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Alabama Elections Directory 2006

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Let There Be Votes: Supreme Court Smacks Guv

I haven't paid too much attention to the intrigue over the potential special election for Mobile County Commission. But I was surprised when the Alabama Supreme Court unanimously ruled, against the wishes of the Riley administration, that a special election must be held to elect the replacement of new mayor Sam Jones.

The confusion was apparently over a conflict between state and local statute concerning the manner in which a vacancy would be filled. State law gave the governor power to appoint a successor until the next election (in this case 2008). The county law however called for a special election to be held.

The commission district affected is a heavily minority district. So the method of selection will ultimately determine which party holds the district. A special election would most likely result in a Democratic win, while Riley would assuredly appoint a fellow Republican.

The GOP will continue to hold a majority on the three member commission as the other two seats are held by Republicans, but since the next general election isn't until 2008, whoever fills Jones' seat can have a considerable impact. Local Mobile Democrats took the issue to the courts and not only received a favorable ruling from a Democratic circuit judge, but also the all GOP State Supreme Court.

So Mobile will soon elect a successor (most likely a Democrat) to the vacant seat. But more interesting than that, is seeing the GOP Supreme Court unanimously side against the Riley administration, even on a relatively trivial matter.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The court turned down a stay of the special election, but the appeal continues. The governor could still prevail, it seems....

9:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They didn't do what you said. They simply refused the Governor's request for a stay. The final issue has yet to be decided by the Court.

4:04:00 PM  
Blogger PoliSciZac said...

You guys are right. I didn't differentiate between turning down the stay and the upcoming rule on the facts.

So potentially, if the SC finally finds that the Gov can appoint the successor then the SC would be invalidating the primary election which they cleared the way to have. That'd be an interesting dynamic.

But my point was that I was a little surprised the SC would unamiously rule against Riley when his preference was so clear.

Thanks for the clarification on the two different rulings.

6:55:00 PM  
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