Chambers County voters may not be aware of it, but a special election is coming up in less than a few weeks. Voters will go to the polls to elect U.S. senator on August 15th. The Special election was triggered when president Trump appointed U.S. senator Jeff Sessions to be the nation’s attorney general in January.
Then- Governor Robert Bentley appointed State attorney General Luther Strange to the vacancy and set the election to coincide with next year’s regular election calendar.
However, many said that the law requires an election to be held immediately, or as soon as possible, and to give Strange well over a year in the office before an election was held was not only not right but gave him an unfair advantage.
When Bentley resigned and Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey became governor she had a different take on the election, agreeing that one was required sooner than next year. She changed the dates, scheduling primary voting for August 15, any necessary runoffs for September 16 and a general election for December 12. Whoever wins will barely have time to catch their breath before having to run again. The regular election cycle primary is June 5, 2018.
Eighteen candidates, 10 Republicans and eight Democrats, have qualified for the special election including incumbent Sen. Strange, a Republican.. The other GOP candidates include twice-removed Chief Roy Moore, congressman Mo Brooks of North Alabama’s Fifth District and State Sen. Tripp Pittman of Montrose in Baldwin County.
Strange and Moore appear to be the two top contenders in the GOP race right now.
Lesser known Republicans include Dr. James Beretta of Pelham, Dr. Randy Brinson of Montgomery, Hoover businessman Dom Gentile, Birmingham businessman Bryan Peebles, and Chaplain Joseph Breault who is stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, and Mary Maxwell. Maxwell is a very unusual candidate. A native of Australia, she reportedly moved to Alabama expressly to run for the office.
Alabama requires only a one-day residency to be eligible to run for office
The eight Democratic candidates are mostly unknown and don’t have the name recognition or the political background of some of the Republicans. Perhaps the best known Democratic candidate and frontrunner is former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, now an attorney in private practice in Birmingham.
Jason Fisher of Orange Beach, a marketing consultant, is a candidate as is Nana Tchienkou of Hoover of whom little is known. The same can be said of Robert Kennedy Jr. of Mobile. No, not that Robert Kennedy but he may be running because he has the same name as the late Robert Kennedy. Little is known about him.
Brian McGee of Lee county is a retired Vietnam veteran and retired teacher. Will Boyd is a Lauderdale County pastor and a former Greenville, Ill. Councilman and an unsuccessful write-in candidate for Illinois senator in 2010. Vann Caldwell, a Talladega County constable, is equally unknown statewide. Also running is Michael Hanson, an environmentalist and executive director of Gasp, an environmental advocacy group.