published Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

3 special elections for Alabama House today

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Voters in three parts of Alabama will participate in special elections today to help fill vacancies in the Alabama House of Representatives caused by resignations and a death.

In House District 104 that covers part of Mobile County, a Republican runoff will be held between children’s boutique owner Susan Hightower, the wife of Republican state Sen. Bill Hightower, of Mobile, and Margie Wilcox, who owns a cab company and airport shuttle service in Mobile. Hightower led the field of five candidates in the primary. Today’s winner advances to the general election Jan. 28 against Democrat Stephen Carr.

The vacancy was created when Republican Rep. Jim Barton, of Mobile, resigned in August to join a Montgomery lobbying firm.

A Republican primary will be held in parts of Elmore and Coosa counties for House District 31. Facing off are pest control company owner Frank Bertarelli, of Wetumpka; Ford dealership co-owner Jimmy Collier, of Wetumpka; Tallassee attorney Michael Griggs; and Mike Holmes, who resigned as chairman of the Elmore County Republican Executive Committee to run for the legislative seat. A runoff, if necessary, will be held Jan. 28. No Democrat is running.

The job became vacant when Republican Rep. Barry Mask, of Wetumpka, resigned in September after being named chief executive of the Alabama Association of Realtors.

Voters in part of Birmingham will participate in a Democratic primary for House District 53, which became open when Democratic Rep. Demetrius Newton died in September.

The candidates are Newton’s son, Demetrius Newton Jr., an instructor at Miles College; Anthony Johnson, assistant pastor at Zion Star Baptist Church; attorney Arthur Shores Lee, the grandson of prominent civil rights attorney Arthur Shores; and retiree Frank Topping.

If a runoff is necessary, it will be Jan. 28 and a general election March 25. If no runoff is necessary, the general election will be Jan. 28. The Democratic nominee will face the lone Republican candidate, real estate broker Willie “W.A.” Casey, in the general election.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. CST today.

The winners of the special elections will have to stand for election again in 2014 when all 105 seats in the House will be on the ballot.

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