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Here’s who qualified for the House District 16 special election

One Democrat and six Republicans have qualified for the Alabama House District 16 special election, vying to fill the seat formerly held by Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.

Independent candidates have until Sept. 26, the day of primary election, to qualify. A runoff election, if necessary, scheduled for Oct. 24. Candidates that are selected as their respective party’s nominee will then face off in the general election on Jan. 9, 2024.

Candidates are also required to submit campaign finance reports, but only if they reach a threshold of receiving contributions in excess of $1,000, or by making expenditures in excess of $1,000. As of Aug. 1, only one candidate in the House District 16 special election has reached this threshold.

Republican Primary candidates

Bryan Brinyark

A native of Tuscaloosa, Bryan Brinyark is an attorney in Northport with experience in business law, estate planning and divorce law. Brinyark earned his bachelor’s degree in 1990 from the University of Alabama, and his doctorate from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1993, and is licensed to practice law in all Alabama state courts, as well as in the U.S. Northern and Middle District Courts of Alabama.

Brinyark currently serves as a municipal court judge for the cities of Tuscaloosa, Brent and Centerville, as well as for the town of Woodstock. Brinyark launched his own law firm, Brinyark & Frederick, in 2014 specializing in divorce law.

Brad Cox

An agricultural teacher and FFA advisor at Fayette County High School, Brad Cox has leaned into his experience in agriculture and community service as part of his pitch to voters.

Cox previously served as Area 2 director at the Alabama Farmers Federation, which his campaign website says has “allowed him to develop a valuable network in the agricultural and political spheres.” Cox currently serves as a business development officer at Alabama One Credit Union, as well as on the Fayette County Commission.

The only candidate with published financial disclosures, Cox received $21,819 in campaign contributions from 21 unique contributors. The largest contributions were $5,000 from the Alabama Voice of Teachers for Education, the state’s leading teachers’ organization, and $5,000 from the Alabama chapter of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions.

Cox has also made $4,445 in campaign expenditures, the bulk of which were for advertising.

Greg Fanin

The son of a coal miner, Greg Fanin is a combat veteran who currently serves as the state Commissioner of Coal Mines, a position he was appointed to by Gov. Kay Ivey. Fanin also works as a real estate appraiser and is the president of Gemini GEM Inc..

Fanin had a 26-year career in the U.S. Military and is a wounded combat veteran, getting his military career started at Ft. Tom Bevill in Fayette. A graduate of Samford University, Fanin is also a lifelong resident of the Fayette area.

“I am asking for your vote and support,” Fanin wrote on his campaign Facebook page

“If you believe, as I do, that too often our rural area of Alabama is overlooked by state government, please join me to make a change. I will only promise you that I will work for you, not the special interests in Montgomery who have way too much control and influence.”

Greg Lowery

A musician and music producer, Greg Lowery has performed with country music artist Bucky Covington, but now has his sights set on political office.

A graduate of Fayette County High School and Bevil State Community College, Lowery is also a third-generation cattle farmer, and has owned his own music production company – Geg Lowery Productions – since 1986.

Lowery has performed on behalf of a number of Alabama political leaders, including former governors Don Siegelman and Jim Folsom, as well as at the 1992 National DNC Convention in Chicago, Illinois. Lowery continues to publish original music, with his latest song, “Alabama The Great,” can be heard here.

Floyd Rodgers Jr.

A pastor at Peaceful Rest Baptist Church in Fayette, Floyd Rodgers Jr. is a native to Fayette, though spent much of his youth in Detroit, Michigan. 

A graduate of Southwest Tennessee Community College, Rodgers suffered a troubled youth after moving back to Fayette and he went in and out of jail for drug charges. It was while incarcerated, he told The Alabama Baptist, however, that he discovered his passion for preaching.

Rodgers continues to teach the gospel at Fayette County Jail, and recently graduated with a certificate in biblical ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Mike Simpson

A native of Hueytown, Mike Simpson is a retired police officer who also worked with the Alabama Board of Pardon and Paroles. Simpson currently worships at and serves as a pastor for Smithville Baptist Church.

Simpson was a police officer in Bessemer when the 1998 tornado struck the Oak Grove area, and was on the ground assisting those impacted.

Simpson ran for the House District 16 seat in 2018, but was defeated by South in the Republican Primary, receiving 2,526 votes against South’s 6,175.

South left office in June to become the CEO of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce.


Democratic Primary candidates

John H. Underwood

Known as “Big John” in his community, John Underwood is a retired Fayette Police officer and current county commissioner for Fayette County Commission, a position he’s held for 24 years. Joining the Fayette Police Department in 1995, Underwood served as a patrol officer until 2007, and served through early 2022 as assistant police chief.

“Nobody knows this district like I do; I’ve been on the ground and in the streets of our people for half a century,” Underwood said on his campaign website.

“I have watched us progress and I’ve sadly seen us regress. We’ve weathered the highs and lows together. I understand what we need, and I respect the rule of law because I have been enforcing it for decades. It’s time for me to step out of my comfort zone and join the others in making the laws that will grow our communities.”

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