Like most folks, I will pay attention to all the political races on the ballot Nov. 6th, but I have more than passing interest in three Senate races and two House races.
Three of them feature young, bright women running for office for the first time. All are Democrats and seem to fit the mold of “female millennial” we hear so much about these days. The other two involve wily veteran legislators.
Amy Wasyluka is a mother, cancer survivor and attorney running for Senate District 2 in Huntsville. Senator Bill Holtzclaw is retiring from this seat. The Republican nominee is Tom Butler, who served in both the House and Senate as a Democrat before being defeated in 2010. As to be expected, Butler has greatly outspent Wasyluka. While she has spent nearly $42,000, he has spent $300,000. My sources say they expect Butler, who is in his mid-70’s, to win, but do think his young attorney opponent will make a very creditable showing.
In northwest Alabama campaign coffers are wide open as longtime Democrat House member Johnny Mack Morrow is challenging Republican Senator Larry Stuffs who is running for his second term in District 6.. Stutts won his seat by an eyelash in 2014 when he beat Senator Roger Bedford. Stutts is a physician who has faced criticism about legislation he introduced that appeared to protect his own self-interests.
Money has been no problem for either candidate. The most recent financial info from the Secretary of State’s office show Morrow has spent $470,000 and Stutts has spent $366,000
The third Senate race I’m watching covers Etowah and Cherokee counties and a tiny slice of DeKalb. Senate District 10 is being vacated by Senator Phil Williams. Andrew Jones from Cherokee County is the Republican nominee. He is being opposed by Craig Ford, a two-term House member from Etowah who is running as an Independent.
Jones is a newcomer to politics and certainly raised eyebrows when he defeated House member Mack Butler in the primary. Jones is a fine young man from a well-known Cherokee County family. He has spent $163,000. However, Ford has significantly outspent him with $379,000 to date.
Being from vote rich Etowah County certainly plays in Ford’s favor, but how much luck will he have getting voters to select an Independent candidate?
House District 46 is primarily that part of Jefferson County known as “over the mountain.” It’s where Felicia Stewart is challenging incumbent Republican David Faulkner. She has been competitive with Faulkner on campaign funds. He has spent $136,000; she has spent $114,000.
But if any candidate in Alabama has outworked and out organized Stewart, I don’t know who they are. She has spent 18 months on the campaign trail and has motivated a cadre of true believers and volunteers,
Jump all the way down to Fairhope to check in on my final race to watch closely. Again, a bright, young female attorney, Danielle Mashburn, has her sights on capturing House District 94 which has been held since 2004 by Republican Joe Faust. Just as in Senate District 2 in Huntsville, this one is a contest of real contrasts. An old pol getting long in the tooth vs. the energy and hopes of a much younger person.
Faust has spent $91,000 as compared to $38,000 for Mashburn. Though Baldwin is about the reddest of red when it comes to party affiliation, my contacts say if anyone can defeat a Republican here, Mashburn can.