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Voters head to polls for general election Tuesday


Next Tuesday, November 4, residents from Chambers County, the State of Alabama and across the country will go to the polls to vote in the 2014 general election. Locally, there are several races of note, including two for County Commission seats, Chambers County Sheriff and two local state legislative seats.

Perhaps the most hotly contested race for area voters is that for State Senate District 13, which includes all or parts of Chambers, Lee, Randolph, Clay, Cherokee and Cleburne Counties. Incumbent Republican State Senator Gerald Dial from Lineville is facing opposition from both Democrat Darrell Turner of Heflin and Independent Bill Fuller of LaFayette. Sen. Dial defeated Tim Sprayberry in the Republican primary earlier this year, while Turner ran unopposed on the Democratic ticket.

In the race for State House District 37, three candidates are vying for the seat on Tuesday. They are Republican Bob Fincher of Woodland, Democrat Josh Burns of Roanoke and Independent Guy Kelly of Wadley. District 37 covers Randolph County and parts of Chambers and Cleburne Counties. The winner will replace longtime Representative Richard Laird, who will retire when his term ends. Fincher defeated Bryant Whaley in the Republican primary, while Burns ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

In the race for Sheriff, Incumbent Democrat Sid Lockhart is seeking his sixth term in office. Lockhart will face opposition from Republican Jimmy Allen. Allen earned the Republican nomination by defeating Chad Roberts in the primary election, while Sheriff Lockhart was unopposed as a Democrat.

Chambers County Commission seats in District 3 and District 5 will be contested next week. In District 3, incumbent Democrat Joe Blanks is facing a challenge from Eugene Blair on the Republican side. District 5 incumbent Republican David Eastridge is facing opposition from Democrat Johnny Lee Yates.

The Chambers County Commission District 6 seat is also part of the ballot but incumbent Debbie Wood is not facing opposition in the race.

There are several other local races in which incumbents have qualified but are not facing opposition. Chambers County Coroner Jeff Jones, Chambers County Revenue Commissioner Wendy Williams, Chambers County Board of Education District 2 representative Clifford Lyons and Board of Education District 4 representative Mary Terry will each retain their respective offices without a challenge.

Another notable race in which there will be no opposition is that for State House District 38. Isaac Whorton of Valley defeated Randy Price of Opelika in a tight Republican primary race in June. There is no challenge from the Democratic side, so Whorton is a virtual lock to take the District 38 seat, which includes parts of both Chambers and Lee Counties. Whorton will replace current District 38 Representative DuWayne Bridges, who will not seek reelection.

One other local race concerning Chambers County residents will be that for the United States House of Representatives, Third Congressional District. Incumbent Republican Mike Rogers will face opposition from Democrat Jesse Smith.

There are several important statewide races on the General Election ballot, most notably that of Governor. Incumbent Republican Robert Bentley is seeking a second term for the state’s most powerful position. Democrat Parker Griffith is opposing him.

For the office of Lieutenant Governor, incumbent Republican Kay Ivey will face opposition from Democrat James Fields, Jr. The Alabama Attorney General race includes incumbent Republican Luther Strange and Democrat Joe Hubbard. For the office of United States Senator incumbent Jeff Sessions is facing no opposition.

Other state offices included on Tuesday’s ballot are that of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Place 1; Court of Civil Appeals Judge, Place 1; Court of Civil Appeals Judge, Place 2; Court of Criminal Appeals Judge, Place 1; Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 2; Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Auditor, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, Public Service Commission, Place 1; Public Service Commission, Place 2; and State Board of Education, District 2. Of those offices, only the races for Secretary of State (Lula Albert-Kaigler (D) and John Merrill (R)), State Auditor (Miranda Karrine Joseph (D) and Jim Zeigler (R)), and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries (Doug Smith (D) and John McMillan (R)) are contested.

There are five statewide proposed constitutional amendments included on the General Election ballot. Amendment 1 forbids the state of Alabama’s recognition of laws violating its public policies, including all foreign law.

Amendment 2 Authorizes the State to borrow up to $50 million in bonds to pay for National Guard armory maintenance and construction. If passed, Amendment 2 would allow the state to use money from the Alabama Trust Fund to purchase bonds to fund the project. The bonds must be repaid within 20 years.

Amendment 3 elevates Alabama citizens’ right to bear arms to a fundamental right in the State Constitution, receiving the highest possible protection of the law, and provides that no international treaty or law would prohibit or limit that right.

Amendment 4 requires a two-thirds majority vote by the state legislature to pass unfunded mandates on local school boards.

Amendment 5 provides that the people of Alabama have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife using traditional methods. It also defines hunting and fishing as the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.

Polls will open in Chambers County at 7 am CST and close at 7 pm.