Three credible GOP candidates have now emerged to run for the office of State Auditor being vacated by Beth Chapman in 2006. Chapman has her sights set on a face-off with Secretary of State Nancy Worley. In fact it has been 20 years since a State Auditor has successfully run for re-election. Jan Cook was re-elected to a second term as Auditor in 1986, but since then every four years has seen a different occupant in the Auditor's office. Chapman, like her predecessor Susan Parker, probably could have won re-election but also like Parker, Chapman is ready to move on to greener pastures.
The GOP field to replace Chapman is already getting crowded. Here is a brief sketch of the GOP candidates:
Chess Bedsole: President of B'ham data management firm; fmr. aide to US Sen Jesse Helms
Samantha Shaw: Accountant; Chair of Montgomery GOP, wife of Appeals Judge Greg Shaw
Tripp Skipper: Congressional Aide to US Rep Mike Rogers
State Rep. Cam Ward has been rumored to be interested in seeking the post as well. Ward would probably become the frontrunner were he to declare. If the field stays as is, then Shaw seems to start from the strongest position. Her Montgomery base and association with her husband give her a leg up on the competition. Additionally, voters seem predisposed to elect female candidates for many of the down-ballot races.
The only Democratic candidate I've seen mentioned is Birmingham attorney Martin Weinberg. I don't know much about Weinberg, but I'd be very surprised if he was ultimately the Democratic nominee. The Democrats should have a 50/50 chance at this open seat, but to date the GOP has been much more active in preparing to keep it than the Democrats have been in planning to take it.
Also, I've updated the AlabamaElections Directory 2006 to reflect these developments.