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Allen wins SOS nomination; Beeker and Oden keep PSC seats

By JAY REEVES, Associated Press

State Rep. Wes Allen won the Republican nomination for secretary of state on Tuesday in runoff that featured both candidates promoting the need to tighten election security in harmony with former President Donald Trump’s false claims that he lost the 2020 presidential race because of fraud.

Allen defeated outgoing State Auditor Jim Zeigler and will face Democrat Pamela J. Laffitte, an Air Force veteran and corrections supervisor in Mobile County, in the general election to become Alabama’s top election official.

Zeigler received the most votes among four candidates in the primary election in May, but Allen overcame the deficit.

Allen, from Troy, previously served as probate judge in Pike County. Citing the potential for fraud, he opposed early voting and no-excuse absentee balloting and sponsored a law that barred “curbside” voting meant in part to make it easier for people with disabilities to cast a ballot.

During the campaign, Zeigler dubbed himself a “watchman” against ballot fraud, so-called “ballot harvesting” and voting by mail. Trump has blamed all those and more for his loss to Democratic President Joe Biden, and many GOP voters believe him despite a lack of evidence.

The current secretary of state, Republican John Merrill, couldn’t run again because of term limits, and the GOP nominee will be a heavy favorite to win in November.


Two Republican incumbents on the Alabama Public Service Commission faced runoff challenges to keep their jobs on the utility-regulating board, and at least one won.

Chip Beeker, a former Greene County commissioner first elected to the PSC in 2014, defeated Robert L. McCollum to win the GOP nomination. Beeker portrayed himself as an opponent of Democratic environmental policies, while McCollum, a small business owner from Tallapoosa County, argued the commission is too close to Alabama Power Co.

Jeremy Oden, a former state legislator from Cullman seeking his third term on the three-member commission, cast himself as a conservative bulwark against liberal environmental policies. He received the most votes in May in a four-way race for the Place 1 seat that saw attorney Brent Woodall, a PSC staffer and Republican activist, come in second.

No Democrat qualified for either position, making a victory in the Republican runoff tantamount to election.

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