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December 2013 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

This month brings lots of election news.

Special Election Results: Three special elections — two primaries and a run-off — were recently held in districts across Alabama to fill vacant House seats. Voters in Elmore and Coosa counties, House District 31, participated in the Republican primary election to replace former State Representative Barry Mask, who resigned to become Director of the Alabama Association of Realtors. Former Elmore County Republican party Chair Mike Holmes and Wetumka car dealer Jimmy Collier finished first and second in a four person field and will face each other in a January 28 run-off. There were no Democratic qualifiers. Jeshua Screws filed a petition to run in the general election as a candidate of the Constitution Party. The general election is scheduled for March 25, 2014.  Jefferson County House District 53 will have a run-off on January 28 between Birmingham attorney Arthur Shores Lee and Leadership Jefferson County Executive Director Anthony Johnson to fill the vacancy created by the death of longtime State Representative Demetrious Newton. The winner will face Republican challenger Willie Casey, a Birmingham real estate broker in the March 25 general election. Citizens in Mobile’s House District 104 are one step closer to having a state representative following a run-off election to replace Jim Barton, who resigned his seat to join a Montgomery lobbying firm. Businesswoman Margie Wilcox defeated Susan Hightower and will face Democrat Stephen Carr in the January 28, 2014, general election. All of the eventual victors will serve little time in office before being required to run for re-election in the 2014 campaign cycle.

Political Announcements: Trussville attorney John Amari has announced his candidacy for Alabama House District 44. That seat is currently held by Representative Arthur Payne, who is retiring at the end of this term. Amari, who grew up in the district, said that economic development will be among his priorities. Amari is the third candidate to enter the race. Investment Banker Joe Freeman and Trussville school board member Danny Garrett have already announced their candidacies. All are running as Republicans. Harbert Management Corporation executive Will Brooke has decided to enter the race in the 6th congressional district. That seat is currently held by Representative Spencer Bachus, who is retiring at the end of this term. Brooke said getting control of government spending will be among his priorities if elected to Congress. Brooke is the fourth candidate to enter the race, State Representative Paul Demarco, surgeon Chad Mathis and Gary Palmer have already announced their candidacies.

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