Alabama State Senate District 27 primary race comes to end

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 7:03 PM EDT
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EAST ALABAMA (WTVM) - Senator Tom Whatley is stepping away from the tied District 27 Alabama State Senate Race after his opponent Jay Hovey’s motion to request a re-hearing that was granted and scheduled Friday morning.

The big question of who will face Democrat Sherri Reese in the fall has come to a resolution. Jay Hovey has been officially announced the winner for the republican side for District 27 as Tom Whatley stepped down from the tied race before the re-hearing was held.

On May 24, Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey appeared to beat incumbent Senator Tom Whatley by a single vote. Whatley contested the election results with the Alabama Republican Party. A hearing between the two candidates ruled a provisional ballot initially not counted in the election would be counted after all, resulting in a tie between Whatley and Hovey.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency put out a statement saying the provisional ballot should not have counted because the voter’s license was not registered in Alabama. Hovey’s team then motioned to request a re-hearing after ALEA’s statement was released.

The re-hearing was scheduled to occur Friday morning, but Tom Whatley withdrew before the re-hearing was held. Whatley released this statement saying...

“The last twelve years have been fantastic. I have loved serving in the Alabama Senate.

I have made lifelong friendships with many fantastic people. Hands down, the best thing about my Senate service has been speaking to an Auburn University class where I met my wife, Lauren. We are thrilled to have recently welcomed our daughter, Laurel, into the world.

I am a Republican. I want to thank all my supporters and friends who have reached out to me during this process. I’ve been a delegate to the last three Republican conventions. I am the Republican nominee who was voted by Republicans in my district.

With that said, I now believe that it is in the best interest of my friends, colleagues, family, and the Republican Party, for me to step away from this tied race so that we can move forward and have success in November.

I look forward to spending quality time with my wife and daughter, focusing on my law practice and other business interests. It has been the honor of a lifetime serving the people of Lee, Tallapoosa and Russell counties.”

The Alabama Republican Party later released a statement saying.

“Election security and making sure that every legal vote is properly counted is of paramount importance to the Alabama Republican Party. ALEA’s statement makes it clear that Mrs. Kenney was not registered to vote for the primary election. We believe in the rule of law, and that only legal votes should be counted.

We also believe that the ability to vote is a sacred right and one that the Alabama Republican Party is committed to protecting and defending. The Candidate Committee did not want to discount Mrs. Kenney’s provisional ballot while there was any reasonable doubt that she could have actually been registered to vote. We believe that everyone deserves that respect.

The election contest process is incredibly difficult for the Alabama Republican Party. We care about each of our candidates, and we want them all to be successful. The rulings in these cases took longer than some wanted, but we felt it critical that all sides had a chance to gather information and investigate what happened. The ALGOP Candidate Committee heard arguments from both sides of all cases, considered the information presented to it, and made its rulings based on what was set forth.

This election cycle has revealed several areas of serious concern in the election process. These issues led to problems that hurt the Alabama Republican Party, our candidates, and our voters. We plan to work with lawmakers, the Secretary of State, Probate Judges, Boards of Registrars, and ALEA to find solutions to these problems and to make sure they don’t happen again. The ALGOP believes Alabama and our voters deserve better. We invite Councilman Hovey and Senator Whatley – as well as our other candidates – to join us in this effort.

We would like to thank Senator Whatley for his many years in the legislature on behalf of his district. His commitment to public service and our Party’s values are to be commended.

The Party looks forward to working with Councilman Hovey as he now turns his focus to the general election. The ALGOP is united and energized more than ever to take back our country this November.”

Hovey also released a statement saying.

“I am honored to be elected as the Republican nominee to the Alabama State Senate from Senate District 27. I’m thankful for the prayers and words of encouragement from my supporters throughout District 27 and across the state. This has been a potentially divisive experience. But we have maintained that we would be successful by standing with integrity and running a clean campaign about me and my desire to serve. I look forward to continuing to campaign to win the November General Election. Beyond November, I pledge to represent the people of Senate District 27 honorably and with integrity in the Alabama Senate. "

On November 8, Jay Hovey will officially face democrat Sheri Reese for the general election. We want to remind everyone to make sure you are eligible to vote in your area.

Register to vote, click here.

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