A two-party Alabama? Not yet, election returns shows

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Democrats may have taken a step toward building Alabama into a two-party state by running more candidates than four years ago, but they couldn’t pull off a win for any statewide office.

Alabama Republicans turned back a re-energized Democratic Party with little problem on Tuesday, winning the governor’s office and every other statewide seat to maintain their lock on Montgomery.

Aside from GOP Gov. Kay Ivey defeating Democratic challenger Walt Maddox for a full term, all six of the state’s congressional Republicans won re-election easily, and amendments favored by conservatives won approval with ease.

Here are some of the key races:

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Republican state Rep. Will Ainsworth defeated Democrat Will Boyd in the race for lieutenant governor, a job that mainly involves presiding over the state Senate.

Ainsworth was first elected to the Alabama House four years ago. The North Alabama resident billed himself as Christian conservative who will set a higher ethical standard at a Statehouse tainted by repeated scandals in recent years.

Boyd is a minister from Florence. He has made several unsuccessful bids for public office, including last year when he sought the Democratic nomination for the seat now held by Jones.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

Republican Attorney General Steve Marshall, an appointee who previously served as a county prosecutor in north Alabama, defeated Democrat Joseph Siegelman, the son one of the best-known names in state politics, former Gov. Don Siegelman.

Marshall, 53, took over in February 2017 after Luther Strange was appointed to the U.S. Senate. He endured personal tragedy earlier this year when his wife Bridgette took her own life in June just weeks before the Republican runoff.

Siegelman, 30, is a Birmingham attorney who was making his first bid for public office. While many voters might recognize his name because of his father, they also might attach some unwanted baggage to it. Don Siegelman, Alabama’s last Democratic governor, served time in federal prison after being convicted in a bribery conspiracy.

CONGRESS

Alabama’s congressional Republicans pulled off a clean sweep over Democratic challengers, and it wasn’t close in any district.

Voters in the 1st District of southwestern Alabama handily elected Rep. Bradley Byrne of Fairhope to a third full term as he defeated Democratic nominee Robert Kennedy Jr. of Mobile.

Republican Rep. Martha Roby of Montgomery turned back Democrat Tabitha Isner in District 2 of southeastern Alabama, and 11-term Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt of Haleyville won re-election in District 4 of north central Alabama by defeating Democrat Lee Auman, a camp manager from Union Grove.

Four-term Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Huntsville defeated Democrat Peter Joffrion, a former Huntsville city attorney, in the 5th District of the Tennessee Valley. In the 6th District of metro Birmingham, GOP Rep. Gary Palmer won a third term against Democrat Danner Kline, an early leader of Alabama’s craft beer industry.

Rep. Terri Sewell, who didn’t have GOP opposition, remains the only Democrat in the state’s House delegation.

SUPREME COURT

Alabama’s nine-member Supreme Court remains all-Republican, with an acolyte of ousted chief justice Roy Moore now in the same job.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Tom Parker turned back Democratic challenger Bob Vance Jr. to be elected chief justice of the state’s highest court. Parker will take over the position previously held by Moore, a mentor.

Parker was elected to the Supreme Court in 2004. His campaign appealed to social conservatives and emphasized his hope of one day overturning U.S. Supreme Court decisions such as the one that legalized abortion.

Vance is a circuit judge in Jefferson County. He was endorsed by six former chief justices, including three Republicans, but couldn’t pull off a win in a state where Republicans hold an overwhelming majority.

In the only other contested Supreme Court race, Birmingham attorney Jay Mitchell defeated Jasper lawyer Donna Wesson Smalley for the Place 4 position.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

Voters approved a constitutional amendment regarding the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools and government buildings.

The proposal would allow displays in public schools and government buildings in a way that “complies with constitutional requirements” such as being posted with historical documents.

Voters also approved an amendment to add anti-abortion language to Alabama’s 1901 constitution specifying that the state recognizes the “rights of unborn children.” The measure does not impact abortion access unless Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, is reversed.

STATE SCHOOL BOARD

Voters decided three races for the Alabama State Board of Education.

In District 2, Auburn City School Board President Tracie West defeated Democrat Adam Jortner, who teaches history at Auburn University. District 4 Democratic incumbent Yvette Richardson, a veteran educator from Fairfield, overcame a challenge by Republican Don Wallace, an accountant and former Tuscaloosa County commissioner from Northport.

In the District 8 race, retired educator Wayne Reynolds of Athens defeated Democratic school volunteer Jessica Fortune Barker of Huntsville.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

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