Calhoun County Democrats will lose at least one locally elected seat in November, and incumbent Republicans will largely go untested in 2014.
That’s the picture that emerged Friday at the deadline for candidates to qualify for the 2014 primary elections. With the Democrats fielding five candidates for offices in Calhoun County, the party is guaranteed to lose the District 5 seat on the County Commission as incumbent Rudy Abbott will not seek re-election.
The other two Democrats serving in local office in Calhoun County — Revenue Commissioner Karen Roper and Fred Wilson, the commissioner from District 1 representing most of Anniston and areas to the west of the city — have qualified to run. Wilson will face primary challenges from Eric Stringer and James Montgomery.
Thomas Long, who will run for County Sheriff, is the only other Democratic candidate for local office in Calhoun County.
“I think we had more candidates qualify across the state than anybody expected, so we’re not disappointed,” said Sheila Gilbert, chairwoman of the Calhoun County Democratic Party. “We’re excited about the candidates we have, and we’re not going to worry about the ones we don’t.”
The Republican Party will have five candidates for the District 5 seat on the commission in the primary. Jay Dill, Jason Lively, Lee Patterson, Billy Lindsey and former Democratic commissioner Phillip Pritchett qualified to run for the seat, which represents the northern part of the county, including the cities of Jacksonville and Piedmont.
The Republicans will have few primaries outside the District 5 race. Heflin police officer Ross McGlaughn will challenge Larry Amerson for County Sheriff, and Anniston attorney Peggy Miller Lacher will face incumbent Brenda Stedham in the circuit judge, Place 4 race.
Carolyn Henderson, a member of the Calhoun County board of registrars, has qualified to run for Revenue Commissioner on the Republican ticket. She is the only Republican challenger who will face a Democratic incumbent in the general election.
Coroner Pat Brown and county commissioners Don Hudson, J.D. Hess and Tim Hodges won’t have primary or general election challengers.
While Billy Lindsey and Phillip Pritchett both qualified to run for the District 5 seat this week, Tony Moreland, acting chairman of the Calhoun County Republican Party, said most candidates announced their intentions to run early on in the process.
“It’s never a good sign when you have a lot of last-minute candidates,” Moreland said a few hours before the 5 p.m. deadline on Friday. “The candidates now are just waiting with bated breath and hoping no one else qualifies.”
The primaries will be held June 3. The general election is Nov. 4.
Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.
(i) = incumbent.
D: Fred Wilson (i)
D: James Montgomery
D: Eric Stringer
R: Tim Hodges (i)
R: Don Hudson (i)
R: J.D. Hess (i)
R: Jay Dill
R: Jason Lively
R: Bill Lindsey
R: Lee Patterson
R: Phillip Pritchett
R: Larry Amerson (i)
R: Ross McGlaughn
D: Thomas Long
R: Pat Brown (i)
D: Karen Roper (i)
R: Carolyn Henderson
7th Judicial Circuit Judge, Place 4:
R: Brenda Stedham (i)
R: Peggy Miller Lacher