The Alabama Republican Party will hold a hearing this week to determine a Mobile-area candidate’s qualification to hold office.
State House District 102 candidate Chris McNeil is facing a challenge from Mobile County Republican Party Executive Chairwoman Terry Lathan based on his residency.
McNeil, a local businessman, lives on the dividing line between districts 101 and 102. He’s claiming residency in the 102nd district based on a portion of his property that extends into the district. In addition he has argued that his daughter goes to school in District 102 and that he owns a business in the district.
“We are prepared for the hearing on Friday,” McNeil said by phone on Monday. “We feel like the committee will rule in our favor.”
State GOP Chairman Bill Armistead said the hearing is set for noon Friday in Birmingham.
Lathan said she didn’t want to comment on the situation.
“I think since the challenge is in front of us, I need to let it play out,” she said.
McNeil accused the county party of favoring his opponent Jack Williams and trying to ensure his victory.
“All the party is trying to do is align with Jack Williams,” McNeil said.
McNeil said he was contacted by the state party after he qualified, but was allowed to remain in the race. He said the county party is doing the electorate a disservice by challenging his residency.
“The worst thing is when the party is trying to take the choice away from the people,” McNeil said. “Any time the party takes away the people’s right to choose it’s a sad day.”
To complicate things, McNeil’s name will appear on the June 3 primary ballot regardless of the decision reached at the hearing. Armistead said voters would be informed if Friday’s challenge is successful. If it is determined McNeil doesn’t live in the district the votes for him will be “null and void.”