Ivey wins Governor’s race, Jones heading to Montgomery

While statewide results were still being tabulated, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey delivered a victory speech after receiving a call of concession from Democratic challenger and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

The Associated Press called the race in Ivey’s favor shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday evening, making her the first governor in Alabama history to assume the role in the middle of a predecessor’s term and defend the position in the following election. She is also the first female elected to the position since 1966.

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After being in state politics more than 30 years, previously as lieutenant governor, Ivey assumed her current role after former Gov. Robert Bentley resigned in 2017. She has since made “righting the ship of state” a large part of her campaign.

After the race was called, Ivey told supporters at a watch party in Montgomery her election signaled voters wanted “to keep Alabama on the right track, and keep Alabama working.”

Despite a consistent lead in every major poll throughout the campaign, Ivey told supporters the odds had been against her throughout the race. She also made a joke about questions raised about her health on the campaign trail.

“Some folks said I’d never make it across the finish line, and others said I was on my last breath, but nothing could be further for the truth” Ivey said. “Not only did we finish, but we finished strong and we’re just getting started.”

Ivey also said that she plans to work with lawmakers in her first full term, adding “open communications between the legislative and executive branches matter.” She said her team in the Governor’s office would continue to focus on “being effective.”

“Alabama’s best days are just ahead of us,” Ivey said. “I’ve always said that the one simple goal I’ve had as a public servant is When I walk away, I want to leave things in far better shape than when I started. With your help, We’ll continue to make Alabama an even better place to raise a family, own a home and create a business.”

During a concession speech in Tuscaloosa, Maddox congratulated Ivey and pledged to work with her as the leader of his city going forward.

“We need unity more than division. We need innovation and ideas more than political discord,” Maddox said. “Right now Alabama needs a leader, and that leader is Governor Ivey.”

Lieutenant governor
Republican Will Ainsworth defeated Democrat Will Boyd.

Attorney General
Incumbent Republican Steve Marshall defeated Democratic challenger Joe Siegelman.

Secretary of State
Incumbent Republican John Merrill defeated Democratic challenger Heather Milam

State auditor
Incumbent Republican Jim Zeigler defeated Democratic challenger Miranda Joseph.

State House District 99
After serving as both Mobile mayor and a county commissioner Sam Jones will be taking political office in Montgomery. Jones will defeat GOP nominee Charles Talbert in the race for state House District 99. As of 9:59 p.m., Jones had 73 percent of the vote to Talbert’s 27 percent.

Jones will replace veteran Democratic lawmaker James Buskey, who will retire. Jones said his focus will be on criminal justice reform, tax reform, mental health reform and prison reform.
Specifically, he said he’d like to alternative programs designed for non-violent offenders to help them more easily transition back to society.

Jones said he looks forward to getting to work in Montgomery and hopes to help be a unifying force for the good of the state.

As for the win, Jones said “it feels great” even though the dynamics are a bit different than with local elections.

“There was a primary election and then a general election and you had people voting along party lines,” he said. “It worked out well. I’m pleased with the results.”

Senate District 32
Baldwin County’s newest state senator is a former county commissioner. Republican Chris Elliott said he’s already received a concession call from Democrat Jason Fisher for the state Senate District 32 seat.

As of 10:08 p.m., Elliott led Fisher with more than 75 percent of the vote. Being a commissioner has helped Elliott to this point in his political life, he said.

“I think the commission prepared me on the issues,” he said.

As a senator, Elliott said he’d focus on making sure Baldwin County got its fair share of tax revenue on the state level. He said he’s already started building relationships with representatives from other counties and helped to educate some on the county he serves.

As for other issues, Elliott said he expects to see a statewide push for a lottery during his first year and the question will be where is the money going to be dedicated. He said he expects to see a infrastructure bill take shape as well, but it’s important to examine what it will look like.

House District 97
Rep. Adline Clarke appears to have secured her second full term in the Alabama House of Representatives by fending off Republican challenger Stephen McNair. As of 10: 30 p.m., Clarke had 65.5 percent of the votes cast in District 97, while McNair had only managed 34.5 percent.

Clarke was first elected to the House in a 2012 special election following the death of longtime Democratic Rep. Yvonne Kennedy. She ran unopposed for her first full term in 2014, and if the current results hold, will be heading to Montgomery for four more years.

Clarke currently serves as the House Democratic Caucus Whip and was also named “Legislator of the Year” by the caucus in 2017. Calls made to two of Clarke’s telephone numbers on election night were not immediately returned. McNair has yet to address the results.

Clarke’s campaign officially claimed victory shortly after 11 p.m. In a post on her Facebook page, Clarke shared a photo of herself holding balloons reading: “Thank you, House District 97!”

House District 104
Rep. Margie Wilcox soundly defeated Democratic challenger Arlene Easley to retain her seat in Alabama’s 104th House District. With all precincts reporting, Wilcox had secured nearly 69 percent of the votes cast compared to Easley’s 31 percent.

On her Facebook page after the results came in, Wilcox wrote:”Thank you so much for each and every vote. I love representing district 104 in the Alabama House. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

House District 94
With 87 percent counted, Rep. Joe Faust will defeat Democratic challenger Danielle Mashburn-Myrick.

Baldwin County Commission
With 96 percent of the vote counted in Baldwin County, Joe Davis and Billie Jo Underwood both win contested seats on the commission. They will join Skip Gruber and Jeb Bell, who both ran unopposed.

Mobile County Circuit Judge Place 6
In perhaps the only close race locally or statewide, the contest to replace Circuit Judge Sara Stewart, who is departing for the Alabama Supreme Court, went down to the wire.

However, in the end, Republican Candidate Brandy Hambright appears to have bested her Democratic opponent, Mobile Municipal Judge Karlos Finley. With all 89 precincts reporting, Hambright secured 52 percent of the votes cast to Finley’s 48 percent.

If the result holds after certification, Hambright will be one of two new circuit judges on the Mobile County Circuit bench in the new year.

Hambright, who defeated Harry Satterwhite in a tight runoff race in July, has been a partner at the Hicks, Matranga & Hambright firm since 2006 and has roughly 20 years of courtroom experience under her belt. She has focused much of her practice on criminal defense law.

Regardless, her campaign was endorsed by Mobile Public Safety Director Jim Barber and retired Circuit Judge and former Alabama Attorney General Charles Graddick. Reached by phone earlier this evening, a representative of Hambright’s campaign said they were not yet claiming victory in the contest. Finley’s campaign has also not conceded at this point.

“We have been campaigning for 18 months through a primary, a run-off and now a general election, and we’re absolutely elated at the number of voters that came out today to vote and to support the political process,” Hambright told Lagniappe. “We’ve run a positive campaign on qualifications and experience, and we’re extremely excited to have prevailed.”

Fairhope referendum
Voters in Fairhope soundly rejected a referendum for a new form of government. After more than 800 residents signed a petition over the summer to force a ballot measure, 58 percent of voters declined to adopt a council-manager form of government.

Jason Johnson, Dale Liesch and Gabriel Tynes contributed to this report. See the the Nov. 14 issue of Lagniappe for additional commentary and analysis.