The results are in.
The ballots are made.
Alabama’s future now lies in the hands of those who show up to the polls this year.
Those who wished to run for political office in Alabama this year had to qualify by 5 PM on February 7th as the two major parties in Alabama were in a mass scramble until qualifying came to a close.
As suspected, Alabama Republicans ended up with a crowded field of candidates and are now preparing for a busy primary election season.
As for Democrats, it was literally down to the wire before they fielded candidates for all major statewide offices.
When I say down to the wire, I’m referring to the qualification of former Congressman Parker Griffith (Huntsville) who filed his papers with the Democratic Party to run for Governor with only fifteen minutes to spare.
Griffith was elected to Congress in 2008 as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican Party later the next year.
Griffith lost his bid for reelection as a Republican and tried again to regain the 5th congressional seat in 2012, but failed once more.
Last fall, he also considered running for congress as an independent.
However, a few weeks ago Griffith was re-accepted into the Democratic Party by the State Democratic Executive Committee and has now become a Democratic candidate for Governor of Alabama.
Another Democrat, former minor league baseball player Kevin Bass, had already qualified as a gubernatorial candidate. Bass is a political newcomer, having lost his bid for election as mayor of Fayette, AL in 2012.
Other statewide Democratic candidates are: Rep. James Fields for Lt. Governor, Lula Albert-Kaigler for Secretary of State, Rep. Joe Hubbard for Attorney General, Joe Cottle for State Treasurer, Miranda Joseph for State Auditor, and Doug “New Blue” Smith for Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries.
On the Republican side, incumbent Governor Robert Bentley faces little opposition in the primary.
Incumbent Lt. Governor Kay Ivey faces primary opposition by Stan Cooke. Other major statewide offices contested in the GOP primary are Secretary of State and State Auditor who both have a crowded field of candidates.
The primary election will be held on June 3rd for both major parties.
From there, each party’s nominee will battle it out for the grand prize in November.
Locally, incumbent GOP Congressman Mike Rogers will face primary opposition by Thomas Casson and Jesse Smith has qualified as the Democratic challenger as well as independent candidate Lisa Moore.
All of Calhoun County’s incumbent Republican state legislators drew Democratic opposition for the general election.
So, what’s next? Well, for the next four months: Republicans out-Republicaning Republicans.
And Democrats mostly waiting.
As for you and I, the voters? We have the choice to either place a ‘stamp of approval’ on the Republican Party’s past four years of Supermajority rule, or to swing the political pendulum back to the two party-ish state that we once were.