We are all looking forward to next year’s gigantic political cavalcade. The 2022 elections in Alabama will be momentous. We will have an open U.S. Senate seat along with seven congressional seats, all running under new district lines. We have a Governor’s race along with all the other Constitutional offices. All 105 state representatives and 35 state senators will be running for reelection under new district lines. All 67 sheriffs in the state will be on the ballot, as well as all 68 probate judges. All these races are on the cusp of beginning or have already begun.
However, we will have a mayor’s race in Birmingham this summer. The August 24 mayoral race in the magic city is shaping up as a Donnybrook. It is shaping up to be a rematch from four years ago between former mayor William Bell and current mayor Randall Woodfin.
Four years ago, young Randall Woodfin defeated then mayor, William Bell, the old fashion way. He outworked him. Woodfin went door-to-door in one-on-one campaigning in every precinct in Birmingham. He appears to have done a good job as mayor. He will be tough to beat. However, if anyone would do it, William Bell would be the one. He looks very distinguished and mayoral. In fact, I have often thought that if Hollywood were scripting a movie of a mayor of a city like the movie “Boss” with Kelsey Grammar, who played a Chicago mayor, that Bell would be the perfect actor.
There are at least two other significant candidates vying to be Birmingham’s mayor, LaShunda Scales and Chris Wood, which may place Bell and Woodfin into a runoff.
We have already had several special legislative elections throughout the state this year. Former Alabama House Member, April Weaver, won the Republican State Senate Primary for Senate District 14 on March 30. This senate seat was vacated when Cam Ward departed the Senate to become Director of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. The district encompasses a good portion of Shelby County and all of Bibb and Chilton. It is a very Republican district. Therefore, Ms. Weaver’s victory is tantamount to election. She will face a token Democrat in the July 13 general election. Her triumph was extremely impressive. She garnered 82% of the vote against two opponents. She will be an effective senator for Central Alabama.
In an open state House seat in Shelby County, U.S. Army Veteran, Kenneth Paschal won the GOP Primary for House District 73, winning the Republican primary for a State Legislative district in a special election in Shelby County. Paschal won a close race over Leigh Hulsey, 51% to 49%.
There is a special election for state House District 78 in Montgomery to fill the seat being left vacant with Kirk Hatcher moved up from the House to the Senate.
There are several low-profile constitutional offices beginning to percolate for 2022. State Representative, Wes Allen, has announced and is running hard for Secretary of State. He is perfectly suited and qualitied for that office. He is in his first term as a State Representative from Pike and Dale Counties. However, prior to that he served 10 years as Probate Judge of Pike County, where he successfully oversaw elections. Wes is a native of Tuscaloosa where his daddy serves as a State Senator.
A successful Birmingham businesswoman, Laura Johnston Clark, is eyeing the State Auditor’s race. She was born and raised in Dothan and began her business there. She has deep and extensive family roots in the Wiregrass. Her father and mother and older brother are legendary and revered. She has been extensively involved civically in Birmingham for close to two decades. She is an integral part of next year’s World Games, which will be held in Birmingham.
The current occupants of the Secretary of State and state Auditor’s offices, John Merrill and Jim Ziegler are term limited. So, these two offices are wide open. 2022 is going to be an exciting election year.
See you next week.
— Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the Alabama legislature.