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After recount withdrawal, Whatley-Hovey contest will go to ALGOP

By TODD STACY and MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – There will not be a recount in the Senate District 27 race, where incumbent Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, lost to challenger Jay Hovey by one vote.

Whatley’s attorney on Tuesday withdrew last week’s request for a recount in one precinct in Tallapoosa County, county GOP Chair Terry Martin told Alabama Daily News. A reason for the withdrawal was not given.

But Whatley’s official contest of the election with ALGOP has not been withdrawn, meaning the fate of the Whatley-Hovey contest will be solely determined by the Alabama Republican Party.

Under Alabama election law, it is the parties who ultimately decide which candidates to certify for the general election ballot. The Alabama Republican Party’s Steering Committee has a hearing scheduled for June 25, when members will essentially decide the election.

Whatley and his attorney have not spoken publicly about the contest. Whatley’s challenge alleges that those involved with Hovey’s campaign actively encouraged Democrats to vote in the Republican primary for Hovey. While there are no specific bylaws about such activity, Steering Committee members could decide that it disqualifies Hovey from the election.

It is rare for a political party to essentially overturn an election, but it has happened. In 1986, Charlie Graddick edged out Bill Baxley in a runoff for the Democratic nomination for governor. However, Baxley challenged the results, arguing that Republicans had crossed over to vote in the Democratic runoff for the more conservative Graddick. The Alabama Democratic Party ultimately named Baxley as the nominee.

The move to overrule the election results was seen as highly controversial and led to Guy Hunt becoming the first Republican elected governor since Reconstruction.

According to the ALGOP website, members of the ALGOP Steering Committee include:

  • John Wahl, Chairman
  • John Skipper, Senior Vice Chairman
  • Sallie Bryant, Treasurer
  • Carol Jahns, Secretary
  • Joan Reynolds, Finance Chairman
  • Vicki Drummond, National Committeewoman
  • Paul Reynolds, National Committeeman
  • Bill Harris, Vice Chair, Districts 1,2
  • Pat Wilson, Vice Chair, Districts 3,6,7
  • Josh Dodd, Vice Chair, Districts 4,5
  • Matt Simpson, District 1 Chair
  • William Rayborn, District 2 Chair
  • Lance Bell, District 3 Chair
  • Bonnie Sachs, District 4 Chair
  • Elbert Peters, District 5 Chair
  • Renee Powers, District 6 Chair
  • Pierce Boyd, District 7 Chair
  • Britney Garner, President of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women
  • Phillip Brown, Chairman of the Alabama Minority GOP
  • Dalton Dismukes, Chairman of the Young Republican Federation of Alabama
  • Chris Mayer, Chairman of the College Republican Federation of Alabama

Dismukes, president of a political consulting company that worked for Whatley’s campaign, has recused himself from the hearing, he said on social media this week.

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