While members of the Baldwin County Commission won’t be up for re-election until 2018, a rumor about current chairman Tucker Dorsey’s name is already circulating. Dorsey believes the rumor is intended to harm his political career.

Dorsey, who is currently serving his second four-year term on the commission after being first elected in 2010, said a rumor alleging he legally changed his birth name from Tucker Dorsey Wilsey to Jasper Tucker Dorsey is partially true.

Before leaving for the Farnborough International Airshow near London last week, Dorsey told Lagniappe he legally changed his name in 1989 in Georgia for a personal family reason. According to Dorsey, when he was growing up in Georgia his grandfather, Jasper Dorsey, was his father figure. He said the rumor that he changed his name to avoid legal trouble or some other nefarious purpose is not true.

“I’m aware of a conspiracy theory going around about me in which people are saying I changed my name and moved here to avoid some kind of legal trouble, and that’s simply not true,” Dorsey said. “It is my family business and I don’t appreciate the people who spread these things for some political purpose.”

Dorsey was born in Atlanta and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1989, according to his bio on the Baldwin County Commission website. He said he legally changed his name to Jasper Tucker Dorsey, the name of his grandfather Jasper Dorsey, when he was old enough to do so in 1989.

“I was born Tucker Dorsey Wilsey and you can look at the records in Georgia and see I was never in any legal trouble or anything,” Dorsey said. “I’m not trying to hide anything.”

Lagniappe could not independently verify the legality of the name change but did not find evidence of arrests or legal troubles for Dorsey from that time period. Dorsey said he expected the rumor about his name to surface ahead of the 2018 commission election.

In Alabama, candidates for political office are not required to divulge information about their birth history so long as any name change was done legally, according to Ed Packard, the elections director for the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office. However, Packard said candidates are not permitted to run for office under an alias or assumed name.

“The candidate need only file qualifying papers using his or her legal name,” Packard said in an email. “A candidate is required to run using his or her legal name. However, a candidate may also use a nickname that he or she goes by combined with his or her given name or family name or surname.”