson from Florence won the open seat for Senate District 1, which was previously held by Tammy Irons who did not run for reelection. Melson defeated former Representative Mike Curtis to win the seat that covers parts of Limestone, Lauderdale, and Madison counties.
Republicans picked up another open seat in Senate District 22, which was previously held by Marc Keahey who did not seek reelection. Greg Albritton defeated Democrat Susan Smith by a margin of more than two to one. District 22 covers parts of Baldwin, Escambia, Monroe, and Conecuh counties.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R – Anniston) easily won reelection over Democrat Taylor Stewart. Marsh will likely be reelected as Pro Tem during the organizational session.
Alabama Congressional Delegation Still Majority Republican
The only new face to the Alabama Congressional Delegation comes on the heels of Representative Spencer Bachus’ retirement. Republican Gary Palmer, who won a hotly contested primary race and runoff, received 76 percent of the vote on Tuesday to represent U.S. House District 6, which covers Jefferson, Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Coosa, and Shelby counties.
All of the other Alabama Delegation members were reelected easily.
Despite the lack luster Congressional races, Alabama became a big winner when the GOP took over the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
When the Senate convenes in January 2015, Senator Richard Shelby will be the seventh most senior member of the entire U.S. Senate body. He will also Chair the Senate Banking Committee, an A-list committee, and become the second ranking Republican on Appropriations.
Not to be outdone by Senator Shelby, Alabama’s junior Senator Jeff Sessions will rank 18th or 19th in seniority and will Chair the Budget Committee, also an A-list committee.
No other state in the nation has two chairmen of A-list committees.
Inauguration, Organizational and Regular Legislative Sessions
Inauguration Day is scheduled for January 19, 2015. Elected officials including the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and other statewide officials will likely begin fundraising immediately for inauguration related events.
The Alabama Legislature will organize in early January. During the organizational session, members will elect leadership, including Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tem, and leadership will name committee chairmen and membership.
The 2015 legislative session is set to begin on March 3, 2015.