A local attorney booted from the Republican Party primary ballot last month announced Wednesday she will seek judicial office as an independent.
Ginger Poynter said during an announcement at Daphne City Hall she would run as an independent for Baldwin County District Judge Place 1, against Republican Incumbent Michelle Thomason.
Thomason didn’t immediately return a call asking for comment.
Poynter was denied access to the June 3 Republican Primary ballot, after a complaint filed by Baldwin County GOP Vice-Chairman John Stetzinger. He pointed to the candidate’s support of Bob Vance on Facebook and a $100 donation she made to Vance’s campaign as evidence she wasn’t allegiant to the party, along with other Facebook posts he gathered.
Poynter was disqualified on Feb. 21 after a subcommittee of the Alabama Republican State Executive Committee.
Poynter said in her announcement the real reason she was booted from the GOP ballot was an attempt to allow Thomason to run unopposed.
“Those 12 people thought that if they removed the “R” from behind my name on the ballot, the judge currently sitting on the bench would have no opposition in the election,” she said in a prepared statement. “I have always been a strong conservative who believes that citizens of Baldwin County should decide elections and not Montgomery political insiders, and I am asking for your help.”
Stetzinger said Poynter’s notion that the decision was made to protect Judge Thomason is “totally untrue.” He added that it’s against policy to allow candidates to run for office as Republicans if they’ve shown public support for a party opponent. However, he said she would be eligible to run as a Republican in the future.
Poynter wasn’t the only Republican denied access from the ballot by the state GOP Candidate Committee. Five other would-be candidates across the state were also denied access.
State GOP Chairman Bill Armistead said, in general, candidates were considered for removal from the ballot if they showed public support for members of the Democratic Party or President Barrack Obama.
“We felt like it was our responsibility…to make sure candidates were reasonably Republican,” Armistead said. “They were only taken off if it was obvious they weren’t Republicans. We don’t want Democrats infiltrating the party.”
Poynter will now need to collect signatures from the equivalent of three percent of county voters who participated in the most recent governor’s race, or roughly 1,700 to 1,800 names by June 3 in order to qualify as an Independent for the Nov. 4 general election, according to Baldwin County Election Coordinator Violetta Smith.