What to look for in Alabama on Super Tuesday

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Alabama voters go to polls Tuesday as part of Super Tuesday contests in 12 states.

Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump all plan stops in Alabama in a last-minute hunt for votes before Tuesday’s election.

Republicans and Democrats will also name their picks in congressional and state races. Here’s a look at what to watch for and a look at a few of the key races on Tuesday:

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CONGRESS

On Tuesday, Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, faces Tea Party challenger Becky Gerritson in the second congressional district that includes Montgomery and the Wiregrass.

Roby is perhaps best known for being on the congressional panel investigating Benghazi and has been a vocal critic of delays and problems at Veterans’ Affairs hospitals in the region. Roby said she shares voter frustration with “Washington doublespeak.”

“There are so many politicians out there that are so afraid of losing their jobs that they forget to do their jobs. My job is to listen to the people, study the issues, make decisions that are in the best interest of the people I represent and to be honest about it,” Roby said in an interview.

Gerritson is the founder of Wetumpka Tea Party, one of the state’s largest and most active tea party organizations. She appeared on the national radar with emotional congressional testimony in 2013 regarding Internal Revenue Service probes of conservative political groups.

“We need a true conservative in leadership for District 2,” Gerritson told voters at a campaign stop. “We see year after year, election after election, we are promised that things are going to change and they don’t,” Gerritson said.

In South Alabama, Rep. Bradley Byrne is in a rematch with Dean Young, the bombastic real estate developer he bested three years ago for the open congressional seat. Byrne has a heady mix of endorsements ranging from the NRA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Sen. Jeff Sessions. Young is running an ad of clipped-together news segments from their last race. News commentators refer to Byrne as the “establishment” candidate eight times in the 30-second spot.

While any anti-establishment surge could hurt incumbents, challengers from the party’s far right, like Young and Gerritson, struggle under a compressed campaign season while facing opponents with superior name recognition and financial firepower.

Five-term Sen. Richard Shelby is running an aggressive campaign, unloading a portion of a $19 million war chest, as he looks to a sixth term in office in the midst of the insurgent voter mood. Shelby faces off with four lesser known challengers in the GOP primary, most notably Jonathan McConnell, a former Marine who now runs a ship security business putting former Marines on vessels.

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PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION PRESIDENT

One of the few statewide races on the ballot is the Republican primary for president of the Public Service Commission. The race pits incumbent Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh against former PSC member Terry Dunn.

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BRING PHOTO ID

This will be the first presidential race under Alabama’s new photo identification requirement for voting. Alabama requires voters to show photo identification at the polls such as a driver’s license, passport, an Alabama non-driver ID, a university student ID or identification issued by the federal government.

A person without photo ID can submit a provisional ballot, but it won’t be counted unless they bring in the required identification.

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TURN THE BALLOT OVER

Voters should remember to look on the back of the ballot. The presidential candidates and numerous delegates to party nominating conventions appear on the front of the ballot, while state and local offices are on the back.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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