Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
As they look to win a majority in the Alabama House this fall, Republicans have a good pickup opportunity today in a special election in the 40th District. The seat opened up when the Democratic incumbent died.
A writer in the Anniston Star profiled the candidates:
Early on, Democrats bandied about several names, with Ricky Whaley, a political activist for years, quickly seizing the fast track. Whaley has a combination of his involvement in other campaigns, his elected position on the State Teachers Retirement Board, strong support from the Alabama Education Association (including financial assistance), legions of parents and students who worked with him in the Jacksonville City Schools and, of course, the longstanding thought that he would one day run for office.
The Republicans fielded more candidates, but the respected local
funeral director, K.L. Brown, quickly staked his claim. He fought
through his opposition to an impressive lead in the party's primary,
leading by such a substantial margin that the second-place finisher
conceded the race.
A successful business person, Brown's kind and thoughtful treatment of many bereaved families over the years, his participation in Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce affairs, and his various leadership roles in his church are the kinds of things that can be weaved together to develop a solid campaign background. A photogenic family helps, too, but each family is blessed in that regard.
Whaley is better funded. However, the district takes in most of Calhoun County, where John McCain won 66% of the vote. Democrats currently hold a 60-44 edge in the Alabama House (with this seat vacant), but that majority is regarded as precarious.
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