Four Republicans are vying for former House Speaker Mike Hubbard‘s legislative seat in the Alabama House of Representatives.
Hubbard was immediately removed from office in June when he was found guilty on 12 counts of public corruption. Following the jury’s decision, Gov. Robert Bentley set the timeline for special election, indicating major party candidates had to qualify with their respective parties by Thursday, July 14.
Friday, the Alabama Republican Party announced Jay Conner, Joe Lovvorn, Brett Smith and Sandy Toomer all qualified to run for the Lee County District 79 seat. No Democrats choose to run in the special election.
Here’s an look at the four candidates who have qualified to run for Hubbard’s vacant seat:
Conner has been a leader in the Auburn community for over 30 years, serving in leadership positions such as chairman of the Lee County Board of Equalization, member of the Lee/Russell Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Auburn Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Conner has also served on task force committees with the city of Auburn in the areas of green space, watershed and downtown development. He is a licensed real estate broker and development manager.
“I’m running for the Alabama House of Representatives in District 79 because we need true, honest, and genuine representation,” Conner said in a news release. “The people of District 79 should speak for themselves through a representative who will craft legislation and vote in accordance with our residents’ will, not for the benefit of those gaming the system.”
A veteran firefighter and businessman, Lovvorn earned both his undergraduate degree and his MBA from Auburn University, and is currently a Realtor and the owner/franchisee of Two Men and a Truck.
“I have spent my life working to make our community a better place to live and raise a family,’’ Lovvorn said. “That goal will not change, and I have the experience to make it happen. I’m asking the voters for this opportunity, and I won’t disappoint.’’
A founding partner of Auburn-based Huff Smith Law Firm, Smith is a member of both the Alabama and Florida State Bars. His practice areas include small business, nonprofit and charitable organizations law.
“I enter this race today with the specific intent to be an alternative to the tired and bland politician we have all grown so accustomed to in politics,” Smith said in the release. “As the Bible says, we are useless if we are lukewarm, better off discarded if we lose our saltiness.”
Former Ecuadorian missionary, Toomer is currently the owner of Toomer’s Coffee Roasters in Auburn. Toomer previously challenged Hubbard for the District 79 seat in 2014.
“We’ve been given a gift, and a second opportunity earlier than expected to start some change, and I think it needs to start right here in Lee County in District 79,” Toomer said of Hubbard’s removal from office.
The primary election will be held Sept. 13.
If a primary runoff is needed, it will take place Nov. 29 and the special general election will be Feb. 7, 2017.