Hottest races aren’t at top of Alabama ballot

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – The hottest races in Tuesday’s primary in Alabama are not for the top spot of governor, but for other statewide offices.

Open seats for state auditor and secretary of state drew a large field of Republican hopefuls. The GOP currently holds all statewide offices in Alabama making it likely that at least some, or many, of the officeholders could be selected in Tuesday’s primary.

For secretary of state, Rep. John Merrill of Tuscaloosa, Crenshaw County Probate Judge Jim Perdue and former Montgomery County Probate Judge Reese McKinney are competing for the Republican nomination.

The Republican nominee will face Democrat Lula Albert-Kaigler in November.

Republican State Auditor Samantha Shaw is leaving office after serving two terms, prompting a field of four GOP hopefuls that includes both new and familiar names in Alabama politics.

Former assistant state conservation commissioner Hobbie Sealy and Adam Thompson, deputy chief of staff for the Alabama secretary of state, are making a bid for state auditor.

One of the more familiar names in the race is Jim Zeigler, a former member of the Public Service Commission, who earned the nickname “Mr. 49” percent, ran after narrowly losing multiple other statewide races. Another is Dale Peterson, a retired Shelby County businessman, became a YouTube sensation with his 2010 gun-toting campaign ads for state agriculture commissioner.

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Miranda Joseph in November.

Republican Public Service Commissioner Terry Dunn has multiple challengers. Dunn was viewed as a potentially vulnerable incumbent after unsuccessfully pushing for formal hearings on utility rates.

Media company owner Jonathan Barbee, former Greene County Commission Chairman Chip Beeker and Alabama Minority GOP chairman Phillip Brown are challenging Dunn. There is not a Democrat in the race.

Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey faces a challenge from Kimberly minister Stan Cooke. The winner meets former state Rep. James Fields, a Democrat, in the general election Nov. 4.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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